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London 2012 Website Restrictions

These are my own views and not necessarily those of my employer. I am not a lawyer.

Yikes, just… yikes.

They start off with the good old “by using this site, you agree to our terms”, which always feels a bit sneaky when you have to read the site to read their terms, ah well.

There’s a couple of really nasty bits to follow. The first is in clause 5. “Linking Policy”, they say you can’t link to their site with an image. There’s a list of other ways you can’t link to them, “false and misleading” well… that’s sort of reasonable, “derogatory” … er, that’s not, and … “otherwise objectionable” is so darn vague that they can just claim a link breaks their policy if they object to it.

For example if I was to create the following link; The London 2012 Olympic Games appear morally bankrupt and the organisers seem incompetent. Then that would certainly break their terms of use. It’s certainly derogatory, but I don’t believe that’s illegal.

That’s just the warm up to clause 6(v); in which they retain the right to buy any “User Generated Content” you upload. From what I can tell, they tell you how much they think is reasonable, and if you don’t think it’s reasonable you have to prove some other organisation is willing to pay more and prove it, at which point they have 30 days to choose to buy it on the same terms.

Basically, they can decide your amazing photo is worth £2 and buy the rights from you. You agreed to this by uploading it to their site.

In summary, if you generally apply a creative commons license to things you produce online, you should read think twice before uploading ANYTHING to the website.

Normally I’d be inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt, and just assume that it’s lawyers being zealous and they won’t use the license against people, but the games have demonstrated impressive proactivity in “protecting their interests”, so we have to assume they’ll have no mercy in this matter either.


I’ve given it some thought and looking at

(1) you will give us written notice by email setting out the proposed terms of any bona fide third-party offer to acquire any exclusive rights in such UGC, (2) we shall have a 30-day period in which to acquire the same on the same terms

If this bites anybody, I will  (on request) make a bona fide third-party offer to you ;

I (Christopher Gutteridge, private UK citizen) will offer to acquire exclusive rights to your olypmic UGC (user, for which I will pay *nothing* (£0.00, $0.00) and I will place the work in question into the public domain or license it under a creative commons license of your choice (with the attribution to the creator of the work, not me). The London2012 website then has 30 days to acquire your content on the same terms. If I aquire your rights, you will be expected to upload the content to a suitable website (Flikr, YouTube, or one of your choice).

Please contact me if this is of use to you.

Posted in Terms and Conditions.

5 Responses

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  1. Alex Bilbie says

    This is LOCOG’s official marketing strategy

  2. Russ Ferriday says

    Nice little poke in the eye for London 2012.

    Watch closely for new terms to be issued.

  3. Rikki says

    Chris, you are a genius. Your third party offer is extremely clever. I hope locog are scuppered by this, just so the harsh nature of these terms become a public issue.

    Now to the terms relating to linking. How on earth can a website claim it has any control over how you link to it? This is a founding principle of the web: links are stored in the page and as such are under the control of the author!

  4. Christopher Gutteridge says

    Alex; it took me 60 seconds to guess that vid was a joke, and another 30 to realise it’s an actress I know from many things.

    Russ; If they update their terms then it proves further the ickiness. We should start protesting in the next 3 countries now to give their people enough time to trounce the worst of this crap and try to limit the olympics to sports and sports coverage.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Whose Games is it Anyway? | David Millard linked to this post on July 17, 2012

    […] then this week our own web team drew my attention to the draconian (and potentially unenforceable) rules around the olympic website itself. Rules which not only assert legal and commercial controls on all content shared by the site, but […]

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