The Olympics event will be the biggest event of the year, not including Melania Trump’s historic speech, that will have audience from all corners of the world superglued to their screens for a period of a month or so.
If, athletes decide to turn up at the event that is.
First a few top ranked tennis players like Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic withdrew from the event because of fears related to the Zika virus that has wreaked havoc in Brazil and then that was followed by withdrawals by other athletes from different sports such as Stephen Curry (USA basketball team) and world’s number one golf player Jason Day (also of United States of America).
If that wasn’t enough, some Olympians competing in swimming sports showed concerns over the cleanliness of waters in which athletes will be required to swim at the Olympics. It has been reported that waste (some of you may know waste as sewage) along with factory toxins continue to be dumped in the river where athletes will be competing for gold this year.
And now the US Olympics Committee has taken it up a notch as far as intellectual property rights are concerned.
The Committee has “committed” to take legal action anyone and everyone who tries to violate its trademarks using services such as Twitter or any other social media network website.
The Olympics Committee has said that it is willing to go to any lengths for the protection of its legal rights over its trademark signs and logos. And since Twitter is so popular in the US, the Olympics Committee doesn’t want other companies to use Olympics material to rake in revenue.
It didn’t expound upon the threats it may or may not have received regarding violations of its trademarks (through the use of twitter or otherwise).
Can this be labeled as absurd on the part of US Olympics Committee?
The real question would be, who or what is causing the US Olympics Committee to showcase so much fury over a non-event. Oh wait, it’s those damn tweets.
Twitter is a micro-blogging technology website that allows its users to update their status with anything from which food they are eating to official statements from the companies they might represent.
From President Obama to some members of ISIS, all use twitter regularly to organize and disseminate important pieces of information.
The US Olympics Committee apparently doesn’t want companies who have no sponsorship deal with the Olympics to use twitter in order to get a public relations boost.
In short, any company that isn’t a sponsor of Olympics will not be allowed to tweet about the Olympic games or the athletes that are involved in the Olympic games until the event is over.
The giant sports news source ESPN recently received a letter from the US Olympic Committee CMO (chief marketing officer), Lisa Baird, in which Baird was very clear about the message the Committee wanted everyone to understand.
That message was, even though absurd, “you can’t tweet about our event if you don’t pay us some money”. Well, that’s not exactly what she said but you can consider it a paraphrase.
These demands are ridiculous. This doesn’t need to be discussed. What does need to be discussed is why? Why can’t other companies use their sponsored athletes to bump up their sales by using Olympics name along with their athletes?
Baird wrote in the letter that no commercial entities should post on twitter material that is related either to the Trials or the Games on their social media accounts.
The letter also stated that these restrictions extend to the usage of USOC (United States Olympics Committee) trademark in hashtags as well.
The CMO was also generous enough to provide the letter’s readers with some relevant examples of how companies should NOT use their trademark names or logos.
The examples were, #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA.
So if a company wants to support the country in which it does its business by the use of Twitter, it can’t. Whether Twitter will help the US Olympic Committee to carry out their stated goal, remains to be seen.
Twitter management has shown a knack of dragging the social network website into issues unrelated to technology, such as the recent ban on a French tech editor who made racist remarks against a Hollywood actress, so it will be interesting if Twitter comes with an official statement from Twitter’s marketing department or Twitter’s CEO.
Not satisfied enough with the craziness? Then wait till you read this.
The letter sent to ESPN by Baird also stated that no company, who isn’t involved in an industry that is directly related to coverage on Olympics, would not be allowed to even take pictures at the Olympics.
So if you work for a company that doesn’t work in the media industry or isn’t a news site, then sorry. You are barred from even taking pictures at the Olympics.
Wonder if Baird would ban people from watching the Olympics at home who haven’t paid the Olympics Committee streaming right fees, in the next letter.
And before I forget, the letter also said that any company whose primary activity isn’t related to media cannot share or repost any material from the official Olympics Twitter account.
Was Twitter ever supposed to be this big of a deal? The website was created for the world to share and repost stuff they liked.
If the Olympics happens to be among the stuff that people want to share, then it doesn’t make any sense to try and stop people (corporations are people right?) from sharing that stuff.
The question that needs to be answered now is that, will each and every company that isn’t a sponsor of the Olympics be taken to court if it retweets from the official Olympics Twitter account?
Well, there is only one way to find out. Go to Twitter and take it for a test run.
Many users on TwitterVerse have called for a blackout on the Olympics if the US Olympics committee is so concerned about companies benefiting from the coverage of its events.
Baird also said that athletes will be allowed to support a non-sponsor while they are in Brazil for the Olympics and conversely, non-sponsor companies will also be able to endorse individual athletes whether it be on Twitter or any place else.
However, both parties won’t be allowed to mention anything related to Olympics specifically either on Twitter or any other social network platform.
On that note, feel free to follow (and tweet to)Bob Bryan (Team USA for tennis) and Kieran Behan of Ireland on twitter. Ask them questions about their Olympic dreams and then Re-tweet them too if you want to.