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If You Blog, Don't Go for the Gold

Not that I’ve ever been in contention for qualifying for any Olympic sports (it’s not my fault there are no PowerPoint events), but PaidContent today gives a reason why you’re much better off blogging about the Olympics from your couch than the Olympic Village. It’s so incredible that I’m posting their summary in full:

The International Olympic Committee,
still sitting high on its all-rights-are-ours horse, has opened up a
little, allowing athletes to blog at the Olympics for the first time,
in time for the Beijing Olympics coming up in August this year. Under
the new rules, blogs are allowed as long as they are used for personal
expression and not journalism, meaning "it be confined solely to their
own personal Olympic-related experience", reports Reuters. In practice this means no Olympic visual or audio material and any confidential information on third parties.

— Athletes or officials can post still pictures taken outside accredited areas or their own pictures taken within these areas that do not contain any sporting action.

— Blogs should not have exclusive agreements with any company and
there should be no commercial reference or advertising either.

And wonder how will they police all this? And when will it cross into censorship line?

This brings to mind other questions. Say you’re an Olympian and you post some photos from an event on Facebook. Does that count as blogging? If you rationalize that Facebook is more of a closed community, what about Flickr? Or what if you post videos on YouTube? Or what if, as an Olympian, you digg violating media from other Olympians? Are you then an accomplice?

If I’m an Olympian this year, I’d just keep a private journal and, at most, type it up in Word and email it to a few friends without posting it anywhere online, and I’d stay clear of any of the media sharing properties.

Could you imagine Michael Phelps getting five gold medals but then getting sanctioned by the IOC for photoblogging?

Actually, I’d love to see something like that happen just for the uproar it’d create.

These kids give their lives for these few moments of potential glory, and only a few of those who come out there walk away with a medal. All the while, they’re taking part in an international event watched by billions as the Olympians inspire countless people along the way. For what they put themselves through, they deserve a little leeway.

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Comments to: If You Blog, Don't Go for the Gold
  • Avatar
    February 18, 2008

    Interesting post, David!
    I hate to sound like a techno-snob, but I think they just don’t get it. As Jeremiah Owyang said about another similar story, “you can’t keep the Internet out!”.
    Instead of trying to forbid or control blogging (which is a losing battle anyway), I wonder why they don’t embrace it instead, and leverage its power to try to promote their brand? The IOC’s approach reminds me of that other major heavy-handed organization of our time, the RIAA! 🙂

  • Avatar
    February 19, 2008

    Imagine if this restrictive attitude were applied to any other form of speech. “You are not permitted to tell anyone the outcome of any event other than your own.” We’d be outraged. But since it’s “only” blogs that are being sanctioned, there’s an air of acceptability about it…intellectual property and all that. Bunk. When did athletes sign away their rights as human beings? And, if the IOC does require them to do so, when will the US cite this as a “human rights violation”? Protecting NBC is what this amounts to. Talk about killing the golden egg laying goose!


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