Almost as storied as the history of athletic achievement at the Olympics is the recent history of the organizers of the games' attempts to control the use of the word "Olympic" and get new laws passed to protect their paying sponsors and give them a ridiculous amount of special legal protection. And, don't forget their unwavering commitment to control and stifle media coverage of the games, and the stage is set for the ultimate showcase of money and marketing. So with these sorts of things happening for the 2008 and 2012 summer games, the organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver are getting in on the act. A Canadian minister has introduced a bill that would give Olympic organizers an almost unbelievable amount of control to restrict the use of not just its trademarks, but a host of other words, including "winter, gold, silver, bronze, sponsor, Vancouver, Whistler, 2010, tenth, medals, and games". Again, as Michael Geist points out, it's completely unclear why the Olympics and its organizers deserves such a high level of protection above and beyond the trademark protections available to everybody else. Furthermore, the law isn't particularly clear on where this protection ends, which could have the ruinous effect of giving Olympic organizers to stifle all sorts of free speech. While the money the games can bring in to an area can be significant, giving its organizers all sorts of special legal powers and protections is a step too far -- but one politicians are too often willing to make.
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