US Olympic Committee Forces 30 Year Old Philidelphia Gyro Restaraunt To Change Its Name
from the its-all-Greek-to-me dept
Ah, the Olympics. The spirit of cooperation. Of athletic competition. Of the essence of global feel-good-ness, where all the Olympic committees of the world come together to put on a spectacle made of the most brilliant athletes in the world.
Oh, and they also like to stifle links to critical pieces (do we have your attention, boys?), by banning their fans from sharing their experiences via social media, and threatening ICANN for refusing to block Olympic-related terms. And, now, Steve M shares a story from the Philadelphia Daily News about how the United States Olympic Committee has won a 30 year battle they didn’t know they were fighting with a gyro shop.
“Three decades after it burst from the starting block, the Greek eatery Olympic Gyro has received a cease-and-desist email from the USOC, the nonprofit corporation responsible for training and funding U.S. teams. The June 7 notice demanded deletion of the word “Olympic” from the food shop’s title, claiming copyright of the word under a 1978 law.”
This legislative insanity, which I assume is entitled “The USOC Can Do Whatever It Wants Because Olympics Act Of 1978”, basically grants the USOC sole usership of the word “Olympic” in the United States, amongst other travesties. They issued a heartfelt email in response to this issue:
“The USOC communications department declined to discuss the matter with the Daily News. But in its email, the organization emphasized the need to “protect the rights of companies who financially support the U.S. Olympic Team,” such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.”
Yup, the USOC asserted that it needs to protect the rights of their sponsors (which means they’re protecting themselves, by the way) from these no-good gyro shop owners who have apparently been harming McDonald’s and Coca-Cola for the past thirty damned years, but with some kind of stealth cloaking device that keeps any such harm from being realized.
Oh, and just for fun, let’s look at a few names of the governors of the organizations involved in this story. The USOC is headed up by Larry Probst (not Greek). Coca-Cola is run by Muhtar Kent (not Greek). McDonalds’ CEO is James Skinner (not Greek). And the gyro stand formely known as Olympic Gyro’s owner is Athens Voulgaridis (more than slightly Greek). The irony of this was apparently not lost on Voulgaridis:
“It’s been a part of my life as long as I can remember,” Voulgaridis said Tuesday. “We’re very Greek Orthodox, we go back [to Greece] often. For them to take something that is Greek and make it theirs for money is frustrating.”
But he also states that he isn’t going to fight the government. In total, the name change will cost his business $6000 or so, since he has to change both signage and employee uniforms. He contacted the USOC to see if they would help out with those costs, but they declined, explaining that money is valuable and they didn’t want to spend any.
The same Daily News article also mentions that the USOC went after a knitting group named Ravelry that was organizing something of a knitting olympics competition to coincide with The Games:
“We believe using the name ‘Ravelympics’ for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games,” the letter from USOC said. “In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.”
Yes, you read that correctly. Knitting competitions denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. Which I happen to agree with, assuming that this “true nature” they’re talking about revolves around screwing with people for no good reason.