NBA Erases Player Images from Websites, Face Stiff Fines for Facebook

Paul Lilly

In case you're not a sports a fan, or at least not a fan of the NBA, here's the prerequisite information you need before reading ahead. The NBA and the NBA Players Association failed to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) last week to replace the one that expired, and the NBA decided to lock out its players, forcing a work stoppage. What's interesting about this, and relevant from a technology perspective, is that webmasters had to remove all images and videos of NBA players from team websites, almost as if the players no longer exist.

"We're going back to the stone ages of the Internet," one team website administer told ESPN . "It's all going to be very dumbed down."

According to ESPN , depending on you interpret "fair use," teams could get in trouble just for mentioning a player's name on an NBA-owned website, though different teams interpret this stipulation differently. Plenty of other gray areas abound, such as social networking. Yahoo News is reporting that team owners who communicate with players using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter face a million dollar fine from the league, as well as potential loss of draft picks. The ban on Facebook extends beyond team owners and also includes coaches, managers, and front office personnel. They can follow players on Twitter, but aren't allowed to send messages or retweet player updates.

If you head to , instead of seeing the Heatles or world champion Dallas Mavericks, you'll instead see pics of Chris Mullen, Magic Johnson, Dave Bing, and other retired NBA players. And on team websites, player profile pictures have been replaced by team logos.

Welcome to the crazy world of digital media and intellectual property.

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