The IOC Joins the DMCA Censorship Club: “The International Olympic Committee is no stranger to overzealous protection of what they perceive to be their intellectual property. We’ve covered their ridiculous attempts to change British law to ‘protect’ the terms ‘Olympics’ and ‘2012’ (the year London hosts the summer games). It seems the folks at the IOC want to control all aspects of their sporting event, even how people discuss it. Knowing this, and the ways in which the DMCA has been abused time and time again, it was hardly surprising when the IOC sent a take-down notice to YouTube for a video posted by Students for a Free Tibet.
The video, which showed a pro-Tibet candle-light vigil in New York City and images from the March protests in Tibet, was dutifully pulled by YouTube. However, it was unclear what infringement the IOC was claiming. Although their famous interlocking rings were briefly shown, that would seem to be a trademark, not covered by the DMCA. Even if they claimed the rings were copyrighted creative content, their creation in 1913 places them firmly in the public domain (on copyright, the trademark remains — but the DMCA isn’t for trademark). Luckily after a number of sites questioned the action, the IOC withdrew their complaint. This remains troubling, though. The DMCA was not meant to silence legitimate speech, but the number of times litigants have suppressed content they don’t like is staggering. This case benefits from external media attention due to existing hot-button political issues, but not all censored YouTube videos are so lucky and, undoubtedly, bogus DMCA requests have censored videos which result not in blogosphere outrage, but silenced expression.