I'm making the same plea to the International Olympic Committee that I made to the Professional Golf Association: The next time you want to ban a technology, or in the case of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), ban natural technology-related behaviors, call me. The sporting super powers and networks need to understand (1) the role social media plays in promoting their events and (2) that creating unenforceable rules is expensive and damaging (if you tell someone no often enough, but there is no follow-through, what happens?)

Instead of unenforceable bans, help to create uses that are appropriate.

Olympic rings
Courtesy The Department of Culture, Media, and Sport


Here is the language on the ticket's terms and conditions page:

19.6.3 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, and may not exploit images, video and/or sound recordings for commercial purposes under any circumstances, whether on the internet or otherwise, or make them available to third parties for commercial purposes.

From the International Business Times:

LOCOG spokesman Tim Potter told IBTimes UK: "Spectators are free to upload images and video to their social media channels as they please," although he later added that, while videos of you and your friends at Olympic venues is fine, footage shot of sports taking place will be removed.

With regard to personal blogs, we were told that it is "a grey area" and that while ticket holders can upload photos to blogs, if visitors are deemed to be taking advantage and uploading professional quality images to a photography site which has "tens of thousands of subscribers", then LOCOG will take action.

The article notes that this policy is counter to the stated ticket rules, but that the wording will not be changed.

We are also told that there are Brand Patrol Officers who will track videos on YouTube, and that users are also expected to help in enforcement.

The arguments focus on athlete privacy (ticket holders give up all rights to their personal images in perpetuity according to ticket rule 19.6.2) and responsibility to their network contacts. NBC at least seems to be supporting social media even to the extent that they a partnering with Storify... and the LOCOG has an official hashtag page.

Rather than this confused set of expectations, I would suggest interesting, creative graphics around what is good and what is bad, and help people see the likely outcomes of their behaviors. If you don't want athletes publishing embarrassing images from inside the Olympic Village, help them envision the effects. There won't be 100% compliance, but there will be learning and more respect.

As to individuals competing with network images of the sporting events, that horse has certainly left the barn. Thank you beninzgame for the video of some of the Men's Archery competition. I suspect the cool arrow splitting shot shown on YouTube will be a trigger for people to take a look at the full coverage and give archery an unexpected boost, rather than damage commercial coverage of archery.

These technologies and our use are still new. Major events are an opportunity to gain value from millions of cameras being on site. How can we find the gold rather than digging for dirt?

Additional Background