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When the Pan American Games start in Brazil in July, thousands of top athletes will run, wrestle and leap, but they will not be able to indulge in one popular daily exercise: blogging.

Neither will their doctors, coaches or massage therapists, in a blanket ban affecting some 7,000 people during two weeks of competition ending July 29 in Rio de Janeiro.

The rule reflects a spreading trend among international sports institutions to impose vigorous controls over the online use of game information and photographs.

In February, a dispute broke out between the International Rugby Board and the World Association of Newspapers over restrictions that will be imposed during the Rugby World Cup, which starts in Paris in September.

In return for Rugby Cup press credentials, the rugby board is limiting the number of game photos that can be published in online news sites during competition. It is also demanding that headlines not be superimposed over photographs, a rule aimed at protecting corporate sponsors like Heineken and Toshiba.

That's from the New York Times. I believe there are different legal interpretations in the U.S. and Europe. MLB recently tried to privatize statistics like Albert Pujols' batting average, with the aim of requiring that news outlets obtain permission to publish them. Fortunately that effort was a failure. In England however, the Football League et al actually do collect for the right to publish the "fixture list." If I were to print it, they might send their bad boys after me.

By and large, the demand for sports is greatly enhanced by the free flow of information. Charging for every byte that is written or produced about a sport is not only bad PR, it limits the future scale of the market.

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