While Major League Baseball's views on what it owns are pretty misguided, it's got a long way to go to reach the levels of the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee and its affiliated groups have a long history of overzealously "defending" its trademarks and "protecting" its sponsors, whether it's by muzzling athletes writing about the games on their personal sites, suing just about anybody that uses the word Olympics, preventing people from wearing clothes with the logos of sponsors' rivals to Olympic events or having moronic link policies. In the UK, organizers of the 2012 summer games are trying to get special protection for their trademarks and sponsors enshrined in law, an effort that's now coming under attack (registration required). The bill would not only offer special legal protection to official Olympic sponsors, but would also allow the games' organizers to dictate what media outlets could cover the games, and exactly what they could write about. It also includes a provision that allows the UK's secretary of state to regulate advertising in the vicinity of Olympic venues and traffic routes to them -- all part of the "protection" supporters say Olympic sponsors deserve. What remains unclear is why, exactly, two groups engaged in a private business transaction -- in this case, the Olympic committee and its sponsors -- not only deserve an unbelievable amount of specially enshrined legal protection when trademark laws are already on the books, but should also get to stifle freedom of the press. Citius, altius, fortius... and maximus cashius.
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