Monday, September 10, 2007

News Orgs Call Off Rugby Online Coverage Boycott

A coalition of more than 40 news organizations abruptly ended an unprecedented two-day boycott of the Rugby World Cup on Friday, hours before the opening game with a last-minute compromise offered by sports organizers who relented on restrictions on photographs used online. The news group, which included the leading international news agencies, The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters, had staged what amounted to the equivalent of a rousing rugby haka war dance, challenging the sports authorities who had sought to limit the number of photographs used online to 20 during each half of matches. With less than two hours remaining before the beginning of the first World Cup match pitting France against Argentina, the International Rugby Board announced that it had shifted positions, permitting news organizations to post online up to 200 still photographs during live matches. But the last-minute deal will apply only to this tournament of 48 games and will have to be renegotiated for the next competition. In return, members of the news coalition pledged that they would not use these photos to create video material.

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