Look, I am not an anti-IP guy, I think IP is wonderful and should be maintained, but there are just some lines that shouldn’t be crossed. Like this*:
If you mess with the Olympics trademark, a cloud of legal hurt will descend on you faster than Tyson Gay in the Men’s 100 meters. Case in point: The U.S. Olympic Committee has sent a cease and desist letter to a knitting-based social network for hosting a knitting “olympics.” Now, knitters are in revolt.
2012 was to be the third year that the knitting social network Ravelry—yes, this exists and is surprisingly popular—hosted a “Ravelympics,” a knitting competition for users that includes events like an “afghan marathon,” and “scarf hockey.” Knitters were supposed to compete in their events while watching the actual Games on TV.
And why, exactly, did Ravelry need to stop? According to the letter the United States Olympic Committee sent:
The athletes of Team USA have usually spent the better part of their entire lives training for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them. For many, the Olympics represent the pinnacle of their sporting career. Over more than a century, the Olympic Games have brought athletes around the world together to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them.
We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.
If you’re an Olympic athlete training for London, I will bet you a thousand dollars you haven’t even heard of the Ravelrympics unless a friend or family member is a Ravelry member. And if you have, and you feel slighted by knitters participating in something modeled somewhat after your tough, enduring challenges, then you are a mammoth pussy who needs to grow some testicles. Also, you should be kicked off the US Olympics team, because you’re a very bad example for America. Or something.
Honestly, how the “Ravelrympics” denigrates the US Olympics team is something beyond my comprehension. People do this crap all the time. We have casual “olympics” at the bar when we eat chicken wings and drink beer; does that denigrate the US Olympics Committee or its athletes? Come on, grow a spine.
I’m not a lawyer, but what I think this is a product of is the BS doctrine in America where you have to actively fight these battles in order to retain your copyright. It’s a “use it or lose it” mentality. From what I understand, Japan doesn’t have anything like that, which means that fan made stuff gets produced all the time, they sell it for money, and you know what? No one blows a gasket. Everything is fine. Maybe we should import that from Japan and not worry about these things.
Oh, and the folks who sent this out should grow up and stop being babies. For real.
Note 1: I have family members on Ravelry, so that’s what piqued my interest. Also, it is really, really stupid.
Note 2: I don’t normally link to Gawker, since its run by pretentious totalitarian jerks, but hey, when their content is interesting…