From the Indianapolis Star’s Robert King.
The NFL is telling Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis that the church’s plans to use a wall projector to show the game at a party for church members and guests would violate copyright laws.
NFL officials spotted a promotion of Fall Creek’s “Super Bowl Bash” on the church Web site last week and sent pastor John D. Newland a letter — via FedEx overnight — demanding the party be canceled.
Initially, the league objected to the church’s plan to charge partygoers a fee to attend and that the church used the license-protected words “Super Bowl” in its promotions.
Newland told the NFL his church would not charge partygoers — the fee had been intended only to pay for snacks — and that it would drop the use of the forbidden words.
But the NFL wouldn’t bite. It objected to the church’s plans to use a projector to show the game on what effectively was a 12-foot-wide screen. It said the law limits the church to one TV no bigger than 55 inches.
The league even took exception to the church’s plan to influence nonmembers with a video highlighting the Christian testimonies of Colts coach Tony Dungy and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith.
“While this may be a noble message,” NFL assistant counsel Rachel L. Margolies wrote in a follow-up e-mail, “we are consistent in refusing the use of our game broadcasts in connection with events that promote a message, no matter the content.”
While I respect the league’s desire to keep church and gridiron seperate (to say nothing of protecting their copyright — had Fall Creek Baptist merely promoted a “Big Game Party”, they’d have probably gotten away with it), I can’t help but wonder if this means CSTB’s annual Super Bowl Santeria Sacrifice won’t take place this Sunday.