Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Think losing access to journals for breaking embargoes is bad? At least they don’t call the police

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Norwich City Club Stadium, by OliverN5 via Flickr

Journals can be somewhat vindictive when punishing embargo breakers, although more and more they seem to find ways to believe news organizations who say the breaks were accidental. But one UK football club this week went further than sanctions when a longtime fan broke the embargo on their starting lineup.

They called the police.

The BBC reports that 17-year-old Chris Brown drew a penalty shot from the Norwich City football club after he posted the team’s new kit before the embargo had lifted.

(For those of you, like me, who had to look up “kit,” here’s the Wikipedia entry, which says kit is

the standard equipment and attire worn by players. The term “kit” should be distinguished from a “strip” (in North-American English a “uniform”), which refers to just the shirt, shorts and socks, although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.)

Brown downloaded the pictures from the team’s site while it was being worked on, he told the BBC. When he posted them on the web, they drew the attention of his Twitter followers, and that led to a 4:30 a.m. call from the football club. The club also called the police.

The BBC reports:

The club’s chief executive David McNally said he had asked for a report into what happened.

He said: “We are the guardians of the football club whilst we’re here and so we will protect our property.

“And our property in the digital age involves our intellectual property, so we won’t allow anybody to come in and take it from us.”

Norfolk Police said in a statement: “We can confirm we are making inquiries into a reported electronic security breach. A 17-year-old boy is assisting us with our inquiries.”

At Embargo Watch, we agree with his mother, Trish Brown, who told the BBC:

I feel Norwich could have handled it better. I feel they could have spoken to Chris and myself… and just discussed why he’d done it, asked him a few more questions, before involving the police.

Hat tip: Martin Robbins

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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