Are we headed for a future in which people are jailed for “branding crimes”? A special set of laws passed by British Parliament, at the behest of the International Olympic Committee, criminalizes “brand violations” related to sponsors of the London Olympics. It will be illegal for local businesses to publicly display words such as ‘twenty-twelve’, ‘medals’, and ‘London Games’. Athletes are banned from publicly mentioning companies or products that are not sponsors. Crack teams will patrol Olympic Village bathrooms, taping over manufacturers’ logos on soap dispensers and toilets. The Guardian writes:
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With just a little more than three months to go until the opening of the London 2012 Games, attention is increasingly turning to what many legal experts consider to be the most stringent restrictions ever put in place to protect sponsors’ brands and broadcasting rights, affecting every athlete, Olympics ticket holder and business in the UK.
It is certainly very tough legislation,” says Paul Jordan, a marketing specialist at law firm Bristows, which is advising both official sponsors and non-sponsoring businesses on the new laws.