Stop Telling People You'll Live In Vancouver In Winter 2010, Or The Olympics Might Sue You

from the gold-medal-lawyering dept

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.


Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Stop Telling People You'll Live In Vancouver In Winter 2010, Or The Olympics Might Sue You”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
22 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics Olympics

I now owe roughly 8,000 dollars

misanthropic humanist says:

nut meet sledgehammer

From TFA “The legislation is supposedly intended to deal with ambush marketing, which are attempts by businesses to associate themselves with the Olympics without becoming official sponsors.”

So, all that is necessary to accomplish this is to have official sponsors use the phrase “Official sponsors of the Olympic Games”. Anything not carrying this precise slogan is clearly not an official sponsor. Problem solved.

The slogan is a declaration. Any entity falsely carrying the slogan is clearly making a misrepresentation which is afforded remedy under existing law.

Of course the organisers claim that “people get confused”

Excuse me? Fuck You! How dare you presume who may or may not be “confused”. You have no authority, expertise, insight or right to profess on matters of the genral publics ability to differentiate on such matters. What kind of disgraceful arrogance and self-important distain is that?

And besides, from where does the assumption come that businesses forging a tenuous association with the games are harmful? Are the games not meant to benefit the local economy of the host nation and its cities?

This is a *classic* case of the zero-sum “your gain is my loss” thinking we have utterly destroyed here so many times.

It’s not enough that the Olympic Games are a 2700 year old phonomenon, and that Winters have occured since the planet started rotating 4.5 billion years ago, no, these cretins want to patent the words used to denote the elements now.

Is there anything more they could do to invite contempt and throw the very notion of trademarks into disrepute? I think not, but no doubt the weasels will think of something.

dorpus says:

Miss Universe Syndrome

Miss Universe contests are taken more seriously by developing nations, who use Miss Universe as “proof” that their women are the “most beautiful in the world”. Wealthy countries don’t give a shit — media barely mentions it, the contests often aren’t shown on TV.

Is the same thing happening in Olympics, where countries insecure about their place in the world make a bigger deal out of it? Chinese, Russians, Canadians bend over backward to get gold medals in their volleyball games, obscure types of weight lifting, or “curling”.

Old Guy says:

It was winter when I drove through Vancouver in my gold Cadillac. The silver light shown off the snow, the sun’s light bronze as I made my way toward Whistler.The little signs along the way naming the organization who claim to sponsor each road were spaced an even tenth of a mile apart. The traffic crawled , it seemed like it would be 2010 before I got there. I imagine that, a veteran of two wars, a medal winner. What kind of games do these people think life is…

hehe sue me!

|333173|3|_||3 says:

Official sponsor

Even Official is unnessescary, just sponsor would do, unless the Olympics were expecting to get a lot of bribes, which would of course be unnofficail sponsors.
I very much doubt they could completely lock down most of those words, since Gold and silver would be used by jewelers. 2010 would be virtually unprotectable, otherwise a 2010 calendar could not be sold, anmd tenth would be difficult as well.
Prohibiting the use of Vancouver could make it hard to go to the games. Bannin gthe use of “games” would have a huge effect on reporting other sports, but would provide some entertainment for the viewers to listen to the results of the reporters hunt through the thesaurus

AC says:

“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.”

I’m not sure how you answer a value judgement like “deserves,” but here’s *why* it happens: Hosting the Olympics is damned expensive. The city needs to try to recoup as much of the cost as possible. Advertising is the typical means of doing so, but that means that advertisers need to shell out a ton of cash. They’re not doing that without guaranteed exclusivity. Thus, we see inane-looking laws that are designed to prevent Bob’s Electronics mentioning anything Olympic-sounding in an ad if Best Buy paid a ton for the sponsorship.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...