SOURCE: The Daily Illini Online
Originally published April 13, 2001
Naked Mile to run live on Internet
(U-WIRE) ANN ARBOR, Mich. The thousands of spectators expected to line South University Avenue at the University of Michigan next week for the Naked Mile won't be the only ones watching runners streak through campus to celebrate the end of classes.
The event will be broadcast live on the Internet for the first time by an online company from Atlanta that plans to bring a camera crew and blimp-cam to Ann Arbor.
Cyber Management Inc. has been covering the event for the last couple years and was not previously able to produce a live broadcast but decided recently to broaden the scope of its coverage.
The company is still lacking the necessary technology to produce such a broadcast but has hired the help of Activate, a webcasting company that sells space on its broadcasting system so individuals can broadcast events live over the Internet.
Activate Vice President of Marketing Stewart Chopin said most of the events streamed over their Web site are educational in nature. More typical fare includes employee training videos, sample music clips, and radio station programs.
"The vast majority of them are not quite as exotic as the Naked Mile," he said. "The fact that this event has been running for a number of years suggests to me that within that community it is deemed an acceptable event. On those grounds we are OK with it.
"If what goes over the air starts to cross that boundary, we have the right to pull it off the air," he said.
Although Naked Mile pictures have shown up on Internet pornography sites for years, Mike Steele, webmaster of www.nakedmile.com, said this year's coverage will be the most complete.
"This is the first time that anyone will be taking this to the next level," Steele said.
Steele said he also has thought about broadcasting the event live but that he was afraid of how students would react.
"I think it's a good idea. We've thought about it," he said. "But most people don't want to be videotaped, let alone have their pictures beamed all over the world. People have been known to take a punch at you."
Steele said he prides himself on having the premier Naked Mile website and having the most updated information available. He describes his site as "informative" and "G-rated."
Steele said he started the website in order to dispel rumors that the Naked Mile was just an "urban legend" and to prove that the Naked Mile "actually goes on."
"For better or for worse, it has introduced the Naked Mile to the world," he said. "There are a lot of things that have happened that are bad. There's just all kinds of disgusting porn sites."
Despite the multitude of Internet sites featuring Naked Mile posters and the live broadcast, Steele said he believes there will still be some students who choose to run Tuesday night.
"I think that there will be a certain group of students who, knowing that they'll be beamed across the world, will actually be encouraged," Steele said.
Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown said there is nothing the University can do about people videotaping the event.
"This is taking place out in the public," Brown said. "The Internet laws have not caught up with other forms of the media in terms of pornography and exploitation laws."
In addition, any students attempting to block a photographer or take the photographer's equipment run the added risk of being arrested for assault.
"If they are observed by a police officer engaging in an assault or hitting that person's camera, that could be considered an assault against that photographer," Brown said. "They have their own rights too."
Steele said he will not be attending the Naked Mile this year but added that his website can run itself.
"People contact us about it. I'm sure that somebody will send us pictures of the event," Steele said.
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