It’s Official Break the Law Day!

John P.

Super BowlThat’s right, today’s the Super Bowl… er, sorry I mean “The Big Game”, and the NFL wants to remind us all that watching it on a TV larger than 55 inches is illegal!

Seriously, I’m not kidding… read on:

The latest situation is perhaps even more bizarre — but tragically, seems to fall closer to a correct legal reading of a really poorly written law. The NFL apparently nastygrammed a church for planning to host a Super Bowl party. The original complaint was first that the church was charging people, but also that they used the term “Super Bowl” (as if people would somehow believe that the church was associated with the NFL?).

After the church agreed to let people in for free and not use the term, the NFL continued to complain, saying that showing the Super Bowl on a screen larger than 55 inches represents copyright infringement.

While we, at first, doubted the reality of this, Ben Austro sent in the fact that it is, indeed, spelled out in copyright law that once you get above 55″, you may be talking about a “public performance,” though, as Ben notes, the wording sounds like it was clearly written by a lobbyist.

No matter what the law states, this seems ridiculously short-sighted by the NFL. It’s hard to see how they lose out in any meaningful way by not allowing groups to watch the Super Bowl together.

Of course, now that this particular quirk of copyright law is getting some attention, how long will it be until the MPAA starts cracking down on those of you with really big screen TVs from showing movies in your home theaters. What was a joke just a few months ago, may become real.

The full article is on TechDirt.


  1. Mark says

    Absolutely ridiculous. Sometimes laws and regulations just go too far and threaten the very things that they were created to protect. There needs to be a common sense law to over rule absurd laws such as this one.

    What next? Having the sound on too loud will be illegal too because others could hear? I better not give them ideas.

  2. greid says

    The easiest way to allow absurdity to become reality is for informed people to remain silent and expect the neighbor to take action.

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