IOC faces backlash for ban on Olympics GIFs

08/08/2016

The International Olympic committee has banned the press from sharing animated GIFs, as the body cracks down on copyright issues during the Rio games.

On Friday the IOC released their rules for news agencies covering the Olympics. Among those rules was a rule about sharing GIFs, vines, and other short video formats:

"The use of Olympic Material transformed into graphic animated formats such as animated GIFs (i.e. GIFV), GFY, WebM, or short video formats such as Vines and others, is expressly prohibited."

The reason for the GIF ban is due to official rights holder NBC, who wants people to watch highlight via the braodcaster's own platfrom, and not on social media feeds.

NBC currently has partnerships with Snapchat and Facebook to show highlights on their network, so those platforms might be more aggressive than usual in issuing takedowns. Twitter might offer a similar resources because of partnerships. But again, this is all after the fact: They can’t respond until someone posts something, and it goes viral enough to get flagged in their system.
The move has sparked critisicm from many internet users, with some branding the crackdown 'unworkable'.

The IOC’s regulations have come under repeated criticism in the buildup to the games, which begin on Friday. The Olympics organizers recently banned any other businesses from using the terms, “summer”, “gold”, “games”, “effort”, “victory”, “Rio” and “2016” in relation to the games.

The IOC isn’t the first sports body to try to clamp down on highlights being shared on social media. England’s Premier League launched a campaign in 2014 to stop the spread of goal highlights being shared on Vine.

Vines are often posted seconds after a goal has been scored. The Premier League argued that broadcasters had paid billions for exclusive rights to the footage and they had to protect their intellectual property.

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