COMMENTS: Why Do They Swim So Fast Yet We Cannot See Them?

Finally, the Story of the Day at the Olympic Games may have received plenty of airtime on the nightly newscasts but--because of those irritating copyright issues--two of the five packages are not available online. Barry Petersen's feature on CBS and Kevin Tibbles' on NBC happened to be the most interesting of the five too. Both examined why so many world records were being broken at Beijing's brand new $200m Water Cube swimming pool. The bottom is deeper, the lanes are wider, the ends are grooved with gutters, all allowing for smoother water. And the swimmers are wearing ultrasonically welded Speedo Laser suits at $600 per outfit. NBC Sports Analyst Rowdy Gaines told anchor Brian Williams that "it is like putting on a second skin. I put one on a couple of times and it took me about half an hour to get it on without ripping it." The two up-close-and-personal features that contained no copyright issues were bland by comparison: ABC's David Muir (embargoed link) profiled Elizabeth Callahan, a 56-year-old markswoman at her fourth Games; NBC's Ann Curry selected Shawn Johnson, a 4'9" 16-year-old rookie gymnast.

If a sports story is newsworthy enough to warrant airtime on a network newscast then by definition the sports footage it contains is protected by fair use and should be posted, fearlessly, online. If a sports story contains no actual sports footage, it is rarely likely to rise to the threshold of newsworthiness to appear on a newscast in the first place, so why bother?


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