Olympic Level Ridiculousness: You Can't Link To The Olympics Website If You Say Something Mean About Them

from the watch-me dept

For years, we've highlighted the overaggressive nature of the Olympics in over-protecting their intellectual property -- even to the level of getting host countries to pass special IP laws that only apply to the Olympics. But this sense of ultimate entitlement seems to pervade everything that the Olympics does. It was recently noted that the terms of use for the London 2012 website include a restriction on how you can link to the site:
Links to the Site. You may create your own link to the Site, provided that your link is in a text-only format. You may not use any link to the Site as a method of creating an unauthorised association between an organisation, business, goods or services and London 2012, and agree that no such link shall portray us or any other official London 2012 organisations (or our or their activities, products or services) in a false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner. The use of our logo or any other Olympic or London 2012 Mark(s) as a link to the Site is not permitted. View our guidelines on Use of the Games’ Marks.
There are other insane statements in the terms, including that you automatically agree to be "legally bound" by the terms simply by using the site. That's not how a contract works, guys.

Either way, this claim that you can't link to their site in a "derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner" has inspired the creativity of the internet, it appears. Specifically, lots of folks have taken to Twitter to share their own derogatory or otherwise objectionable statements along with links to the website. Asher Wolf and Meredith Patterson have done a really nice job curating some of the insults that are currently raining down on the Olympics for their linking policy. We've included a couple of screenshots (below the fold).

I recognize that there are some other sites who have used this kind of language in the past, and that some overcharging lawyer was probably just trying to set up a "cover their ass" policy for the Olympics, but it's amazing that any competent individual lets those kinds of things out into the world these days without realizing that it's clearly going to create the exact opposite incentives.

And, hell, just for fun, check out this link to an obnoxious organization that loves censorship and doesn't respect free speech. And I say that in a derogatory and objectionable manner.

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  1. icon
    Duke (profile), 14 Jul 2012 @ 6:14am

    Re:

    In English law there's a case called Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking that sort of says you can't impose contractual terms after you've entered into the contract; i.e. by using this site you agree to terms you can't read until you use the site.

    Secondly, the UK (via the EU) has all sorts of consumer-protection laws which, among other things, can negate unreasonable terms in contracts - particularly where the contract is one-sided.

    Plus you have the broader issues of incorporation of the terms; if they're buried away on some "terms" page, are they actually incorporated into the agreement?

    So legally, under English law (where this site is based) there's a good chance the term isn't binding.

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