RWC vs the media

Thought you guys might be interested in this – hot off the presses at the RWC. I’m registered as a media agency for the RWC (no – unfortunately they didn’t deem me big enough to send me free tickets).

Rugby World Cup 2007 Statement

It is regrettable that certain members of the media should have decided to suspend pre-tournament coverage. This unjustifiable move is being presented as the direct response to allegedly unreasonable constraints on reporting imposed by the organisers of the tournament. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We (the IRB and RWCL) have been in dialogue with media organisations for over a year and we have made a number of concessions. There is nothing in the media terms and conditions that prevent media organisations carrying out their core business and covering the tournament. This is nothing to do with freedom of the press. All organisations have access to the tournament – on non-match days and match days – for written and photographic coverage of the tournament. There are also provisions for international agency TV news coverage.

We have invested significant revenue in full media facilities at all venues to provide an environment that enables the media to report on the tournament, including privileged seating for the media in sold out stadiums.

In reality, this seems to be about some media organisations demanding access to material in the venue on match day and rights that belong to other media organisations such as rights holding TV broadcasters. The media organisations concerned apparently do not like the reality that a major sporting event has some necessary operational conditions and wish us to abandon private rights altogether, even though they represent the lifeblood of international rugby. This is something the Directors of RWCL are simply not prepared to contemplate.

RWCL runs and manages the tournament on behalf of the International Rugby Board and its sovereignty ownership of the event must be respected. RWCL has the responsibility to run the tournament and how to conduct its commercial programme so that surplus revenues can be used to grow and develop the game of rugby in the future.

RWCL will not be swayed by unreasonable demands and the threat of non-attendance. RWCL welcomes all media to the tournament and simply asks that normal conditions be respected.

RWCL reiterates below the moves it has made following discussions with media organisations. These are now reflected in the relevant terms and conditions:

• All photo copyright and credits rest with the photographer and/or his company

• Media organisations are free to sell photographs to the public for non commercial use

• RWCL has no right to use any photograph taken at the tournament and must enter into agreement with the photographer and/or his company for the use of any photograph

• All media organisations are free to overlay text on photographs

• RWCL has agreed to a new process through which any accreditation breaches are dealt with

• RWCL has confirmed that mobile users can access text and photos on websites using their handsets and that sports text alerts can be sent to the handsets during matches

• RWCL has increased by 400% the amount of photographs that can be published live during a match on pubic facing websites. Media organisations can now publish 40 photographs per match. There is unlimited use of photographs before and after matches

• Photo agencies can send an unlimited number of photographs to their clients

• RWCL has clarified that nothing in the Terms and Conditions can be interpreted as restricting or preventing normal journalistic activities including expressions of comment

• RWCL is allowing the publication of 3 minutes of footage from official venues on non match days (such as training shots, interviews at media conferences, etc) on websites. Previously this material from official venues was prohibited. RWCL has also confirmed that the copyright of this footage rests with the media organisation generating the material.

In addition RWCL has agreed to enter into dialogue with media organisations on media accreditation terms and conditions for future tournaments.