The Rugby World Cup begins on Friday, but the world may not get as much coverage from the event as it may like. It turns out that three of the leading news agencies (AP, Reuters, and Agence-France Presse) have been in a dispute with the International Rugby Board over media credentials and terms of coverage. So in protest they have all decided not to cover the event.
The sticking points in the negotiations all have to do with proprietary content. The IRC wants to own and receive as much compensation from the event as they can (similar to what the NFL is now doing). The news agencies want freedom to cover the events as they please. Therein lies the conflict. Here's the nitty gritty:
-- A requirement that news organizations post no more than 40 images online from matches in progress, despite an agreement in principle with the IRB two weeks ago that would have allowed several hundred.The conflict puts everyone in a sticky position. The journalists and news agencies want the freedom of the press that they're used to, and wave the "integrity" banner as best they can. The IRL and its contemporaries across the world want more control over their content. The content battle is being fought in many industries and highlights the changing elements that have come about due to the convergence of new media, technology, and traditional content. NBC's leaving iTunes is just one example of many.
-- A limit of no more than three minutes of news conference or locker room video posted online per match.
The dispute has caused deep confusion for journalists this week. Some were able to obtain credentials without signing any credential terms. Others signed terms but were able also to give written notice that they were not authorized to bind their companies to the IRB's conditions. Others were not able to obtain credentials, because they refused to sign the terms.The Rugby World Cup will go on as scheduled, and if you're a fan you'll be able to get the news you want through other agencies. But this dispute is just endemic of the many battles to come. As always though, if you want the whole story, go watch the Rugby games in person.