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For athletes at the upcoming London Olympics, Facebook, Twitter and other social media is no longer out of the question.
According to new guidelines from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), participants should feel free to take to the internet and share with adoring fans worldwide.
As long as their updates don't get anywhere near the organization's intellectual property rights.
Though athletes tweeted during the 2009 Olympics in Beijing, Reuters reports that the IOC was a bit wary about the practice, banning the posting of video and photographs.
This time, however, they've slightly loosened up their guidelines, and are encouraging use of social media as long as athletes refrain from x-rated or vulgar content, and speak only in the first-person.
But they still can't upload any videos or audio taken inside Olympic venues, reports Reuters.
This is because the IOC has exclusive rights to television and online media, and they wish to protect their rights and prevent copyright infringement.
In many ways, this is a misguided approach.
Intellectual property rights are in place to encourage innovation and creation, not to stifle unique perspectives.
Athletes who post video and audio are not infringing on copyrights or taking away from the IOC's media rights. Instead, they add to the conversation, making the games more personal, which will ultimately garner more interest in the official broadcast.
Given this potential, it appears as though the IOC is just afraid of social media, and is still unclear as to how to harness its power to reinvigorate an event in which people are slowly losing interest.
So please athletes, during the upcoming Olympics, Facebook everything, and show the IOC that it's nothing to be afraid of.
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