Legal Issues

by Carlo Longino

London (Censored) Officials Want (Censored) Sponsors To Get Special Protection

from the can-we-say-that? dept

While Major League Baseball's views on what it owns are pretty misguided, it's got a long way to go to reach the levels of the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee and its affiliated groups have a long history of overzealously "defending" its trademarks and "protecting" its sponsors, whether it's by muzzling athletes writing about the games on their personal sites, suing just about anybody that uses the word Olympics, preventing people from wearing clothes with the logos of sponsors' rivals to Olympic events or having moronic link policies. In the UK, organizers of the 2012 summer games are trying to get special protection for their trademarks and sponsors enshrined in law, an effort that's now coming under attack (registration required). The bill would not only offer special legal protection to official Olympic sponsors, but would also allow the games' organizers to dictate what media outlets could cover the games, and exactly what they could write about. It also includes a provision that allows the UK's secretary of state to regulate advertising in the vicinity of Olympic venues and traffic routes to them -- all part of the "protection" supporters say Olympic sponsors deserve. What remains unclear is why, exactly, two groups engaged in a private business transaction -- in this case, the Olympic committee and its sponsors -- not only deserve an unbelievable amount of specially enshrined legal protection when trademark laws are already on the books, but should also get to stifle freedom of the press. Citius, altius, fortius... and maximus cashius.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Mousky, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 10:37am

    No Subject Given

    Honestly, you can't be surprised? Companies pay outrageous sums of money for "exclusive rights" for things (Censored). Governments pay millions of dollars for the right to host the (Censored). Everybody wants a return on their investment. Who gives a shit about the viewer or the athlete.

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

  2. identicon
    Beck, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 10:39am


    It's also that time of year when the radio commercials refer to "The Big Game in February", prohibited from using the words "Super Bowl".

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

  3. identicon
    Blake eggemeyer, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 10:58am

    get a grip

    if your event (the bowl thats super, or the one named after a greek mountain) are popular enough that people want to talk about that, this should be a sign of success, not to mention that all the talk would serve as FREE advertising.

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

  4. identicon
    Dan, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 11:05am

    Re: get a grip

    i say (censored) the (censored) and there (censored), i thought the (censored) was supposed to be about athletics and sportmanship not (censored)

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

  5. identicon
    The Poison Pen / A Funny Guy, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 11:31am

    How long will we tolerate this type of BS?

    Well I look at it like this.

    Super Bowl!


    There I said both of them. And as long as there is a 1st admendment in the USA I will continue to use these words as I see fit.....

    BTW - anybody that wants to sue me..... BE MY FUCKING GUEST.

    I won't even bother bringing a laywer to court... that is if i even show up to refute such an obvious attack against the freedom of speech.

    Please sue me... please please please!!!!!!

    Waste your money..... you won't get a dime from me... I'll die before you get a dime from me...

    Seriously folks.... just what could any POS do with 50 million people with this attitude?

    Answer - NOTHING!

    Awaken my brothers and take back the rights that are being taken from you one by one.

    Awaken before it is too late......

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

  6. identicon
    Mousky, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 11:32am

    Re: get a grip

    The (censored) hasn't been about athletics and sportsmanship for at least 2 decades. When you have to score or time to the third or fourth decimal place, for all intents and purposes, the event has become meaningless.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 11:42am

    Re: How long will we tolerate this type of BS?


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

  8. identicon
    Jeff, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 12:59pm


    When large organizations do bullshit like this, it just starts a smear campaign against them...and there's nothing they can do about it. It's the people, the citizenry, who do the smearing. If the Olympics (come and get me) people want to sue people for using the name of their organization, we shouldn't allow the Olympics to be hosted in this country anymore. Come here, sue people, then expect hospitality? Pardon my French, but fuck you. Brutally. With a fork.

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

  9. identicon
    Feh, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 1:09pm

    No Subject Given

    suing just about anybody who...

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Nerd, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 1:32pm

    Re: How long will we tolerate this type of BS?

    Ahh, but you're missing the obvious point. Why WOULD the NFL or the Olympic committee sue you? That's a big fat waste of their legal dollars. You're just a ranting cry-baby to them.

    But when Clear Channel, ABC, CBS, or NBC decide to use "Super Bowl" and "The Olympics" in their broadcasts reaching millions, and those other private entities have billions of dollars at their disposal, it's good to protect one's copyright against those guys because they CAN afford to pay big fines for breaching copyright... even if it is a bit frivolous.

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

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 1:39pm

    No Subject Given

    Shit. Fuck. Just wanted to see what was being censored

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

  12. identicon
    sick of all the corporate whining, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 2:21pm


    I've always been a fan of the "give 'em what they appear to spades!" school of thought. Don't mention the olympics or any other confrontational entity...unless they pay for ad time. No free media time for the likes of nike or its swoosh, professional sports...nothing. Collegiate sports can have a free ride- for the time being. Of course, I favor replacing curling with mountaineering, but then thats just me.

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

  13. identicon
    crapped on sportsfan, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 2:35pm

    Re: morons

    It wasn't too many years ago the Portland Trailblazers were threatening to sue their own fans for using their on-air announcer's well known term "rip-city" on homemade signs and banners when the team went to the finals. Talk about shitting in your own shoes...this seems to be typical of company managment nowadays. And collectively we seem only too willing to forget such transgretions and keep handing over our money.

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

  14. identicon
    bob, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 2:49pm

    I'd boycott the OLYMPICS and the SUPER BOWL but ..

    I'd boycott the OLYMPICS and the SUPER BOWL but it's hard to boycott something you don't watch anyway.

    Seriously ... the olympics and the superbowl have pretty much lost all meaning. They are just a vehicle for advertising.

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

  15. identicon
    Leah, Jan 16th, 2006 @ 3:14pm

    Olympic(-less) Hopefuls

    A popular local band in the Twin Cities got a kick in the pants by the Olimpic committee. The band was know for years as the Olympic Hopefuls, until they got big enough to get they are just the Hopefuls, hopeful they won't get sued by anyone else...

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

  16. identicon
    giafly, Jan 17th, 2006 @ 2:20am


    This is the text of the London Olympics Bill, as introduced in the House of Commons on 14th July 2005.
    HTML version of the Bill
    I think the offences complained about will be "statutory instruments", i.e whatever government decides at the time, rather than "primary legislation" voted for in Parliament.

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

  17. identicon
    haggie, Jan 17th, 2006 @ 11:12am

    No Subject Given

    People actually watch the Olympics?

    Suing to protect the Olympics from copyright and trade violations is like Britney suing tabloids to protect her reputation.

    It's already been sold to the highest bidder and nobody really believed there was much left to protect in the first place.

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

  18. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Feb 8th, 2007 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Links

    As I understand it, this is a positive statutory instrument, which means it must be votred on by the Commons, ratehr than a negative one (which cancels another Instrumant) which merely must be laid before the House for 60 days or an Administrative Order which is merely signed by a relevant Minister (whom is simply excercising a power he aldready has). Hopefully this will mean that even if is it passed, it will beocme a laughing stock.

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

  19. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Feb 8th, 2007 @ 5:17pm

    Sorry about the last post, now I'v read the bill

    The relevant section is Section 17, with 18 detailing how regulations are to be applied, and 19 regard enforcement. see the relevant page here. The regulations are to be passed by a ststuorty instrument and must be passed by both Houses, which maens that any ridiculous regulations would become a laughingstock. If an Opposition does not want something passed, they can delay it for ages by forcing a division on every clause. Divisions take 10-20 minutes and involve, when the bell sounds, all MPs rushing to the Divisions Lobby to pass through the correct door. Since it is not unusual for ministers to be in their offices in Whitehall during a debate, they may well find that they have to jump up in the middle of a meeting, run down the road, and vote based purely on a whip handed to them by thier private secretary. Although a ststutory Instrument is passed by a singe resolution, the Opposition can threaten, quitely and unnoficially, to waste lots of time on a major governement bill to block one, a not uncommon tactic. Anyway, it can take a month or so to pass the necessary resolution, so that would make it difficult to impose a ban on anything too quickly, although I recognise that they do have several years to impose such bans.

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

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