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2012 Olympics branding rights: posting photos to Facebook could infringe rules

With just 100 days left to go before London 2012 Olympics finally kick off, excitement is certainly mounting and for those lucky enough to have tickets, who’ll undoubtedly be recording and sharing every moment of their experience via Facebook or any other social channel they can, unless of course they’re breaking the law by doing so.

Esther Addley of The Guardian outlines that the sponsorship and branding contracts tied to the Olympics this year are so closely guarded and monitored, that ticket holders, athletes and businesses will have to tread carefully in order to avoid incurring the wrath of the branding ‘police’.

London 2012 Stadium Concept

Locog is the company entrusted with protecting the intellectual property of those affiliated with the games. They argue that the heavy levels of protection that have had to put into effect were essential in order to attract companies to become official sponsors – and contribute money to the games – whilst protecting their IP.

These rules affect different bodies in different ways, for example members of the public (ticket holders) ‘may not licence, broadcast or publish video and/or sound recordings, including on social networking websites and the internet.‘ This effectively preventing any content captured on a mobile device or camera to make the jump to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr or any other social site where shared content is readily available.

Any advertising from companies near Olympic sites hoping to capitalise on the games will also fall foul to the new rules and regulations. Particular words and phrases used in marketing material by unlicensed parties such as, “Games, Two Thousand and Twelve, 2012, Twenty-Twelve” when paired with words such as, “London, Medals, Sponsors, Summer, Gold, Silver, Bronze” will be enough to land them in hot water.

The key issue with such legalities is that although put in place to protect one company, they could well be damaging a far larger number of small businesses, unable to advertise in effective ways out of fear of breaking such legislation.

Athletes face a strict set of rules, so won’t be able to tweet about products that aren’t official Olympic sponsors or post footage to a blog. But it’s going to be near impossible to prevent the thousands of individuals uploading pictures to Facebook.


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