Photo/IllutrationSpectators pose for a photo at the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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Fans lucky enough to win a lottery for tickets to next year's Tokyo Olympics should be aware of the fine print that bans the posting of videos and audio taken with smartphones and other devices to social networking services.

The organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics is accepting ticket applications until May 28 for the first round of distribution.

The purchase application website clearly states that fans cannot upload any videos they take at a sports venue without prior approval of the International Olympic Committee. That restriction extends to scenes taken of the stands that may not have an athlete in sight.

The strict control of videos is meant to protect the interests of TV networks that have paid vast amounts for exclusive broadcasting rights.

The ban has led to tweets asking for a degree of leniency so fans can take selfies at the venues with the field of competition serving as a background.

Some individuals are already raising doubts about the effectiveness of the restrictions since so few people seem to be aware of it.

In general, copyright of videos taken by fans belong to the individual.

However, ticket regulations also state that the individual in making the ticket purchase agrees to turn over all rights, including copyright, to the IOC for any photos, video and audio recordings they may take.

Atsushi Igarashi, who heads the legal affairs department at the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, noted that the rights of broadcasters needed to be protected.

"We have included a restriction that will allow the IOC to request (service providers) to delete inappropriate videos posted to the Internet," Igarashi said.

Addressing why the restriction extends even to videos in which no athletes appear, Igarashi said: "The Olympics are not only about the events. The major precondition is that the IOC possesses rights to everything found within a venue."

He said similar restrictions applied to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

There are differences with posting restrictions in other sports.

For example, the J.League bans the online posting of photos and videos taken by fans in the stands. However, there is no regulation asking that all copyright be turned over to the soccer league.

An official with the Yakult Swallows professional baseball team said there were no restrictions on the taking and posting of photos and videos as long as the flash was not used and there was no profit motive.

The IOC restrictions are also clearly at odds with the music industry.

The music producer Masahiro Nakawaki noted that in the United States the posting of videos from concerts was often encouraged because it is seen as a way to drum up publicity.

Kensaku Fukui, a lawyer and specialist in intellectual property rights, said: "Unlike concerts, greater freedom has been allowed for photographing and cheering at sports events. While there are circumstances from the standpoint of event organizers, I feel asking fans to transfer copyright for Olympic events and banning posts to SNS sites is excessively limiting their freedom."

(This article was written by Yasukazu Akada, Keiko Sato and Masayoshi Hayashi.)