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Why Are We Talking About Copyright for Football Plays?

Well, we, as in Legal Blog Watch, are talking about it because other legal bloggers talked about it first. But why we, as in mankind, are talking about it, is beyond me.

Martin Schwimmer's Trademark Blog yesterday linked out to a lengthy post on the New York Times' Freakonomics blog exploring the notion of copyright in football. Yup, a purportedly serious treatment of why football coaches have historically created new formations and plays despite the knowledge that, if successful, other teams would certainly imitate them. Innovation without intellectual property protection? The horror!

I read the Freakonomics piece, and feel dumber for having done so. I have to agree with Schwimmer that the article is, at best, "superficial." The authors take way too long to get to the point that should be obvious:

Second, football coaches are incredibly short-term thinkers.  The rewards of winning are immense -- one Super Bowl victory makes a career -- and this means that they are focused on winning now, and less deterred by the prospect of losing their edge over the long term.  An innovation that gives any advantage -- even a temporary one -- is worth exploring.


First the notion of copyright protection for alcoholic beverages and now football? Lawyers and economists are ruining my weekends.

Posted by Eric Lipman on September 21, 2010 at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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