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[dvd-discuss] Wrigley Field

Aahh.  Chicago politics.

 > Ummmm... huh? Team management says by letting
 > people watch the games over the stadium walls
 > from private buildings surrounding the park, the
 > bars are stealing the team's "product" by violating
 > its copyright on the games.

On the one hand, they are doing a lot of hand-waving
about "stealing the team's product" by selling
rooftop tickets so that people can watch the game
over the walls.  I doubt that they have even the
slightest case on those grounds.

On the other hand, they are alleging copyright
infringement because the building owners have
installed television sets and are showing the
WGN television broadcasts of the games.  Remember
the cease-and-desist orders against the bars that
were having "Soprano's night"?  Same thing here.

What's really going on here is that the Tribune
company wants to expand Wrigley Field.  They want
to add another 2,000 seats.  The building owners
oppose the expansion, partly because they like
things as they are, partly because the new seating
sections would dwarf the outside sidewalks across
the street from where they live, and partly
because of the additional impact on the neighborhood.

Wrigley Field is smack-dab in the middle of a
residential neighborhood, and for most of the
summer, the residents have to deal with parking
congestion (Wrigley Field has no dedicated parking
structure), and thousands of drunk fans pouring out
into the neighborhood, littering and peeing on
lawns, etc.

The Tribune is playing hardball here with the
building owners, trying to get them to agree to
the expansion, and also trying to squeeze money
out of them for setting up bleacher sections on
their rooftops.  They played hardball last year,
when they installed opaque screens so that the
people on the rooftops couldn't see what was
happening in the outfield.

The question is whether the Tribune actually
has a legitimate copyright infringement case,
based on their exclusive right to "display
the copyrighted work (the broadcast)

It's possible that many of the rooftops may
well fall under the "restaurant and tavern"
exception in 17 USC 110(5)(b)

The rooftop owners could easily reconfigure
their video systems to comply with section
(b), if necessary.

However, my question is whether, in this


no direct charge is made to see or hear the
transmission or retransmission;

They are certainly charging money for those
rooftop seats.  The rooftop owners would
probably argue that the charge is to see the
game in person, and that the television
broadcasts are incidental.  The team would
probably argue that no one would spend the
big bucks ($50 up/ticket) to watch the
game from the rooftops without the
television instant replay.