Obama And Romney Each Have An Ad Disappear As The Olympics Gets Snippy About Anyone Referencing The Olympics

from the non-political-because-politics-don't-pay dept

While we've had plenty of stories about the Olympics being overly aggressive in over protecting its (loosely defined) intellectual property rights, it appears that it's now also targeting both major parties' presidential campaigns. Both Obama and Romney apparently launched commercials recently with "Olympic Themes." The Olympics then called out the Obama Super PAC campaign for supposedly infringing on its copyright. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) claims that it does not allow footage to be used for political purposes, though I do wonder how it deals with cases of fair use (which this may or may not be). Either way, soon after that a Romney ad that also had an Olympics theme (both ads used footage of Romney in his role as CEO of the Olympic Organizing Committee for the Salt Lake City Olympics a decade ago) went offline as well.

One would hope that -- yet again -- these stories get the campaigns interested in the ways in which copyright law can restrict certain forms of speech. No matter who you support for President, the idea that neither major candidate can reference the Olympics seems absurd. Yes, the Olympics doesn't want to be associated with politics (for obvious reasons), but that's a moral rights issue, and in the US, such moral rights don't apply to (most) forms of copyright (and definitely don't apply in this case). What's left, then, is that the two campaigns are limited in their ability to express themselves freely. That seems like a serious issue, but one which it's likely the two campaigns will mostly (unfortunately) ignore.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    gorehound (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:06am

    Those who are in charge of this Event have turned it into a Greedfest of Epic Proportions.

     

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  2.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:08am

    Romney has made no friends in Britain with the way he referred to the country yesterday. I expect the majority if Brits will be rooting for Obama in November.

     

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  3.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:16am

    If they didn't want the Olympics associated with politics, then they probably should not have hired a politician to run the Utah games. Yes, he had moved to the private sector at the time, but it was clear to a lot of people that he planned to use the Olympics as a springboard to the national stage.

     

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  4.  
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    Jim O (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:17am

    The olympics didn't seem to mind when Obama was trying to bring the games to Chicago.

     

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  5.  
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    Yakko Warner (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:20am

    Re:

    I'm sure ACORN will work hard to get those Brits registered to vote, too.

     

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  6.  
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    James Plotkin, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:22am

    Enough is enough!

    This Olympic IPR issue has gotten way out of hand! The games haven't even started and I'm sick of hearing the word Olympic...wait, did I just infringe someone's copyright or trade mark.

    I'm getting really fed up with this because while I'm a believer in IPR, this type of treatment is insane! It makes those of us who support IP look bad and gives ammunition to the copyright abolitionists...

    Just a sorry state of affairs...

     

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  7.  
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    Bas Grasmayer (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:26am

    Interesting that they say they don't want to be associated with politics, since they had no issue with denying the Belarusian president, and head of Belarus' National Olympic Committee, accreditation. "All NOC heads receive accreditations for the Olympics automatically."

    http://en.gazeta.ru/news/2012/07/25/a_4693005.shtml

    It's not about not wanting to be associated with politics. It's about corporatism & getting every potential penny they can from their IPR, whether in reasonable manner or unreasonable manner.

     

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  8.  
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    murph, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:29am

    It will probably not turn out as you hope.

    _One would hope that -- yet again -- these stories get the campaigns interested in the ways in which copyright law can restrict certain forms of speech._

    In all likelihood, the politicians will push for a new law allowing campaigners to not be restricted, not a reform that will apply to all of us.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:36am

    Can't we just work out a deal where the Olympics get all the money, power and special treatment they currently get from politics and government but none of the profit-sapping stygma?

    Rest assured, if they weren't so smug and self-confident of their unjustifiable political leverage world-wide, the IOC would be making arguments about this being all about the athletes.

     

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  10.  
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    Travis, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:44am

    I hate the olympics

    First off, I hate sports. Secondly, I hate it when people use IP and copyright to basically club everyone to death. The Olympics appear to be the most vocal and vigorous offenders. I'd personally LOVE to put an Ad out there of me shitting on the olympic flag just to let them know how much I care about their precious IP.

    If they keep this up, I won't be the only one feeling this way.

     

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  11.  
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    gnudist, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:45am

    Yes, so called "IP" rules totally aren't censorship. No speech has ever been taken down because "IP" was a part of it. NOPE.


    Fuck the [REDACTED] and their dickhead policies.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 9:59am

    the whole point of the Olympics is to provide friendly competition between nations that may actually be not so friendly ordinarily. what is happening now and getting worse every time is that copyright is sticking it's ugly snout into the proceedings more and more. there now appears to be absolutely nothing that isn't affected by it and the detrimental side is becoming more obvious. when decades old businesses have to change their name because some pompous, i am from the Olympic Committee, arse hole says so, it is time for a serious rethink on the whole reason for the Games

     

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    Paul Alan Levy (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:02am

    How they deal with fair use

    This is the reverse of the Streisand effect; it has little to do with legal rights and obligations.

    Both campaigns make the political decision that they don't want to be tangling in public with the Olympic committee, so they grit their teeth and take it.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    That seems like a serious issue, but one which it's likely the two campaigns will mostly (unfortunately) ignore.

    Probably, both candidates will be well paid to shut up and follow with their petty campaigns.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re:

    "I'm sure ACORN will work hard to get those Brits registered to vote, too."
    The ones with dual-citizenship, of course, boy.

     

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  16.  
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    Peter Gerdes, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:06am

    Politics Not Copyright

    C'mon what do you really think caused these campaigns to pull these ads. These campaigns regularly make use of trademarks, copyrighted speeches and content and all sorts of other protected IP from their opponents. Do you think they would hesitate a second to assert their fair use rights to protect the inclusion of these clips and other IP material. These aren't unsophisticated common citizens who are intimidated by legal letters. If it was in their interest they would fire back the appropriate papers in the blink of an eye.

    I suspect the decision is a simple political calculation. Even if you are correct getting into a public fight with the Olympics is just a bad political move. The IOC, especially by talking about other legal systems with moral rights can easily make the fight confusing enough that the average voter only takes away 'that candidate is wrangling with the Olympics.'

    I doubt any of the ads are so powerful that it's worth that risk.

    ----

    Also just because the IOC has no remedy in US courts doesn't mean they can't take any action. They could always penalize US athletes, try and bring treaty pressure to bear etc.. etc..

    The US can't stand as the loan bastion against this ridiculous institution of moral rights. We need to work to convince the rest of the world that it's a harmful notion that restricts freedom.

    The only case for copyright is to IP the creation of intellectual goods. Indeed, if you go back to Locke copyright is in clear tension with the idea of property rights. Our entire culture is based on reuse of ideas in ways their creators disapproved of but if they feel strongly enough they have a simple response, don't sell their works.

    (Note, moral rights are different than provisions designed to ensure compensation for authors whose works were sold off before they had bargaining power...that is an economic matter and a different discussion).

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:09am

    Re:

    "If they didn't want the Olympics associated with politics, then they probably should not have hired a politician to run the Utah games."

    And, a politican who had to be bailed out with an infusion of Federal money!
    REAL business skills, at work there, Mittens!

     

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  18.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    Re: Enough is enough!

    This is one example of a pro-copyright person that can actually have a decent discussion.

    bob, Yellow AC and all other trolls, please learn with him. Thank you.

    And, as a person that believes the middle ground to be the solution (I'm not pro nor anti-copyright) I agree with you.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:13am

    Re: Politics Not Copyright

    "These campaigns regularly make use of trademarks, copyrighted speeches and content and all sorts of other protected IP from their opponents."

    Using snippets of "...copyrighted speeches and content and all sorts of other protected IP from their opponents." is fair use.
    Totally-legal.
    Re-editing it, like the Rom-nuts are doing, is unethical, but not illegal.

     

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  20.  
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    John Doe, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't think ACORN cares about citizenship or if they are alive or even human.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:14am

    What "Olympics"?

    Surely you don't mean that giant commercially sponsored B.S.-fest going on in England.

    Does anyone actually give a damn about them?

     

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  22.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: Politics Not Copyright

    It's fair use. Sampling, mash ups and the likes. Same issue. And it's not unethical as long as they are not distorting the truth.

     

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  23.  
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    Haywood (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:23am

    Re: It will probably not turn out as you hope.

    Kind of like the no call list. Politicians and charities are exempt, so it's just a no business call list. Better by a damn site, but still very short of a total win for consumers.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Politics Not Copyright

    as long as they are not distorting the truth

    Did you really put that qualifier on the actions of a political campaign. You sir are a humor ninja!

     

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  25.  
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    Wally (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:30am

    Ads

    On any normal circumstance I would agree that the Olympic Committee pulling ads "referencing" the Olympics outside of their sponsors is out of line. Given the nature of the usual American campaign ad, I can see the valid point in pulling those ads mentioned above. The way I see it, the Olympic Games are supposed to be a global affair, not a source for political ad campaigns.

     

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  26.  
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    Wally, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Politics Not Copyright

    "it's not unethical as long as they are not distorting the truth."

    Distorting the truth is what all American campaign ads are all about now a days. Fair use or not, it would make the rest of the US look bad, not our stupid leaders.

     

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  27.  
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    MrWilson, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re:

    Sorry, Tina Fey does a better Sarah Palin impression than you.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    That or the companies behind them are placing more and more ridiculous restrictions on IOC to force any competing brand from having any say in the olympic names use. That includes blocking political and religious uses and if you can get away with stomping on anyone saying anything negative about the olympics in the process it is a bonus. IOC and the olympics are not the underlying problem here, though they certainly are not squeeky clean. In this case the blame should fall back on at least McDonalds, Coca Cola and Samsung since they are the ones with interests in the restrictions.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 10:58am

    Re: I hate the olympics

    put up 5 toilets in a shape like the olympic rings, sit on the middle toilet and look up to the camera. Nothing close enough for them to sue, but probably enough to make the association. Then call it "The shitty games". You have got parody to boot if some ridiculous judge accepts the case.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Politics Not Copyright

    Are you suggesting that Locke viewed copyright (whether held by an author of his assign) with disfavor?

     

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  31.  
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    Hidden Force, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 3:12pm

    Them's the Rules!

    The first rule of Olympic Games is: You do not talk about Olympic Games. The second rule of Olympic Games is: You do not talk about Olympic Games!

     

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  32.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re:

    IOC and the olympics are not the underlying problem here


    Of course they are. Advertisers can demand all kinds of insane restrictions, but none of them can force the IOC to go along.

    The problem is the unbridled greed and corruption of the IOC. that said, I am making it a point to avoid purchasing any product or service that is an Olympic sponsor. Birds of a feather and all that.

     

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  33.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 27th, 2012 @ 3:27pm

    Re:

    the whole point of the Olympics is to provide friendly competition between nations that may actually be not so friendly ordinarily.


    I disagree. The whole point of the Olympics is to rake it huge mountains of money. Period.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 4:10pm

    Re: I hate the olympics

    doooo iiit.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2012 @ 9:10am

    Fuck the Olympics.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:55pm

    Re:

    You would like to think so but what about Michelle Obama touching the Queen? Or the Obama's gift of US region DVDs? Lots of gaffs by the Obamas you would like to forget. Maybe you also forgot the Brits don't vote in our elections so it doesn't matter who they root for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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