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Court rejects 1st Amendment right to stream live games

/ Source: The Associated Press

A federal appeals court in Chicago has upheld the Wisconsin scholastic athletic association's right to limit who streams its games live on the Internet.

Wednesday's decision could have First Amendment implications nationwide for media organizations that want to produce online broadcasts of sporting events.

The ruling came in a lawsuit between the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association and The Post-Crescent newspaper of Appleton; its parent company, Gannett Co.; and the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

The sports association sued after the newspaper streamed live coverage of four high school football playoff games in 2008.

Gannett said the First Amendment gave it the right to broadcast the games. The court ruled that news outlets can report about games but can't appropriate broadcast rights under the guise of free speech.

U.S. Court of Appeals ruling