During the 2010 World Cup, a group of Dutch women were arrested on suspicion of ambush marketing, after they attended a match in bright dresses branded by a beer company that wasn't an official Fifa sponsor. Now think forward, not to the 2014 tournament, but to 2018, when technology like Google Glass could be the hot tool for these kinds of stunts.*baffled* And..?
"I think Google Glass is something we will see a lot of young people wearing: they'll be walking around and maybe they'll see advertising," said Sean Hayes, senior partner at law firm IPG Legal. "Maybe you'll go to a Fifa game, and on that screen you'll see advertising for Pepsi, but the official sponsor for Fifa is Coca-Cola."END TIMES, PEOPLE!!!!
This may sound like lawyers thinking up worst-case scenarios whose solution will invariably involve paying lots of money to lawyers.Well, yes. Yes, it does. And there's a good reason for that.
But in the shorter term, they highlighted some realistic concerns for broadcasters about third-party apps curating conversation, content and ads around their shows.This is a new world for me - I mean, sure, I like to Tweet occasionally while I'm watching something, but it seems there are huge numbers of people for whom watching a show isn't a complete experience without that...
"Second-screen is what you'd call a lawyer's paradise," said Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm from Dutch law firm Bureau Brandeis, who noted that there's little controversy around apps that simply provide a home for social chatter around a show.
"If you're not affiliated to the original producer, you can have a conversation about The Voice, for example, on the second screen, and we'd all agree that wouldn't be contradictory to copyright or trademark law," he said.
"But what happens if I'm using The Voice's trademarks on my second screen, or running my own election where I'm not choosing the candidates for their quality of singing, but on whoever looks best or tells the best jokes? You could put a gambling aspect into that, and on top of all that you could include your advertising."Nope. Still sounds a lot like lawyers thinking up worst-case scenarios to me!
Thijm suggested this is where broadcasters will want to do something about the second-screen app, but admitted that it's still unclear what kind of action they could take, and whether it would be successful.Well, the much-trumpeted 'success' in shutting down pirate sites proved to be less so, didn't it?
This doesn't just apply to second-screen TV apps like Shazam and Zeebox, or football-specific apps like The Football App. It can apply to the larger social networks too: if Facebook knows lots of football fans will be using its app during a World Cup match, it can sell ads to whatever brands it likes for that period of time.
"We really need to rethink our product placement and media regulation rules, because it doesn't work: why should I impose all these strict rules for broadcasters and television, and not have them for my iPhone and iPad?"The world is changing, and our laws haven't kept up? Say it ain't so!?!
Thijm predicted that the answer will not be to create more regulations for second-screen apps, but fellow panelist Dr. Ralph Oliver Graef from German firm GRAEF Rechtsanwälte, said that governments must take a clear decision.
"Either they have to down-regulate the broadcasting law, or up-regulate the other stuff," he said, while pointing out that there are plenty of other unresolved legal issues around the world of second-screen apps.More legislation, aimed at your mobile phone and tablet? We'll see.