Why you can't post London Olympics photos, videos online

Taking a photo of your favourite athlete at this year's Olympics could land you in trouble. But Olympic organisers said that enforcing social media rules is impossible.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on

Despite the upcoming 2012 London Olympics dubbed the first "social" games, the organisers have imposed heavy restrictions on what spectators and athletes can do with the photos and videos they take.

Olympic-goers are barred from uploading photos and videos of the events on social networking sites, not limited to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. As if that wasn't crazy enough in this day and age, "branding police" will ensure that non-Olympic logos and trademarks will be covered in and around Olympic venues.

As the Guardiannotes, athletes will not even be able to tweet which brand-named cereal they are eating that particular morning. Send in the troops should Sir Chris Hoy tweet about his epic bowl of Weetabix.

But Olympic bosses have admitted the ban on spectators posting content is "unenforceable", claiming there is "not much [the organisers] can do about it."

The rules are so strict, in a bid to protect contracts signed to generate vast sums of sponsorship money for the Games, that athletes are not allowed to have their photos taken next to branded products that are not official sponsors of the Games. Even Twitter is disallowing non-official sponsors advertising with promoted ads under Olympic trademarks, such as #London2012.

The Olympic tickets state:

"Images, video and sound recordings of the Games taken by a Ticket Holder cannot be used for any purpose other than for private and domestic purposes and a Ticket Holder may not license, broadcast or publish video and/or sound recordings, including on social networking websites and the Internet more generally."

The reason is due to the brand laws passed in the UK not too long ago in preparation for the upcoming Games. The Olympic Symbol (Protection) Act 1995, and in particular the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006, both protect the Games from abuses and those who wish to cash in despite not holding official sponsorship accreditation.

The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) said that a "common sense approach" however would be enacted to ensure that especially those in the commercial sector frankly don't push their luck.

"Media rights are sold --- can we police everything these days? Absolutely not," Sir Keith Mills, deputy chairman of LOCOG told the BBC.

"The internet has changed the world and we're not going to be silly. But the reality is that we live in an Internet world where Facebook downloads and uploads are happening every day of the week and there's not much we can do about it."

"We are looking to stop people who seek to use them for commercial purposes," a London 2012 spokesperson said. A clarification will be issued as and when the tickets are distributed, they said.

Image credit: CNET UK.


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