More Restrictions for the Beijing Olympics: Blogging? Legitimate! Content? Well, Let’s Talk About That

National_museum_of_China_2008_countdown_clock.jpgMy previous post about England and the Olympics noted possible restrictions on athletes making political statements. The comments offered some interesting points regarding what politics and the Olympics could mean so allow me to say thanks for those here. Now it appears that the IOC has placed limits on blogging by athletes. The IOC has acknowledged that “blogging is ‘legitimate form of personal expression,’.” Nice of them to say so; most were unsure about that. Of course the IOC has placed restrictions. The blogs are to be diaries or journal with no interviews of fellow athletes or writing about them. And oh yes, copyright is in play as “Bloggers are prevented from posting audio clips or videos of ‘any Olympic events, including sporting action, opening, closing and medal ceremonies or other activities which occur within any zone which requires an Olympic identity and accreditation card [or ticket] for entry.'” Blogs cannot use other athletes’ photos, be for commercial gain, and no advertising is allowed while Olympics content is on screen. The best part as reported by the AP “Domain names for blogs should not include any word similar to “Olympic” or “Olympics.” Bloggers are, however, urged to link their blogs to official Olympic Web sites.”

So dear athletes write about your experience but please be sure that you do not ask your potential friends from other teams and who spread the joy of amateur sport and connectedness to agree to a picture on your blog. Also do not use anything that looks like you are at the Olympics except for linking to the official site (how you will do that without using the words and symbols of the Olympics, the IOC leaves to you). In the interests of harmony (and odd copyright concerns) please take no pictures for your memories although we have some lovely glossies for your purchase. In short, please write a dry, personal journal with none of the pictures, thoughts, and discussions you might have in daily life while being thrilled to be at the Olympics.

Are fans not allowed to photograph the events? Talk to people? This generation of athletes could provide a great insight about the games from the individual perspective. They could have some commercial gain (maybe a Wheaties box although I prefer Belushi’s Little Chocolate Donuts, The Donuts of Champions) in their future. What exactly is the IOC trying to do here? The invocation of alleged amateurism and copyright is bizarre if not insulting. Let them write. Let them take pictures.

In a recent talk, Erwin Chemerinsky suggested that security and safety may be reasons to prevent speech but even then only rarely. In that view the IOC’s limit on posting information related to security may make some sense. But the rest? Well draw your own conclusions.

Image: WikiCommons; GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

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