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 @ 6:20am

    Re:

    The "not allowed to link to us without permission" thing seems to be a deeply-embedded misunderstanding either by lawyers, or by the rest of the world, as to how the Internet works with the law.

    I was recently skimming through a book on (English) IP law, and it was suggesting that linking to a site could count as an infringement of copyright (in the site) and that the only way a set of bookmarks would be legal is if you could fit them in the fair dealing for private study exception. And this is the 2010 edition (based on a really dodgy 90s case involving Scottish newspapers).

    If that is what lawyers are being taught, it is no wonder they think they can impose conditions when they "license" out the right to link to their sites. Of course, everyone else thinks that linking is just linking; providing a sign-post sort of thing. Only one side can be right...

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