Monday, April 30, 2012

Blogging the Olympics - or not?

This summer is of course the Olympics and I have a couple of tickets to the sailing.

It will be great to see the world's best sailors compete together on home waters (and hopefully see blighty win a few more golds) and then blog about it afterwards - or so I thought.

Apparently the following warning is being printed on all Olympic tickets:

"Images, video and sound recordings of the Games taken by a Ticket Holder cannot be used for any purpose other than for private and domestic purposes and a Ticket Holder may not license, broadcast or publish video and/or sound recordings, including on social networking websites and the Internet more generally."

Wow - that's really restrictive and backwards looking.

London is a tech centre, home of start-ups & media friendly, and the mobile operators are already boasting how much 3G coverage the Olympic site will have (and reminding everyone that Beijing only had 2G) explicitly to support Facebook and blog updates.

There have already been signs of back pedalling with Olympic organisers admitting that:

"The internet has changed the world and we’re not going to be silly. But the reality is that we live in an Internet world where Facebook downloads and uploads are happening every day of the week and there’s not much we can do about it."

Anyhow I'm going to go ahead on the grounds that reading the restrictions with a fine tooth comb the issue is mostly with sound and video while for photography it simply mustn't be commercial.

As you might have noticed this blog is advert and hence revenue free so there'll be no commercial gain, but it does seem a bit ridiculous.

This is meant to be the big world-coming-together-unifying event but we're not meant to communicate about it.

That's just crazy.


Tillerman said...

Yeah, I read somewhere else that the organizers of the London Olympics are doing their best to keep it a secret.

Actually, I think the article I read was mainly about the restrictions on what the athletes can report on social media. Apparently the sponsors are scared shitless that some medal winner might reveal that they eat something else for breakfast than the Official Cocoa Flavored Snap Crackle and Pop Cereal of the 2012 Olympics.

O Docker said...

Very appropriate typo, JP. I think back peddling is just what the organizers are worried about. Since the Olympics are now all about money (shock and horrors), and TV networks pay handsomely for 'exclusive' broadcast rights, the organizers are going through the motions of appearing to protect those contracts.

But as the organizers sheepishly admit, the genie is long out of the bottle. Anyone with a cellphone can now do live streaming from their seat straight to the internet.

I wouldn't be surprised if our favorite correspondent from Queensland Community Broadcasting isn't planning to do just that.

Duncan said...

I wonder how long it will be until the two lines blur where instead of just getting a slightly blurry video anyone can broadcast full hd..

Then clauses like this will be pretty academic.

What is really confusing is surely the rebroadcast of all of those nicely branded Official Cocoa Flavoured Snap Crackle and Pop Cereals to friends and elsewhere benefits sed brand?

Just a thought :)

JP said...

O'Docker: well spotted re. typo - have corrected (had half an eye on the Tarte Tatin in the oven).

Duncan & Tillerman.... or something other than a BigMac for lunch?

Its questionable how much control the organisers have with the sailing as you could set up an HD camera with zoom lens on cliffs by Weymouth and stream the whole thing without having a ticket.

Duncan said...

Not sure it's worth the effort, surely you can just watch it on whichever channel is live broadcasting the event?

That's why it seems strange to say no to social media.. Every photo, video, audio clip is going to be either beneficial to the promo of the olympics or any brand that happens to be caught.

If the person doing so happens to be doing it for commercial gain, there's a good chance they've got a big following. They will also brand aligned to whatever egg and spoon race happens to be happening at the time and so sponsor wins with even more distribution..

JP said...

As O'Docker pointed out its all about protecting exclusivity clauses in contracts and broadcasters protecting the value they gain from large payments to the Olympics organisers

But to make a commercial quality broadcast involves overheads other than just recording races on a DSLR and that would put most off that don't generate income somehow.

If Buff Staysail were to broadcast on Queensland Community TV it would gain viewers (and hence income) from material that had been paid for by another Australian broadcaster who could indeed be unhappy.