This piece is part of our debate 'The Great British Summer?'.
Index on Censorship has learned that the Twitter account of protest group Space Hijackers has been suspended following a complaint by the organisers of the London Olympics.
The anti-capitalists, who have styled themselves as the Official Protesters of the London 2012 Olympic Games, received notification from Twitter in an email, which stated:
We have received reports from the trademark holder, London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Ltd, that your account, @spacehijackers, is using a trademark in a way that could be confusing or misleading with regard to a brand affiliation. Your account has been temporarily suspended due to violation of our trademark policy.
(The full email is here.)
The Space Hijackers had been using an altered version of the 2012 logo on their site and their Twitter page
The Olympic organisers are notoriously prickly about branding, but also about protest, and laws introduced after London won the right to host this year’s games could potentially place restrictions on protest for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics.
It could be argued that the logo in itself was a justifiable reason for the suspension, but you have to seriously ask: is anyone actually going to confuse the Space Hijackers account for an official Olympic account? This should surely be the basis of a claim for trademark infringement.
It is doubtful that Space Hijackers are actually going to bring down the International Olympic Committee and capitalism along with it (not through Twitter at least). One can only conclude that this is an act of petty, vindictive censorship, hardly in the spirit of plurality and inclusiveness the Olympics is supposed to promote.
This piece was first published by Index on Censorship who are running a free event, "Is Sport Above Human Rights?" on Tuesday 19 June. Details here.
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