Locog forces charity fundraiser to ditch Olympics theme
Greentop Community Circus in Sheffield has been forced to abandon the Olympic theme of its forthcoming fundraising cabaret event after being contacted by the Olympic organising committee.
The circus arts charity had planned to mark the Games by theming its monthly Greentop Cabaret fundraiser as an Olympics Cabaret, but had to change it to the Sports Day Cabaret after Locog got in touch.
The Greentop Youth Circus had also chosen the Olympics as the theme of its end-of-year show but the children will now have to rethink their plans.
The email from Locog said the circus was benefiting from an “unauthorised association” and had flouted the rules of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006. The words ‘Olympic’ and ‘Paralympic’ are copyrighted.
Coincidentally, Locog delivered the news to the charity on the same day that the Olympic torch came to Sheffield.
Megan Flynn, who joined the charity in June as venue director with responsibility for events, said: “I was really looking forward to celebrating the Olympics, instead on the day the torch came to Sheffield I spent a good part of the day erasing all mention of them.”
James Harkness, manager of Greentop’s events, said: “We are happy to clarify that Greentop Circus is not an official sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and that neither the charity, nor any of the themed acts and performers on our website, are in any way connected to the Olympics.”
The case has echoes of the case of Staffordshire florist Lisa Cross, who was ordered to remove her window display featuring the Olympic rings made from coloured tissue paper.
'The law stinks'
Trademark attorney Mat Healey, from Bates Wells and Braithwaite, is scathing about the disproportionate powers given to the Olympic authorities in the Act.
“I think the law stinks,” he told civilsociety.co.uk. “If they had just said something like, ‘you must not pass yourself off as an official sponsor or claim to be economically connected to the Olympics when you are not’, that would have been fine.
But instead, he said, the Act provides a list of examples of infringements that is not prescriptive, enabling Locog to interpret the law however it sees fit.
“It’s worked a treat for them,” Healey said. “I am not aware of any other charities that have broken the rules because I suspect what has happened is that Locog have managed to scare everyone by doing such a good job of publicising these minor cases, like the florist.
“Everyone knows that you can’t do anything Olympic-related," Healey said.
“So much for the Games being inclusive and improving access to sport and benefiting local communities and local businesses – it’s had the exact opposite effect.”
This article was taken from www.civilsociety.co.uk – http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/fundraising/news/content/12975/