The Case for Kamara

In case you missed the so-called “Decision Day” of MLS games this past weekend, a player named Kei Kamara scored a goal. All agree twas a nice goal of the finest variety, one worthy of celebration. Of course, players have shown emotion and excitement after the scoring of a goal for time eternal. And since Roger Milla danced for Cameroon in the World Cup, the rhythmic movement of one’s body has long been part and parcel of said celebrations.

Yet Kei Kamara got wrongly punished. Continue reading “The Case for Kamara” »

The Juiciest Nuggets from the Brand Spanking New USWNT Lawsuit

It’s sad when people don’t get along. US Soccer preemptively sued the USWNT. Sigh. Why? Because of this question: does a Memorandum of Understanding they’ve been using since 2013 count as a CBA? As background, USWNT changed the lawfirm that represents them, and the new attorney in town would like to tear up the MOU and negotiate more generous bonuses with the Rio Olympics in mind (probably). US soccer is pissed.

I don’t care to cast judgment on either parties. Those who want more greenbacks to stack shall seek them. Those already in possession of a stack shall fight to keep them. I do, though, realize you don’t have time (or the patience) to read a 200 plus page complaint. Thus, I present the highlights. Continue reading “The Juiciest Nuggets from the Brand Spanking New USWNT Lawsuit” »

Barca Stuffed: Mes Que Un Petty Troll

I’ve written extensively here about the online soccersphere. Sometimes, I take potshots at sleazy mods and catty subreddits. Other times, I focus on copyright law and how trolls try to twist the arms of upstart sites who arguably follow the spirit and letter of the DMCA law. For example, I wrote about the US legal saga of the Spanish website RojaDirecta. Roja survived bogus DMCA complaints and even an illegal seizure by the US federal government.

However, this past December, many Barcelona fans noticed something strange: their beloved BarcaStuff disappeared. Here’s why. Continue reading “Barca Stuffed: Mes Que Un Petty Troll” »

Jorge Mendes and Confusion about Conflicts of Interest

David Conn of the Guardian is a pretty sharp character. He’s written about financial irregularities in football for several years with clear prose and often original research. Still, I’m always intrigued at how different countries and people view “third party ownership.” In affluent Western European nations, clubs don’t lack for access to credit or cash or revenue, so there’s no need to pinch pennies. In less well-to-do places, though, like Portugal and Brazil, clubs often struggle to get cash to cover basic daily expenses. Many can’t even make payroll on a regular basis. That’s why when Nani got loaned back to Sporting, he insisted United cover his wages.

David recently wrote about Portuguese super agent Jorge Mendes and here’s the bottom line: Mendes is an agent for players and often is an adviser and/or investor in firms who own a part of the player’s playing rights (which is legal in Portugal). The major criticism in David’s piece is that this is a possible “conflict of interest.” However, upon closer inspection, this claim falls apart. Continue reading “Jorge Mendes and Confusion about Conflicts of Interest” »

The Tottenham Hotspurs’ Stupid Intellectual Property Dispute

Spurs got slaughtered by City. And, based on their legal department’s shitty antics, I don’t feel so sorry. What happened, you ask? Well, the Spurs got wind of a 10th tier team with the same name and a similar logo. What did they do? Twist their arm and force the club change their logo (next season).

Why? Well, that’s a good question. I’m afraid Spurs have some answers, but not satisfactory ones Continue reading “The Tottenham Hotspurs’ Stupid Intellectual Property Dispute” »

UEFA Cowers Before Might of Amateur Soccer Blogger

UEFA is a big deal. They organize a somewhat well-known club competition and even a few national team tournaments from time to time. A few years ago, I blogged about my soccer playing toddler. The premise was simple: he would someday star for Real Madrid. I created and uploaded to YouTube a nifty video of his highlights interspersed with highlights of slightly more well known Real Madrid players.

The video was live for a glorious two weeks before the copyright trolls came knocking…. Continue reading “UEFA Cowers Before Might of Amateur Soccer Blogger” »

A Note to Futfanatico Shareholders, Business Partners, and Customers

Dear Shareholders,.

It’s that time of the year again: deals season. Something about Spring turns a young man’s fancy into a merger & acquisition. Two years ago, the Puffington Host attempted a hostile takeover of this fine media company. Last year, we attempted a strategic partnership with For Profit college FutSail Onlne University. Neither worked out. And this year? With the NYSE near record highs and many private companies going public (and vice versa), one would expect a similar deal. However, the current US presidential administration has created a maze of regulatory uncertainty.

Thus, the only deal we can count on is a raw deal for business partners and customers. Here’s why.

Continue reading “A Note to Futfanatico Shareholders, Business Partners, and Customers” »

RojaDirecta: Incoherent US Internet Law

When we last checked in on RojaDirecta, they had sued the US government for illegally seizing their US domain without due process of law. I won’t get too legalese on you, but there are two issues: (1) The government taking away the domain, and (2) The government wanting to force Roja to forfeit the domain for all time. At this stage, justice has been blind in the worst sense of the word. The Judge ruled against RojaDirecta by claiming that losing their domain name was not a “substantial hardship.” What made the hardship so unsubstantial? The Judge reasoned, as I noted in my last post, that Roja could easily set up their site on a new domain (and has done so). Roja has filed an appeal.

In the meantime, I will tear to shreds the Judge’s ignorant and backwater reasoning. Continue reading “RojaDirecta: Incoherent US Internet Law” »

Roja Directa – a Coming Post-Copyright Era of Game Streams & Clips?

The tides continue to turn against the copyright control freaks. At least in Europe. A brief recap of the RojaDirecta battle: First, RojaDirecta wins a Spanish legal court case. Second, the US government seizes the US domain of RojaDirecta. Third, RojaDirecta files a lawsuit to compel the US to return their domain.

Fourth, and hopefully lastly, the highest EU court issues a decision that undercuts the copyright holders. In a landmark decision, the Court upheld the right of a UK pub owner to broadcast a game from a cheaper foreign telecast. Basically, folks in the UK now unquestionably enjoy the legal right to watch free Digisport Romanian broadcasts of games on their Sopcast Player. Cool. Granted, some fear this will eventually lead to expensive pan-European rights. However, these critics overlook key arguments in the decision that may usher in a new era of “public rights.” Continue reading “Roja Directa – a Coming Post-Copyright Era of Game Streams & Clips?” »

Roja Directa: The Empire Impotently Slaps Back, Impotently

Yes, the adverb says it all. And we have written on this topic before. Copyright holders tried to sue Roja in Spain, but lost because of “safe harbor” provisions in national law. US law has these as well. Basically, Roja does not control the content of its own site or reproduce the streams, therefore they are a conduit, not a content-stealing-creator.

Legalese? Kinda. But the implications for streaming websites would be terrible if they had to edit every aspect of user generated and submitted content. While they could merely react to complaints, the question arises: how can they test the authenticity of those complaints? Julien Asssange did not cringe at Swedish arrest warrants for sex crimes, but he flipped his shit when the US government asked him to sort through his wires to edit out sensitive content. Data management is costly, tedious, and boring.

So yes, my biases are on the table – like Roman Abramovitch, I like to sail my virtual yacht in safe harbors. But what makes me laugh is this…. Continue reading “Roja Directa: The Empire Impotently Slaps Back, Impotently” »