Archive for June, 2012

LOCOG: Have your cake and…shove it in creators’ face too

by Daniel Gervais on Wednesday, June 27th at 4:29 PM


Probably the highest level of protection of any trademark/logo/symbol in the world is the Olympic symbol. We are well past the 1981 Nairobi Treaty, which obliges its member States to “refuse or to invalidate the registration as a mark and to prohibit by appropriate measures the use, as a mark or other sign, for commercial purposes, of any sign consisting of or containing the Olympic symbol.” The IOC imposes on countries that want to host Games an incredibly high level of obligation to prevent ant use of Olympic names and symbols and even any marketing within a perimeter of the Games. This had led to a number of (sometimes exaggerated) stories during the Vancouver Games (example here). An analysis of the abuse of the notion of ambush marketing in that context can be found here.  Clearly, no other trademark–not even the most famous one–enjoys that level of protection.

So the IOC had been given the trademark cake it wanted. You would think that they might have some sympathy for other intellectual property. Mistake. The same week that a new treaty to protect audiovisual performers was signed in Beijing (see here), I learned (though it was first reported in April–see here), that the London Organizing Committee had decided that performers should do what they do (play music) for free at the upcoming summer Games. I guess this is understandable given that the Games have such a low budget…

Seriously, the argument used here crosses the red line that broadcasters have tried to use unsuccessfully (fortunately) for decades that they should not pay for music because they give it “exposure.” The LOCOG argument is, as was reported, that the performers can capitalize of the fame generated by the event. It could be the other way around.

I hope the LOCOG people will smell the coffee and wake up.




Wednesday, June 27th at 4:29 PM