Friday, July 27, 2012

In which the IOC suppresses access to the women's game

International tournaments give fans a chance to see women players from around the world in action. People who only watch the men's game have little idea what this means for us. In the men's game, you can see the best players whenever you want. They are on TV 24/7. They are in advertisements, they get whole sections of some newspapers even when they aren't doing a thing. These men play in leagues that pump their product non-stop. There are also more fan-authored montages using footage of the men's game than any of us can fathom.

Not so for women. We get these tournaments. Or minimal, hard to find broadcasts distinguished by few cameras and little editing. Sometimes these are broadcast on "floating" channels that don't appear in your tv guide. Seriously.

Youtube deactivated the one video I found the other day showing the very cool goal that Portia Modise scored in South Africa's first appearance at the Olympics.

The last time I blogged women's Olympic matches, every single video I initially used was deactivated for infringement. All of those videos were posted to other sites by devoted fans - all did nothing but celebrate the best moment from the day's matches. After the tournament, for most of us this kind of video will be our sole access to especially those sides that are not our home team.

If FIFA and the IOC cared at all about the women's game, they would encourage the circulation of fan-authored video celebrating players. It's free publicity for a sport that badly needs it. Instead, for no reason that I can see, they quash circulation of information about the game - except when that information is blatantly sexist. Google "female goalkeeper" and you'll see what I mean. One of the shittiest anti-women's-soccer videos I know has been on Youtube since 2007 and features nothing but pirated footage from the 2007 World Cup.

Weirdly, the policing of copyright infringement targets footage used by supporters of the game rather than its detractors. The rare exceptions are those stories in women's sports that go viral - for good or bad.

Marta's crazy 2007 World Cup goal against the US, highlights from the USWNT's 2012 defeat of Brazil, the ponytail incident. In those cases, footage circulates so widely it enters the cultural commons - it becomes impossible to control. But in the vast majority of cases, the circulation of footage of women's matches is so limited, it is easy to kill. And so that's what the trolls do. They shut it down. Because whoever these gremlins are, they have their heads so far up their asses they think that an image loses its value if it circulates too freely - when in fact it is absolutely the other way around. The more freely an image circulates, the more valuable it becomes.

Anyway, you can see Modise's golaso here:

1 comment:

  1. I haven't checked for individual highlight vids, but it DOES seem strange to black those out. I haven't been able to catch most of the games live, but I gotta give NBC some limited credit for having a pretty decent full replays available on the website. It would be nice if they had a more manageable navigation structure, but at least there are videos up there.

    Considering that Olympic soccer has a whole NBC cable channel, I would think NBC and other broadcasters would want to do anything possible to get more excitement and viewers for it and ramp up interest in the final.

    This would be a good tournament to do it, too; the women's games have been great.


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