Olympic Copyright Crackdown


Today with just days before the start of the 2012 Olympics in East London, we look at the copyright crackdown on Olympic brands. Critics say it has gone too far now that common nouns are being restricted.

Today's guest host was Mike Finnerty.

Part One of The Current


It's Friday, July 20th ... One week before the opening BEEP of the 30th BEEP in BEEP, England.
Okay, that was weird. Guess those BEEP copyright guys are serious.
Let's try this again.
It's Friday, July 20th ... One week before BEEP athletes from all over the world gather in BEEP to compete for BEEP.
Yeesh. All right, one more time.
It's Friday, July 20th ... One week before a small army of copyright lawyers descend on some poor unsuspecting European city where a bunch of really fit people plan to do some stuff.
This is The BEEP.
Okay, that was just spiteful.
Yeah, well BEEP you too.

Olympic Copyright Crackdown - Reporter and Columnist, The Observer

We started this segment with some voices owners of small business surrounding the Olympic Village in London speaking to freelancer Oliver Gardiner yesterday.

Starting Monday morning, a "Brand Army" of 300 uniformed Olympics officers will be patrolling the streets of London ... gazing through shop windows and peering under awnings ... looking for any sign of a business that is illegally associating itself with the Games. They're enforcing a British Olympics law which was passed in 2006 by the then Labour government, doing what it felt necessary to secure this Summer's 2012 games.

Amongst other things, the law sets out lists of words, and prohibits businesses or charities from using two or more. These words include: Games, Two-Thousand and Twelve, "2012," whether you use the number or write out the words ... Gold, Silver, Bronze, London, medals, sponsors and summer.

Mercifully, the CBC, The Current and Michael Finnerty, our guest host should be on safe ground this morning -- or so our lawyers tell us anyway, and yes, there were discussions -- because media outlets get a pass if we use the words in news reporting, as part of a regularly scheduled news broadcast. But please, Canada, don't try this at home.

The point of the law is to make sure that companies who didn't pay for the rights to be an official Olympic sponsor don't get to cut in on the action of the ones that did. And they paid a lot of money. Increasingly, there are those who say the Olympic copyright crackdown has gone too far.

Nick Cohen is among them. He's a reporter and columnist with The Observer newspaper, the author of You Can't Read This Book, and he's just written the cover story on this subject for the Spectator. He was in London this morning.

And Dick Pound is a member of the International Olympic Committee and twice served as it's Vice-President. From 1984 to 2001 he was responsible for all Olympic marketing and sponsorship. We reached him in Montreal.

This segment was produced by The Current's Kristin Nelson.

Other segment from today's show:

Laws and Mores (Doc Repeat)

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