The IOC is acting increasingly poorly, in my opinion.
Stephen Pate, a PEI blogger, wrote “Anger is mounting against IOC in death of luger” on the NJN Network, and since posting it on Thursday, he’s received a take-down letter from the lawyers of the IOC. Their issue is that he embedded a video of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili’s fatal crash. He doesn’t claim ownership of the clip, but he does claim the right to embed it under the fair dealing provision of the Canadian Copyright Act.
It’s funny because on February 1, I wrote about fair dealing, and although I’m no lawyer, it seems to me that Pate’s use of the clip is a textbook example of it. The IOC claims absolute ownership of the clip, but Pate did not take it down. Good on him! I look forward to seeing how this all unfolds.
As an aside, many comments on the CBC story reporting this issue have brought up that posting the clip is in bad taste. This may or may not be true, depending on your feelings, but it’s not the issue. The IOC is trying to make it part of the issue as they claim ownership and protecting the athlete’s family as the reasons for their demand. If they were so concerned about the family, they would restrict news organizations from broadcasting the clip, which they have not done, and they would not have blamed Kumaritashvili himself for the accident. Make no mistake, this is not about the family. This is about control, and control is about money.
The IOC has received special treatment in Canada, above and beyond trademark law. For example, they’ve trademarked the phrase, “With Glowing Hearts” which is a line from the Canadian national anthem. I’m still fuming at the government for allowing them to do this. Now they’re ignoring the Copyright Act because it’s advantageous for them to do so. They certainly don’t ignore it when it’s to someone else’s advantage.
As for myself, I haven’t seen the clip and I do not want to. I’ll go out of my way to avoid seeing it. At the same time however, I’m firmly believe in Pate’s right to use the video under the fair dealing provision.
The first stated goal of the IOC, according to the Olympic charter is:
To encourage and support the promotion of ethics in sport as well as education of youth through sport and to dedicate its efforts to ensuring that, in sport, the spirit of fair play prevails and violence is banned
They may be doing this in sport, but I otherwise see them lacking in ethics and fairness.