Why Ryder Cup organisers may have put themselves in a difficult position

Why Ryder Cup organisers may have put themselves in a difficult position

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Author: Gary Assim

Ryder Cup organisers have vowed to remove cameras and smartphones from any spectator taking audio, video or photo footage of the event, and last week Kate Bush sent a plea to fans to watch her performance with their eyes as opposed to through a lens.

Gary Assim
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Gary Assim

But how should infringment be controlled? Copyright expert, Gary Assim, comments.

Following on from Kate Bush requesting fans to enjoy the moment and not take photos or videos of her come back concert, Ryder Cup organisers have just announced that they are banning the use of audio or video capture and photos, unless on the practice range. This includes uploading of such files to twitter, facebook or other social media sites. But why are some taking such drastic measures, while others are relying upon voluntary spectator support?

'Whereas Kate Bush appealed to her fans to voluntarily cease such action, the majority of whom seemed to heed her request, Ryder Cup organisers have taken the opposite view and are apparently forcing people not to take audio, video or photo footage or suffer confiscation of the offending phone or camera.' said Gary Assim, copyright expert and head of intellectual property and creative industries at national law firm Shoosmiths.

He continued, 'It is likely that Ryder Cup organisers have unwittingly put themselves in a difficult position. On the one hand they have published the fact that no audio, video or photo footage will be allowed in order to preserve the image of the Ryder Cup. On the other hand, it will be almost impossible to stop such footage being taken and instantly uploaded to social media.'

Gary Assim says, if Ryder Cup organisers are to go ahead with this drastic move, they should be ready for a bigger spend - but he warns even that might not put people off publishing material they don't have the rights to.

'Most mobile phones have sufficiently good cameras that do not make a shutter sound and can be used surreptitiously. Unless the Ryder Cup organisers are going to invest in closed circuit cameras and more marshals to enforce this ban, it will merely encourage people to post footage on social media to show that the ban is simply impractical.'

'Perhaps it would have been better to use peer pressure to stop people taking photos or videos, especially if it is distracting to the players. It will be interesting to see how the fans react.'