Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Winter Olympics, Blogverbot and trademarks

The big February television broadcast has started with a swirling show as only Italian can produce. The nicest part for me was the part where people formed a dove of peace. But is it all peace?

It is disturbing to hear that the sports delegates are not allowed to blog. The big organisation is telling the skiers and skaters not to blog. Some of them have already nice blogs, telling about their trainings, their trips and mental state of mind. Since yesterday the skaters are even willing to tell about the innovations of their skates and the new suits. I am wondering whether the sports people will keep to this Blogverbot. I checked some of the sites of the Dutch skaters and these sites all stopped some day ago with putting up news. You can wonder of course whether these sports people have become assets to the Olympic Committee or the national chapters. The Dutch Olympic Committee NOC*NSF said that the sports people should concentrate on skating, skiing, bobbing and snowboarding; blogging is seen as fun.Of course the sports people still can have their column in a newspaper by speaking to a journalist, who writes the blog. A Blogverbot is ridiculous. For the Dutch the Blogverbot will be compensated by the many blog of the visitors to the Olympics.

Another problematic area is the area of logo’s and trademarks. Recently I talked to the event organiser of the WebOlympics. He had been summoned by a solicitor to change the name as Olympics is a registered trademark. Not only the Olympic rings have been registered and protected, but also the names Olympics, Olympic Winter Games and Olympic Summer Games, inclusing all language variations. In the meantime he has complied with the summons, as he did not want to risk a court case and legal bills for legal counsel. But does a WebOlympics harm the Olympic Committee? In my opinion the case could be argued that Olympics is a generic word, indicating a sportive, competitive event.

Of course, it is understandable that the Olympic Committee protects their assets and trade them with sponsors. But are there no limits?

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