Blogathon 2009: “Legally, we have to refer to you as Catherine December.”

Posted by & filed under Blogathon 2009, Blogosphere, Brands, Canada, Law, Media, News, Politics, Privacy, Vancouver, Web 2.0.

After hearing Dave Olsen talk a bit about the restrictions being applied — in particular, to the “pedestrian corridors” being established here in Vancouver during the Olympics, I’m concerned about the implications for free speech, as well as the potential for these laws to endure after the Olympics have ended.

I’ve been convinced for a long time that the biggest threat to free speech in the 21st century is not, as in past eras, some kind of trend towards authoritarianism, but rather, intellectual property encumbrances. The idea that VANOC can trademark lines from O Canada is appalling to me. It’s bad enough that the Olympics have become so branded and mired in the exclusivity of the brand that they’ve threatened Olympia Pizza in Vancouver’s West End, to say nothing of the actions taken since then.

Thus, I wholeheartedly support the choice to the True North Media House in response to the line trademarked by VANOC.

But I’ve been thinking about situations where The Authorities have confiscated memory cards or deleted photos and so, I’m wondering about technical workarounds to this: I would consider using an EyeFi card in my camera to tether with a 3G phone (say, a jailbroken iPhone or possibly something with reasonable battery life.) to automatically upload my photos to my website or Flickr so that I wasn’t actually storing any pictures, I was posting them live. Short of jamming or Iranian-scale network monitoring and packet inspection, there would really be little anyone could do, assuming the images themselves were legal.

If I take a photo of a poster with the Olympic Rings, is distribution of that photo a trademark or copyright violation? Is my use of the words “Olympic”, “2010”, “Winter”, or “Games” in this post actionable? No, but what if I’m doing so in protest of something involving one or more of those words?

I mean, I don’t seriously consider myself at risk for having the last name “Winters”, or for writing under that name, but it’s so important to explicitly affirm that I have the right to do so when proposing –or passing!– any law that purports to restrict speech.

One Response to “Blogathon 2009: “Legally, we have to refer to you as Catherine December.””

  1. GregEh

    So uh, if I make a t-shirt that says “frak your Olympic corporate circus VANOC c*nts”, that would infringe copyright?