The commercialisation of the Olympic spirit
The extent to which the legitimate protection of rights begins to overlap outright censorship is a concern. We all know about large-scale developments such as SOPA in the USA and the Digital Rights Act in the UK, where the pretext of defending rightsholders can easily be used by government to take down and censor the bits of free speech it doesn’t like. But the contagion is spreading (hat tip to Guido for highlighting it).
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has issued what it calls ‘guidelines’ but what are actually instructions in a document titled IOC Social Media, Blogging and Internet
Guidelines Instructions for participants and other accredited persons at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The document itself is fully copyrighted, so the IOC could tell me to remove this.
Guido highlights section 2:
2. Postings, Blogs and Tweets
The IOC encourages participants and other accredited persons to post comments on social media platforms or websites and tweet during the Olympic Games, and it is entirely acceptable for a participant or any other accredited person to do a personal posting, blog or tweet. However, any such postings, blogs or tweets must be in a first-person, diary-type format and should not be in the role of a journalist – i.e. they must not report on competition or comment on the activities of other participants or accredited persons, or disclose any information which is confidential or private in relation to any other person or organisation. A tweet is regarded in this respect as a short blog and the same guidelines are in effect, again, in first-person, diary-type format.
Postings, blogs and tweets should at all times conform to the Olympic spirit and fundamental principles of Olympism as contained in the Olympic Charter, be dignified and in good taste, and not contain vulgar or obscene words or images.
Such instructions are, frankly, a bloody nerve; and I would dearly love all journalists to decline to become ‘accredited’ in response. But the bit that really bothers me is this:
The IOC will continue to monitor Olympic on-line content to ensure that the integrity of rights-holding broadcasters and sponsor rights as well as the Olympic Charter is maintained…
and if not
The IOC reserves all its right to take any other appropriate measures with respect to infringements of these Guidelines, including issuing a Take Down Notice…
Take down? The Olympic spirit has degenerated into a threat to take down stories/websites it doesn’t like? Jesse Owens wept!