We've covered how the Olympics has time and time again abused intellectual property law to try to silence all sorts of reasonable activity, and the upcoming Vancouver Olympics have been no exception
. In the latest move, sent in by drewmo
(though he forgot the link, and made us go searching...) is that a Vancouver-based musician, Carey Mercer, is pointing out that the Vancouver Olympic Committee is pushing contracts on musicians that include a gag order against saying anything bad at all about the Olympics
The Olympics always has a "cultural component," a cultural Olympiad, and this year, to quote their puke-in-my-mouth inducing website, they have made a back-patting hullabaloo about including "cutting edge indie rock." And each and every "cutting edge" performer that has agreed to play has signed a contract that includes the above clause. A clause that states, in case you skimmed over it, that these artists must never say anything negative about an entity that will spend 900 million dollars on "security." An entity that has already infuriated anti-poverty and anti-homeless groups who accuse VANOC of not living up to its promise of providing affordable housing.
Most participating artists claim to be unaware of this clause.
Part of Mercer's complaint is that no one seems to be able to determine if the Olympics is a public or private entity, since censorship by a government entity would seem like a big no-no:
No one, including our courts, can figure out if it is a public or private entity. It seems to be public when it needs tax dollars (6 billion), but private whenever it is challenged...
And, sure, you can understand why the Vancouver Olympics might not want musicians it hires to say anything bad about them, but putting a contractual gag clause in there seems to suggest that the organization simply can't take any criticism. Mercer is also concerned about what this does for the musicians who signed these gag orders, often without realizing it:
When artists are not allowed to critique their government, or the governing agency that endows them with grants and funding, then what they are asking for is nothing more than propaganda.