SYDNEY—The National Basketball League has suffered another setback today as they were sued by the Three Blind Mice for breach of copyright. The alleged copyright infringement involves NBL referees “replicating the likeness” of the Three Blind Mice.
The timing of this news appears to be of no coincidence as it comes swiftly after League general manager Chuck Harmison inadvertedly championed the case of the Three Blind Mice by admitting that NBL referees made glaring mistakes in Townsville's home loss to the New Zealand Breakers.
Legal counsel for the Three Blind Mice described the behaviour of NBL referees as a blatant attempt “to mimic the trademark visually-impaired unintentional foolery of the Three Blind Mice”.
It is expected that the amount of compensation demanded by the Three Blind Mice is exacerbated by the fact that the NBL is profiting from the alleged imitation of the beloved classic cartoon characters. “The controversy created by poor refereeing generates interest in the game. The NBL clearly profits from this,” representative counsel for the Three Blind Mice stated. “You don’t need to be a law talking guy to know that this translates to bigger compensation payouts for my clients.”
"Thank you, NBL, for demanding the $1m guarantee for this season. That's another $8m for us to nab."
In previous seasons the NBL has imposed fines on clubs that attempt to highlight the similarity between NBL referees and The Three Blind Mice
. NBL headquarters also demanded that the Townsville Crocs mascot cease a parody routine involving the Croc dressing up in a referee outfit and using a cane.
“I’m amazed that they didn’t sue us back then,” an anonymous source within NBL headquarters said. “This is exactly what we were trying to avoid.”
According to the lawyers of The Three Blind Mice, the NBL may be additionally sued for defamation. “The degree of buffoonery exhibited by the referees well exceeds that of my clients. These are not the kind of ridiculous unintentional hijinks that The Three Blind Mice wish to be associated with. Bringing up this case implies that the referees have a degree of likeness to my clients. Given that referees are highly despised, this equates to defamation.”
“The offensive imitation is bad enough, but to take it that far is not only an insult to my clients, it’s an insult to all visually-impaired people around the world. It’s reinforcing the false message that visually-impaired people are unsuitable for important jobs, like refereeing basketball games or piloting aircraft.”
The approach of NBL defense lawyers creates a conundrum for the NBL. “It’d be easiest to say it’s all a parody of the Three Blind Mice and rely on the fair-use defense,” lawyers for the NBL said. “But that’d imply that the referees are actively trying to look foolish. The unfortunate fact is that they just seriously suck.”
Instead, the NBL is expected to evade the litigation by undergoing drastic structural changes to exploit a legal loophole. “We are looking at folding the NBL and creating an entirely new competition,” an anonymous source within the NBL said. “We’ll unofficially label it the new-NBL, but we’ll quickly drop the ‘new’ part. It'll absolve us from all legal responsibilities."
"It’s exactly what we did last off-season to help everyone selectively terminate contracts.”
In a creative attempt to appeal to free-to-air television, the Townsville Crocodiles have suggested a re-branding of the soon-to-be-revamped-again revamped league as “Law and Order: Homicide in the ‘ville”.
“The new angle is that our league can be another Law and Order spin-off. Just this time there’s a Homicide in Townville every episode,” a Crocs spokesman said.
The presentation opened and closed with a mash-up of Law and Order’s signature introduction, “In the Australian basketball system, the clubs are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the coaching staff, who investigate the opposition, and the players, who execute the offense. These are their stories.”
Brian Goorjian contemplates no semi-final appearance
CHINA—National Basketball League coaching legend Brian Goorjian has had to admit to his loyal group of followers, nicknamed ‘Goorj fanboys’, that he is unlikely to make the final four this NBL season. ‘Goorj fanboys’ have become accustomed to nothing but success with Goorjian teams enjoying consistently remarkable on-court achievements over the last two decades. The 2009/10 season may mark the first time since 1989 that Brian Goorjian has failed to coach an NBL team to the semi-finals.
Goorjian remains winless this NBL season. With Goorjian's current unprecedented lack of success, it is uncertain how ‘Goorj fanboys’ will respond. “Most Goorjian supporters typically also suffer from a dreadful condition called 'Bandwagonism' that limits their capacity to follow a losing product,” Dr. Tobias Ornottoby of the University of Sydney told reporters. “Let me put it this way: they don’t support Goorjian for his charming courtside personality.”
“We are very concerned that Goorj fanboys could become extinct within the year given the remarkable rate at which they are vanishing from our only current measurable proxy for their existence, the online environment.”
“Goorj fanboys who followed the Sydney Kings and the South Dragons are especially difficult to find online these days. Our research suggests that this double-whammy of losing their favourite team and then losing their favourite coach has sent them into a destructive spiral. We seriously fear for their safety given their current apparent headspace.”
Speaking in front of a large media contingent at a press conference in Shanghai, Goorjian offered no excuses for the end of one of the greatest streaks in Australian sport. “I’ve reviewed the game tapes several times. I have nobody to blame but myself,” Goorjian told reporters. With Goorjian recently appointed as an assistant coach of the Chinese national team, the Chinese media was suitably unimpressed by Goorjian’s loss of face.
“Any good coach will tell you that you first need players and a team to succeed,” Goorjian said.
“But please rest assured. That is one area that I believe I can definitely improve upon in my tenure as assistant coach of China. Surely we won’t have too much trouble assembling a team when there are 1.3 billion of you guys to choose from.
“You can’t all fold on me.”
SYDNEY—Leaked National Basketball League head office documents have revealed that the NBL appointed Former Townsville Crocodiles guard John Rillie as their internet media manager for the 2009/10 season, despite him not being on the payroll and not even being aware of the appointment himself. John Rillie, who writes the popular blog ‘JR On Fire’, has been an instant internet success story in Australian basketball circles. The League has decided to surreptitiously piggy-back this success by issuing him with an official, yet unpaid, role with the title ‘Head of Internet Media Operations’. However, with Rillie recently accepting a playing position with the New Zealand Breakers, League officials are worried that his prolific blogging career may be put on hiatus. According to the leaked documents, Rillie was supposed to continue to write his ‘JR On Fire’ site in lieu of the NBL site needing to do any research themselves. “It looks good for us to have someone like JR on staff,” a League employee revealed. “He’s someone with intelligence, insight, a strong work ethic, and excellent skills at promoting the game. You could say he brings a unique skill-set to the office.” “His ex-player status at the time also satisfied our only major prerequisite for new employees,” the source added. “We also gratuitously welcome CEOs who know nothing about basketball for board member positions.” By appointing a gratis employee in such a critical office position, the move was intended to free up valuable funds in the budget that could be redirected to other activities, such as an independent review of the office donut policy. If Rillie were to focus on his playing career with the Breakers instead of blogging, such activities may not be feasible. “Rillie has been known throughout his career as ‘The Real Deal’. Now his unpaid service has been a real deal for us,” Chuck Harmison was overheard saying with a wry smile, prompting laughter from his fellow NBL employees. “It’s a running joke around the office because he practically does our job for us, except we don’t need to pay him. We now go to his site first to get the news.” “But if his playing role interfers with his blogging, we might need to go back to our old templated match reports -- you know, that 'team A too good for team B' kind of thing -- to free up resources.” “John Rillie has generated more traffic – and satisfied traffic at that – than we ever achieved at the official site,” an unnamed source at Sportal said. “The breadth and depth of his news coverage puts the official site to shame. He has connections to a wide variety of basketball news sources on his site. Remarkably, he’s somehow been able to provide a portal to let us peruse those sources ourselves. It’s taken us years to figure out how to do that. I think they may call them ‘links’ in the industry.” Indeed, these links on Rillie’s site act to integrate the Australian cyber-basketball community, creating a strong network of informative news sites, bloggers, forums and trolls. While Rillie has received great praise for his efforts, the acclaim for Rillie’s blogging skills is not universal. Former inmate Clinton Gardiner, aka ‘Clint Dogg’, who once somehow managed to con his way into a job as the court announcer of the Hunter Pirates, has been a constant critic of the Gonzaga University alumnus. However, news of Rillie’s promotion within NBL ranks has forced a slight re-assessment of his opinion of Rillie. “Until recently, we were both former employees of NBL clubs with successful podcasting careers, so we were on equal standing, really. I suppose this new appointment now puts John slightly above me in terms of NBL seniority,” Gardiner admitted.
SYDNEY—Following the devastating events of 2008 and 2009, which saw the loss of the 2009 Champions and both Sydney clubs, Basketball Australia is reassessing its ‘stay or flee’ policy with regards to clubs in the National Basketball League.
For the first time, clubs will now be urged to evacuate the competition on ''catastrophic unprofitability risk'' seasons.
From today the ''stay and defend'' message will be discarded from official NBL warnings during seasons when authorities believe club owners could lose excessive amounts of money while attempting to keep their club in the competition. NBL clubs are urged to leave early and stay only if the club is “well prepared and you can actively defend it from financial ruin”.
‘Black May’, when both Melbourne clubs withdrew from the competition, would have been deemed a "catastrophic unprofitability risk" or "code red" under the new warning policy. However, under the policy at the time, Basketball Australia gave the Victorian clubs the choice to persist losing large amounts money by staying in the competition, as the Melbourne Tigers eventually chose to do by competing in the 2009-10 season.
“Until now, club owners have always been given the choice to leave or stay and defend their club no matter how severe the threat,” a League spokesman said. “We even let Cairns and Wollongong stay in the competition as soon as they gave us the $1m guarantee, even though both franchises would need a miracle to go anywhere near a profit.”
In the wake of the Basketball Australia Royal Commission's interim findings, the new 'stay or go' policy's focus is on saving club owners money not protecting the integrity of the NBL by making it a stable and truly national competition.
The previous 2008-09 season, and every season prior through to the early 1990s, would have also qualified as being a ‘code red’ season under Basketball Australia’s new criteria.
The changes are likely to impact on the future of the Wollongong Hawks, despite currently sitting proudly at the top of the ladder.
“We suggest they flee the competition immediately,” an anonymous National Basketball League source said while reviewing North Melbourne Giants’ 1994 Grand Final win. “The community can only support spirited winning underdogs for so long before the inevitable happens as they go from winning underdogs to just plain dogs and spiral into oblivion. I hope.”