The British Resistance

The Olympic games are in London this year. As those of you who were in Atlanta in 1996 will recall, or who were any other city where this plague of locusts has descended, with the Olympics comes aggressive enforcement of Olympic copyrights. Things you could say six weeks ago -- "Welcome to Atlanta, Home of the 1996 Olympics" -- suddenly become a civil offense for which you will be hauled into court. Actually, it's worse than that: even "Atlanta" or "1996!" becomes off limits for the duration.

Technically the law is on their side here, as they want to restrict their logo and name to their sponsors, in the hope of encouraging more sponsors. Of course, most people who fall afoul of the aggressive enforcement just wanted to get into the spirit of the thing, and are shocked when they are told they have to pay big bucks to join in celebrating the games. The games are, after all, famously proclaimed to be all about international goodwill. Though the Games are in the right by the lights of the law, they often end up trampling on that spirit.

A few street merchants aside, the citizens of Atlanta mostly just ponied up the dough and put up with it. The British were apparently more irritated. Londoners, for example, have taken to finding new ways to torment the enforcers.

"These aren't rings! They're squares!"


Texan99 said...

There's no telling what lawyers will claim, but did anyone actually get subjected to liability for displaying the name "Atlanta" or the year "1996," and have it hold up in court? Appalling. It's one of things I classify as "you wouldn't want me on that jury."

Grim said...

I honestly don't know if it held up in court. The Olympics were such a nightmare in preparation -- for a year you couldn't get anywhere in Atlanta without a studious knowledge of the backroads, because of the construction closing the main roads -- that I took a few weeks and went to New England for the time they were in town. Which, by the way, was very nice. New Hampshire especially suited me, but Boston's plethora of Irish pubs was also a welcome surprise.