The IOC Joins the DMCA Censorship Club

from the ready?-set?-censored! dept

The International Olympic Committee is no stranger to overzealous protection of what they perceive to be their intellectual property. We’ve covered their ridiculous attempts to change British law to “protect” the terms “Olympics” and “2012” (the year London hosts the summer games). It seems the folks at the IOC want to control all aspects of their sporting event, even how people discuss it. Knowing this, and the ways in which the DMCA has been abused time and time again, it was hardly surprising when the IOC sent a take-down notice to YouTube for a video posted by Students for a Free Tibet.

The video, which showed a pro-Tibet candle-light vigil in New York City and images from the March protests in Tibet, was dutifully pulled by YouTube. However, it was unclear what infringement the IOC was claiming. Although their famous interlocking rings were briefly shown, that would seem to be a trademark, not covered by the DMCA. Even if they claimed the rings were copyrighted creative content, their creation in 1913 places them firmly in the public domain (on copyright, the trademark remains — but the DMCA isn’t for trademark). Luckily after a number of sites questioned the action, the IOC withdrew their complaint. This remains troubling, though. The DMCA was not meant to silence legitimate speech, but the number of times litigants have suppressed content they don’t like is staggering. This case benefits from external media attention due to existing hot-button political issues, but not all censored YouTube videos are so lucky and, undoubtedly, bogus DMCA requests have censored videos which result not in blogosphere outrage, but silenced expression.

Filed Under: , , , ,

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 “The IOC Joins the DMCA Censorship Club”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Yeah everyone knows the DMCA sucks . . . ?

That the DMCA is a giant smelley turd mostly used to stiffle creativity and innovation is not news? Its like Marijuana laws, everyone pretty much agrees they are useless and rediculous (even alot of the politicians involved with creating them), but good luck finding anyone willing to do anything about them. If you could actually find an article about ANY politician that was actually interested in fixing the rediculous DMCA mess . . . now that would be news.

Anonymous Coward says:

When building weapons

Remember the innocent will *always* be victim to them. There is not one weapon designed by man that has not been abused to harm an innocent.

The DMCA is merely a weapon to be stockpiled. And it will be abused because of its effectiveness. If only the Congress Critters were required to have a History major or something….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 When building weapons

“TNT is different than dynamite, it is not nitroglycerin at all, and was invented by someone else.”

I beg to differ, to quote that great Aussie thinker Bon Scott; ‘Im TNT . . . Im dynamite’ clearly he is making a correlation here and in fact suggesting that both TNT and Dynamite are in fact the same thing. Ohh and that they both apparently . . . rock.

Casey (profile) says:

Vancouver 2010

They did the exact same thing here in Vancouver leading up to the 2010 Olympics. There was a local pizza place that used the Olympic rings as part of their logo and have done so for the last 25 years. The IOC (or VANOC, not sure which) basically forced the guy to shut down shop or risk having the Olympic lawyers set upon him. And I know the same thing exists for using 2010 or Olympics as any part of a business name. It’s become quite draconian in what can or cannot happen in light of our 2010 Olympics.

no to oly's says:

Re: Vancouver 2010

you are correct both the IOC and Vancouver Organizing commitee (VANOC)are bullies. However try as they might so far, 3 months away from the opening of the games this small Pizza place still does a booming business and still has it’s 20 year old neon signs proudly inviting customers through it’s doors. I am not sure of what the official status of the battle is but it appears the little guy might be winning this one. by the way drop by and support them they make awesome Pizza.

Accountant says:

IOC and name Olympic

There is a pizza parlor on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington called of all things, Olympic Pizza. The US Olympic committee sued it over its name, even though it was referring to the Olympic Mountains, not the Olympics. They even had mountains in their logo. I have little care or respect for anything to do with the Olympics, which has become too commercialized and self serving by far, just like all professional sports (and these athletes are professionals in almost every way). I get real tired of their snooty, holier than though ways.

Anonymous Coward says:

Olympics = greed

I haven’t watched the Olympics since the one in Australia eight years ago and haven’t missed it.

It’s all about greed and money…the true god of the West. The Olympics may claim to be a “amateur” sporting event to spread “goodwill,” but it’s just all about the money. Now it’s just a bunch of sponsorships, absurd IP ideals, steroids (remember Marion Jones?), corruption (remember Salt Lake City?) and cities spending billions upon billions of dollars (remember Athens?).

This is worse than when the NFL goes nuts over its Big Game…at least the NFL admits they’re all about the money.

ivision4u (user link) says:

Video Cencorship

As a Canadian I believe we need to be vigilant to the censorship of the IOC and other governing bodies. Our children should learn to recognize these infringements and we as parents sometimes need to show them that this is wrong. ‘O Canada we stand on guard for thee‘. There is a reason why we as Canadians take this oath as we award our athletes for their excellence and their service to themselves and their country. Today one of my daughters YouTube videos was censored by the IOC. I invite you to check out this over-the-top censorship at

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...