MLB Advanced Media is responsible for many great features of baseball’s current media outreach, such as MLB At Bat and MLB.TV. Even MLB.com is an aspect of MLB Advanced Media or MLBAM, which is on its way to bringing in a billion dollars of annual revenue. As cited in this article on Forbes, MLBAM has become a premier streaming service for a multitude of sports and companies, and is now one of baseball’s most profitable facets.
With MLBAM’s genius monopoly on official major league video and audio, comes conflicts when websites or video makers “steal” official MLB content. For example, a website using “MLB” in their name can be threatened with a lawsuit if they don’t take the site down. And for YouTuber’s such as Bobby Crosby or “Dodgerfilms“, their YouTube channel of seven years can be ended.
Earlier this week, “Dodgerfilms” released a video notifying his loyal audience that the Dodgers came to him before a recent game and told him he could no longer record inside Dodger stadium. Legally, the team absolutely has the right to do so, since he was uploading game footage without the expressed written consent of MLB.
Crosby, the man behind the “Selfie of all selfies”, according to legendary broadcaster Vin Scully, has been filming himself catching home runs for seven seasons. He’s also caught heartfelt interactions between fans and players, some of which went viral.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qZNXRYAY-Y
Crosby has made national news with his unique skills, being featured on CNN. In addition to national news, MLB.com frequently features his videos on their website, as well as MLB Network. I’m surprised baseball chose to address him at this point in his YouTube career. Especially since he’s gotten younger people into the game, he gives the balls caught away to kids, and only puts baseball in a good light.
Even Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal is on camera saying he watches his videos. He has a creative array of videos, bloopers, and player and fan interactions. Unless MLBAM wants to get into that business of video from the stands that can really relate to the viewer in a fun and comedic way, having Dodgerfilms is important. Especially after MLB Fan Cave was shut down. Fun baseball YouTube videos and viral content are fairly rare, so when a niche is found like filming yourself while catching a ball, it seems odd to shut it down.
For me, the issue is not the legality of what he’s been doing, but the practical application of the law. Sure, you aren’t supposed to upload game footage so MLB.com receives the traffic, but Dodgerfilms is a Dodgers centric channel that uploads unique footage, not just use MLBAM game footage to make homemade highlight reels.
The other part of this is the timing. Why not shut Dodgerfilms from the start? The channel is now very popular, has gotten baseball in the national news in a unique way, and inspired more youth involvement at the games, while quite possibly starting the next sport within the sport; catching balls while filming yourself.
Here’s his video explaining the situation. A hashtag was started by fans, #SaveDodgerFilms. There’s even a Change.org petition for the cause right now. Despite the legality of filming and uploading footage from games, is this a good move on baseball’s side?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBST6krIn_0