The U.S. Olympic Committee just did something pretty ridiculous and comical, and it’s got a lot of fiber crafters royally pissed off.
This year is the third Ravelympics, an event put on by Ravelry.com during the Olympic Games. The idea is to challenge yourself to start and finish projects during the games, while rooting on your favorite athletes. Participants pick “events” to enter, such as a “sweater triathlon” and many also join teams, such as “Team Tardis.” The 2012 Ravelympics runs from July 27 to August 12.
It’s all in good fun, right? We get to work on fiber crafts and cheer for our favorite Olympic athletes?
Not so, says the United States Olympic Committee.
Ravelry recently received this notice from the General Counsel of the United States Olympic Committee. In essence, it says:
- There’s a law prohibiting unauthorized use of the Olympic symbol (the five rings) or the word “Olympic” and any derivation of it for any commercial purpose or for any competition.
- Ravelry’s use of a derivation of the word “Olympic” in the name for the “Ravelympics” competition “may” constitute trademark infringement, unfair competition and dilution of the trademark. It falsely suggests a connection to the Olympic Movement.
- The use of the derivation “Ravelymics” for a friendly crafting competition “tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games” and is “disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.”
I could try to take this point by point and argue it to death., but that’s no fun. We all know the USOC are stomping around in their big old brand-protection boots and squashing things they don’t need to squash. What I think is more fun is watching the amusing commentary roll in on Twitter. If crafters can make a big issue of this, the USOC may find that “I’m a big-old-brand-ogre” actions of this sort hurt their brand more than a friendly fiber arts competition ever could.