BoingBoing.net has the scoop: (I’ve added some links to the relevant material)
Canadian Industry Minister Maxime Bernier recently introduced Bill C-47, the Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act, through which the Vancouver Olympics are guaranteed exclusive public use of the following words: winter, gold, silver, bronze, sponsor, Vancouver, Whistler, 2010, tenth, medals, and games.
It’s amazing how the Olympics have come to symbolize bullying corporate greed; overreaching, violent “security measures;” drug abuse and destruction of public facilities and low-income housing.
Other countries have done similar things for the Olympic Committee but those countries dropped their nonsense after the Olympics ended in their country. Canada plans to drop some of the powers described after 2010. Michael Geist argues that the new powers described in the bill are unnecessary and harmful: trademark law is at the Olympic Committee’s disposal so it’s not clear why C-47 is needed at all, C-47 is potentially harmful to free speech because it provides insufficient and unclear exceptions for criticism, and it is inappropriate to create this form of special power at all. Geist uses the term “protection” instead of “power” as I do here. I think power more accurately describes what’s going on; as Geist points out, last week it was okay to set up a business called “Olympic Pizza” but under C-47 that would not be allowed. Also, Geist explains that C-47’s state seizure power is very broad:
For example, a court can order all goods using the marks to be seized by Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, as if public exposure to non-authorized Olympic goods were a public safety issue.