Digital

What?!? Now we’re not even allowed to link to the Olympics website?

We’ve heard a lot about how the Olympics Games will take over London in the past few weeks: missile launchers on rooftops, non-approved chips banned from the Olympic site, protest threatened, Twitter accounts censored. But we must admit we hadn’t noticed the Olympic organisers attempts to change the way the entire internet works. Our attention has been drawn to the terms of use of the London 2012 website, which make it very clear under what circumstances you’re allowed link to the site:

  1. Links to the Site. You may create your own link to the Site, provided that your link is in a text-only format. You may not use any link to the Site as a method of creating an unauthorised association between an organisation, business, goods or services and London 2012, and agree that no such link shall portray us or any other official London 2012 organisations (or our or their activities, products or services) in a false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner. The use of our logo or any other Olympic or London 2012 Mark(s) as a link to the Site is not permitted. View our guidelines on Use of the Games’ Marks.

Got that? You’re only allowed link to the official site of the Olympics if you’re going to say nice things about the Olympics.

This obviously presents a problem. I really, really want to say that this is one of the silliest things I’ve read in my entire life, and that it demonstrates a level of control freakery that even the most hardened Olympisceptic could not have imagined. But the problem with that is that I’d be breaking the rules by linking to the page containing this information so that you could read it for yourself.

So I’m not going to say that. I’m going to say that this is a brilliant piece of brand management that’s not at all open to ridicule and scorn, and that’s it’s extremely unlikely that anyone would ever make a joke about this rule by linking to the Olympic site with language that could be “false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable”.

Here’s the link to the eminently sensible Terms of Use

Padraig Reidy is News Editor at Index on Censorship

Sport on Trial

More London 2012

Olympic organisers shut down “Space hijackers” protest Twitter account

In a league of its own

Plus read more on Sport v human rights in Index on Censorship magazine’s Sports issue

 

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145 Comments

  1. Posted 13Jul12 at 3:51 pm | Permalink
    CheShA

    How can this possibly work, legally speaking? The terms of use of the site only apply to someone /using the site/. By linking TO the site you’re not “using the site”, and have no implicit or explicit agreement to comply with the terms.

  2. Posted 13Jul12 at 4:01 pm | Permalink
    CheShA

    If I use my link shortener to create a link called “http://linkshortener.com/StupidC__ts” that points to the Olympics site, then post that link on Twitter, who is in breach? It’s Twitter who are hosting & making public the http hyperlink, while my website is doing the translation without displaying any link.

    Time for some experimenting.

  3. Posted 13Jul12 at 4:08 pm | Permalink
    Tom Evans

    As far as I know there is no legal basis for refusing permission to link to your website. It would be like putting up a poster in public and refusing people permission to look at it.

    Falesly claiming any kind of association is certainly covered separately by the Olympics legislation, but it does not extend to restricting criticism or comment.

    Therefore, anything like this can only be a request rather than a rule.

  4. Posted 13Jul12 at 4:33 pm | Permalink
    Padraig Reidy

    This is the baffling thing. How do they think they can enforce this? Do they even think they can enforce it?

  5. Posted 13Jul12 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Then again, we used to think you couldn’t be extradited to the US for publishing a URL, either… http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jul/06/richard-odwyer-extradition-opposed-majority

  6. Posted 13Jul12 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    How do they think they can enforce this? Do they even think they can enforce it?”

    I have no doubt that they do, by virtue of their corporate might. You know this as well as I do, Padraig, so stop being disingenuous.

    All it takes for LOCOG to silence a less mighty critic is to complain to the company hosting the offending site, and if necessary issue a take-down notice on legal letterhead. As with libel threats, this is normally sufficient to gain the desired result.

  7. Posted 13Jul12 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps if we all write rude words in our comments Google will eventually associate them with this link ;) Possibly we all have to write the same rude word though…

  8. Posted 13Jul12 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    @ JO Brodie.

    You mean the 2012 version of the Santorum solution

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campaign_for_%22santorum%22_neologism

  9. Posted 13Jul12 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Testing their enforcement of this by adding a link to http://blog.duncanhall.net/ – can you spot it?

  10. Posted 13Jul12 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    We’re in! Thanks for the tip. I’ll let you know if we get a cease and desist.

  11. Posted 13Jul12 at 8:29 pm | Permalink
    guess

    I would refer to this as the Pinterest clause.

  12. Posted 13Jul12 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Well, what can I say :) If they would like to point me in the direction of a law that prohibits my linking to their website in what manner i choose ( as long as it’s not too naughty, i guess} then please do so.. The Indian SEO chaps love building a 1000 links for 50p …

  13. Posted 13Jul12 at 8:37 pm | Permalink
    m

    As far as I remember the Athens 2004 games had the same policy.

  14. Posted 13Jul12 at 9:01 pm | Permalink
    chris bizzaro

    i am going to post pic/vid links of every olympic story i can find and say unkind things. find me first. then scold me strongly about being nice on the interwebz. then cry to obama. then suck it. o wait, i ahvnt cared about the olympics since 1980 winter ice hockey. so ur lucky !

  15. Posted 13Jul12 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Wimbledon did the same thing. When a couple of ladies’ players showed unsportsmanlike behavior by leaving the court without an opponent, I tweeted about it only to realize (twice, two different incidents) that I had been removed as a Wimbledon follower.

  16. Posted 13Jul12 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    It’s a great shame there isn’t a link to the official fek oOoOoff Coke-murder games in the article ;oJ Even greater shame that I Love athletics & competitive sports. I don’t like wasting over £12bn to clean up other peoples shit, cow tow to nazi’s, earn them a fortune and leave them Owning even more of anything. – supported by Our armed police & Navy. – here have some of this >> :o D http://www.spacehijackers.co.uk/
    http://www.uchooze.com uCHOOZE Gives over 10%
    Could You?

  17. Posted 14Jul12 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    They have no problem with you having a text link , they don’t want you to have an image linking to site as it will resemble and advert or an affiliation. You will find a majority of the bigger internet service providers (such as Amazon have the same policy).

    Otherwise you could have the BNP website with a ‘London Olympics’ logo linked to the site and a committee with no powers to act.

  18. Posted 14Jul12 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Why would you want to link to them anyway? It is a corrupt organization and it’s primary purpose is for generating profits.

  19. Posted 14Jul12 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Hi Padraig,
    I translated this piece into German, hope you don’t mind?
    Regards, Vera

  20. Posted 14Jul12 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    You can hold most legalese up to ridicule. It’s pretty obvious what the intention is and I don’t think it’s to stop fair comment by individuals or journalists, critical or otherwise, on the Olympics.

    I will start to worry if and when any attempt is made to prevent such free speech and if the courts uphold it. Unlikely.

  21. Posted 14Jul12 at 12:19 pm | Permalink
    James P

    I really, really hope that these pillocks over-reach themselves and get slammed in court with a huge legal bill. FWIW, I am even less likely to follow the Olympics (can I use that word?) now than previously.

    Isn’t it time the PM (the Queen, even) simply announced that common-sense will prevail and that all these idiotic restrictions will henceforth be null and void?

  22. Posted 14Jul12 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Paul Seligman
    >> I don’t think it’s to stop fair comment by individuals or journalists, critical or otherwise, on the Olympics. <<
    Yes, it -IS- Paul… that's the only purpose and protestors & websites (Spacehijackers twitter) have ALREADY been arrested, closed down, bashed with illegal prosecutions & threatened with arrest if they exercise their RIGHT to FREE SPEECH & PEACEFUL PROTEST.

    You wait, the Armed Police we pay for with Our Taxes are way too close to opening fire for my liking. We don't do this in the UK because Cash and Dictators do not rule this land – WE DO.

    http://electro-denizen.hubpages.com/hub/10-Reasons-to-be-Dubious-about-the-2012-Olympics
    http://www.spacehijackers.co.uk/
    http://www.uchooze.com uCHOOZE Gives over 10%
    Could You?

  23. Posted 14Jul12 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    always i used to read smaller posts that also clear their motive, and that is also
    happening with this post which I am reading at this time.

  24. Posted 16Jul12 at 1:47 am | Permalink
    Drew

    http://www.london2012.com/ FUCK THIS WEBSITE AND THE OLYMPICS IN GENERAL. Ohhh, what.

  25. Posted 16Jul12 at 11:03 am | Permalink
    pmcc

    It only says that the link shall not portray, yadda, yadda, it says nothing about the context or surrounding text, so <a href="www.olypicwebstiething.com">Tossers</a> would not be ok, but Tossers, can be found <a href="www.olypicwebstiething.com">here</a> would be ok.

  26. Posted 16Jul12 at 5:07 pm | Permalink
    kitten

    Stop wasting your creative time and energy on this. Being linked up is an honor (think about other sites you link), this site has no honor, so UN-Link the cesspool organization.

    Do like the comics do, create your own art and then talk smack about them. With all these wars and banksters and corrupt government officials, there’s plenty more important things to protest than an honor-less, co-opted by fascist psychos organization, if something goes bad there, then it’s only more fire backing your argument of corruption which your cartoons point the finger at. Draw pictures of Rothchild and add your spiel.

    WIN THE MINDS OF THE PEOPLE
    WIN BACK FREEDOM

    Don’t play in the mud of their rigged, secret, copyright war. It’s their game, their chessboard, they WROTE the rules. Just like some master psychopath lawyer wrote those terms of use. Think pinky and the brain, they are probably smarter than a box of ball bearings at this point. And they probably make sure there’s still two dozen balls in the box each night.

    If you love the Olympics (I don’t see how at this point) You should write their psychopath promotions and present your idea, and ask that their lawyers grant permission, or even offer to grease their palm for use of their art. If they are on your side, and you are competent enough to keep facts straight, and promote them in a professional and beneficial, there probably won’t be a problem. The only thing I would warn you is if someone defaced your website. That could be a problem for you and the psychopaths, who love to EAT their own.

  27. Posted 16Jul12 at 5:12 pm | Permalink
    kitten

    Comics continued: Find out who is behind all the stuff that angers you and make comics about them.

    Who put the missiles there. Name the name.
    Who screwed up security. Name the name.

  28. Posted 16Jul12 at 5:15 pm | Permalink
    kitten

    You could also post the IP and netblock CIDR for people to blacklist that horrible worm ridden website. You know? a few Safeweb pings (nudge nudge hint hint)

    There’s other games to play. Just make sure YOU are making the rules when you play. If you play their game, you will lose.

  29. Posted 16Jul12 at 5:18 pm | Permalink
    kitten

    Much love to my friends, “The UK people” I know your government is out of control and you can’t do anything about it yet. We have the same problem over here. It doesn’t mean WE have to fight too. It’s our governments, not us.

    Peace.

  30. Posted 16Jul12 at 5:19 pm | Permalink
    Gregg

    This is all about Free Speech. After all the gov’t (and their corporate cronies) censor the media and ban books like “America Deceived II”.
    Last link of “America Deceived II” before it is completely censored:
    http://www.amazon.com/America-Deceived-II-Possession-interrogation/dp/1450257437

  31. Posted 16Jul12 at 5:25 pm | Permalink
    thad

    the nazi burned books so people wouldent learn more then they wanted them to.the zionists are the zi in nazi and computers are books with no paper. they dont want you to know anything they dont want you to know. the security is from israel, they are the zionist that was moved there from germany in 1948 so does that help you figure anything out.

  32. Posted 16Jul12 at 6:44 pm | Permalink
    Golaith

    BOYCOTT these control freak, fear-mongering Olympics. These are not Olympians, they are fringe case, nutball Israel fanatics. F these a-holes, I won’t watch ONE SECOND of this TRASH.

  33. Posted 17Jul12 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    And then… THIS SITE – (having cleared them thru ‘Moderation’) censored my posts.
    Would you like to tell me why?
    Or is the Free Speech Blog going to censor this too?

    illumicon@hotmail.co.uk

  34. Posted 17Jul12 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    I think I shall buy http://www.CensoredIndexonSelfWanking.org for $2 and give it to you guys…

    oh and the 2012 Olympics is The most corrupt piece of industrial fukkery, run by murderers and arms-dealers. But you won’t have any more detail on that, as IOC <> http://www.london2012.com

  35. Posted 17Jul12 at 2:17 am | Permalink
    Tatiana Covington

    Who cares? It’s all just an overgrown track-and-field meet with delusions of grandeur.

  36. Posted 17Jul12 at 9:53 am | Permalink
    jokerdj

    if millions just say bad things that are true, what can they do… DISOBEY

  37. Posted 17Jul12 at 11:17 am | Permalink
    ben franklin (pre-death)

    Use a redirected link or route the link through a mirror site/page. This way the link isn’t directed to the Olympic website, but to another page which automatically redirects the user to the Olympic website.

    As for “text only”, I would think everyone should come up with their own satirical versions of the Olympic rings/2012 logo and use that as a link to a redirecting page. Fuck ‘em I says. And I’s BF.

  38. Posted 17Jul12 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
    Politically Incorrect

    I can’t wait for more things to go wrong to give us all a good laugh.Who do the Olympics organisers think they are?

  39. Posted 18Jul12 at 7:14 am | Permalink
    Ken

    As all this nonsense (including the web site) is funded in a large way by taxes taken from me using the threat of force, then I consider myself to be an official sponsor of the Olympics.
    I have put a link to the site using their logo on my web site and am awaiting a letter :)
    Bring it on.

  40. Posted 20Jul12 at 2:27 am | Permalink

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  42. Posted 30Jul12 at 11:52 am | Permalink
    Mark Bridgeman

    How can a website have any control over incoming links? Isn’t that the whole point of the internet that popular sites naturally generate incoming links. Links on webpages serves as signposts to something useful/relevent. Trust LOCOG to actually want to break the internet. We must refuse to tolerate this because it will only end when every site on earth has the right not to accept incoming links. Then we have no internet and there will be no freedom to browse from site to site…

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47 Trackbacks

  1. [...] this is certainly an interesting bit of information. According to Indexoncensorship, the Olympics have very strict policies on how you can link to their Internet Website [...]

  2. [...] to Free Speech Blog, anyone wanting to link to the official Olympics site on their blogs will have to agree to these [...]

  3. [...] you speak entirely positively about its entirety.  You can find the background to this story here.  It makes fascinating reading.  And if I wasn’t a fair-minded soul, and as a way of [...]

  4. [...] vía fsb, ds] Más [...]

  5. By That’s it. Screw the Olympics on 14Jul12 at 9:00 am

    [...] Now this… You are not even allowed to post a link to their website unless… Links to the Site. You may create your own link to the Site, provided that your link is in a text-only format. You may not use any link to the Site as a method of creating an unauthorised association between an organisation, business, goods or services and London 2012, and agree that no such link shall portray us or any other official London 2012 organisations (or our or their activities, products or services) in a false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner. The use of our logo or any other Olympic or London 2012 Mark(s) as a link to the Site is not permitted. View our guidelines on Use of the Games’ Marks. [...]

  6. [...] Übersetzung eines Texts von Padraig Reidy [...]

  7. [...] to the official Olympic website; so instead, I’ll point you towards an excellent blog post by Padraig Reidy that highlights yet another grotesque attempt by the organisers, in collusion with our rulers, to [...]

  8. [...] am grateful to the Index on Censorship, which has quickly discovered something higher and stronger in the area of joyous freedom than many [...]

  9. [...] most amused/despaired me, though, was learning that we are only allowed to link to the London 2012 website provided that… no such link shall [...]

  10. [...] am grateful to the Index on Censorship, which has quickly discovered something higher and stronger in the area of joyous freedom than many [...]

  11. [...] It’s those last words that have caught people’s attention. “Hang on! Are LOCOG seriously saying that you can’t link to their site if you say nasty things about them? That’s censorship!” [...]

  12. [...] am grateful to the Index on Censorship, which has quickly discovered something higher and stronger in the area of joyous freedom than many [...]

  13. [...] am grateful to the Index on Censorship, which has quickly discovered something higher and stronger in the area of joyous freedom than many [...]

  14. [...] article from  [...]

  15. [...] the London Olympics think they have the right to prevent you from linking to their site unless you agree not to say anything derogative about them. Hey, idiots, this is a link to your site — and we’re definitely disparaging [...]

  16. [...] Free Speech Blog writes about this idiotic policy in the terms of use of the London 2012 website: You may not use [...]

  17. [...] Mühe, die eher sperrigen Nutzungsbestimmungen zu lesen, hat sich übrigens das Blog The Index on Censorship gemacht – die sich es sich natürlich nicht nehmen ließen, nicht nur die London2012-Website, [...]

  18. [...] Source : Free Speech Blog [...]

  19. [...] nur Raketenabwehr übrigens: Die Organisatoren der Spiele wehren sich auch gegen Verunglimpfung: In Punkt 5 der Nutzungsbedingungen von London2012.com heißt es, gönnerhaft: Ja, den [...]

  20. [...] emphasis) That excerpt comes via the excellent Index on Censorship and its prime mover Padraig Reidy. IoC, that’s Index on Censosrhip not the nastily unpleasant [...]

  21. By Olimpics is for benders on 16Jul12 at 12:16 pm

    [...] was recently directed to this post on the free speech blog which highlights the Olympics organisers’ attempts to control how people link to their [...]

  22. [...] dislike about the Olympics. You then have the freedom of speech issues – relating to the stupid, petty and unenforceable rules around linking to websites to ones about what amounts of food and drink you can bring into venues. (i.e. very little so [...]

  23. [...] seien, fragt CNet. Und “Carta” nimmt es mit viel Ironie. Das Blog “Index of Cencorship” (Verzeichnis der Zensur) gehört zu den ersten, die über den Angriff auf die [...]

  24. [...] London 2012 Olympics fails at Internet (indexoncensorship.org) [...]

  25. [...] that don’t want to read the terms and conditions in full, I have set out a commentary (not a critque) on the key terms [...]

  26. [...] What?!? Now we’re not even allowed to link to the Olympics website? | THE FREE SPEECH BLOG As far as I know there is no legal basis for refusing permission to link to your website. It would be like putting up a poster in public and refusing people permission to look at it. Falesly claiming … [...]

  27. [...] of the 2012 London Olympic Games are restricting links to their website and use of their logo if user content portrays the Games in an “objectionable [...]

  28. [...] to Modern Life (Profile Books) and The Great Escape (Simon & Schuster) More London 2012What?!? Now we’re not even allowed to link to the Olympics website?Olympic organisers shut down “Space hijackers” protest Twitter accountIn a league of its [...]

  29. [...] coordinator at EFF. She tweets at @ByRebeccaBowe. More London 2012:- Locog: The ultimate bad sport- What?!? Now we’re not even allowed to link to the Olympics website?- Olympic organisers shut down “Space hijackers” protest Twitter account- In a league of [...]

  30. [...] One of the main reasons for emulating the anhedonic donkey is there are just so many reasons why the Olympics might make you feel grumpy: the London focus; the cost to the taxpayer; the militarisation; the sponsors (“some of the worst corporations in the world“; the stuff about brand protection – whether or not true; and the exhortation only to write nice things about the Olympic website. [...]

  31. [...] The terms and conditions on London 2012′s own website also generated a lot of debate after it ….’  So there, you can talk badly if you so want about the games, but you cannot point people that visit your site to the corporate clean London 2012 site.  Interesting guidance that is an example of how to start an ‘online wildfire.’ [...]

  32. [...] London 2012 Olympics fails at Internet (indexoncensorship.org) [...]

  33. [...] Oddbins’ managing director Ayo Akintola has fiercely stated that non sponsors, in the run up to the Games, have been treated like “beggars on the gilded streets of the Olympic movement”. However, he quite rightly mentions that he’s expecting some backlash from LOCOG as a result of the campaign, which last week published rules that no one may link to the London 2012 site in a “false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner.” [...]

  34. [...] Olympic-themed decorations and products – as well the rule that online articles and blog posts may not link to the official 2012 site if they’re critical of the games, the decision to make the official [...]

  35. [...] Cottrell Boyce acknowledged the dystopian aspect of IOC and LOCOG, but “in the heart of it, Danny had built some kind of Utopia, a society run on [...]

  36. [...] Plus caricatural encore, il n’est permis de faire un lien hypertexte vers le site des JO 2012 que si l’on dit des choses positives à leurs propos ! Même Barack Obama et Mitt Romney ont été affectés par la police du langage du CIO, qui a exigé [...]

  37. [...] most absurd restriction can be found on the official Olympics home page, in a completely unenforceable section of its terms of use, saying Internet users can't even link to their site unless they agree not to portray the Olympics [...]

  38. [...] links towards the website of the Olympic Games 2012 are only allowed if you’re saying positive things about them! Even Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been affected by the IOC language police, who [...]

  39. [...] Deriving towards censorship; the IOC’s already done that. The English blog Free Speech reports that the Twitter accounts of activists protesting against the way the games are managed were suspended following requests sent to Twitter, because they contained the words “Olympic Games 2012″. Exceptional amounts of police forces were dispatched to control protests and patrol over 90 zones. Even more ridiculous: you may only link to the official website if you only say nice things about them! [...]

  40. [...] Plus caricatural encore, il n’est permis de faire un lien hypertexte vers le site des JO 2012 que si l’on dit des choses positives à leurs propos ! Même Barack Obama et Mitt Romney ont été affectés par la police du langage du CIO, qui a [...]

  41. [...] προς την ιστοσελίδα της Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων του 2012 ακόμα και αν λένε θετικά πράγματα γι ‘αυτούς! Ακόμη και ο Μπαράκ Ομπάμα και ο Mitt Romney έχουν [...]

  42. [...] 런던 올림픽 게임의 담당자들은 만약 이용자들의 콘텐츠가 올림픽에 대해 “이의가 제기될 수 있는 방식”으로 표현되었다면,그들의 웹 사이트를 링크하는 행위와 런던 올림픽 로고를 사용하는 것을 제한하기로 했다. [...]

  43. [...] of the 2012 London Olympic Games are restricting links to their website and use of their logo if user content portrays the Games in an “objectionable [...]

  44. [...] like this, then. Because that worked so [...]

  45. [...] http://blog.indexoncensorship.org/2012/07/13/london-2012-olympics-fails-internet/ [...]

  46. [...] di esclusione. Peggio ancora, non è permesso fare un link verso il sito dei Giochi Olimpici 2012 a meno che non si dicano cose positive! Anche Barak Obama e Mitt Romney sono stati colpiti dalla politica del linguaggio del CIO, che ha [...]

  47. By Winning? Not yet. | Glynsky and Pete on 27Jul13 at 9:25 pm

    [...] You are not allowed to link to Olympic site if your content is critical [...]

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