Golf fans swinging by this week’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in Washington can, for the first time, take their mobile phones along with them.
But watch out – so-called “enforcement officers” will be prowling the course, ready to reprimand anyone who steps out of line with their device.
For example, you can forget live-streaming any part of the competition. Officials will be monitoring apps such as Periscope and Meerkat, looking out for anyone trying to shoot the action with their smartphone. In fact, all video and audio recording is banned during the four-day event, so don’t even think about posting content to Facebook, Twitter, or any other online site for that matter. You can, however, snap photos, though obviously not when a player is lining up to take a shot.
“We offer three channels of live-streaming of our own,” Janeen Driscoll, director of public relations for the U.S. Golf Association (USGA), told CNN, adding, “We believe that’s a much better viewing experience than having fans distribute videos.”
Failure to abide by the rules could see you kicked off the course.
As CNN points out, the strict policy against videoing the action is to protect broadcasters who’ve paid top dollar for the rights to show the action. While some sports bodies take a more relaxed approach – turning a blind eye to fans taking short videos – the USGA appears to be taking a tougher line.
For example, the organization recently took action against golf blogger Stepanie Wie after she used Periscope to live-stream a number of professional golfers’ practice sessions.
The growing popularity of Twitter-owned Periscope and similar live-streaming apps is certainly posing a problem for broadcasters. HBO, for example, could do little as some members of its pay-per-view audience live-streamed last month’s Mayweather-Pacquiao fight from their smartphones.
In response to what HBO considers as blatant copyright infringement, the cable company has for several months been sending takedown notices to Periscope after spotting live-streams of shows such as Game of Thrones.
In a statement issued in April, HBO addressed the issue, saying: “In general, we feel developers should have tools which proactively prevent mass copyright infringement from occurring on their apps and not be solely reliant upon notifications.”
In its terms of service, Periscope promises to “respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement” and reserves the right “to remove content alleged to be infringing without prior notice and at our sole discretion.”
It also says it’ll terminate a user’s account “if the user is determined to be a repeat infringer.”