On the Ravelry.com website, there is a "Ravelympics" held every two years. Participants are asked to push their crochet and knitting skills to new heights while watching the 16-day Olympics. I have never participated in the Ravelympics, but I do watch the Olympics, and in fact, still have recordings going back some 20+ years THAT I STILL WATCH!
The USOC sent what they called a "standard" cease-and-desist letter to the owners of Ravelry -- the letter requests the stopping of the use of the Olympic symbol AND demanding the name of "Ravelympics" be changed. I have no problem with the USOC protecting the Olympic logo, or the "Olympic" name. If permission wasn't granted for using them, then it should be stopped.
The problems I have are two-fold:
A) "-ympics." Do they own the right to these letters? That's like saying the Ford motor company owns the right to "-ord." Or, if you want to compare non-profit with a non-profit, like saying Save The Children (remember the "Caps to the Capital" campaign?) owns the rights to "-ldren." I've yet to read anything rational on this. Of course, if this is allowed, I'm proclaiming ownership to "-ziano," you know, just in case I become world-famous for crochet hook twirling, or something along those lines.The USCO did apologize - twice - for the language they used. The first apology was not easily digested by crafters because the it included a request for "... any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games." [Link to both apologies.] When my kids apologize for something, they would never think of following it up with "... and can I have 20 bucks for the movies?" Naturally if the USOC finds this type of apology works, I might start apologizing for things like "...sorry your lawn grew and you have to mow it. You can send me some yarn if you'd like."
B) the wording in their "standard" cease-and-desist letter that included this paragraph that I found to be "discriminating":
"We believe using the name 'Ravelympics' for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country's finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work."
USOlympics Vs Ravelympics: Intellectual Property vs Slurs?
The story of The USOC vs the Ravelympics was first picked up by the Gawker, and then others followed:
My participation on this topic was in tweeting out some yarnie facts on the Twitter social site:
- There are 17.4 MILLION crocheters, and 13.0 MILLION knitters. Actually, this is "households of" but that's ok. That's still a lot of folks playing with yarn. Even though Ravelry has 2 MILLION members, once this went viral, it was time to look at the bigger picture.
- of the 17.4 MILLION crocheters, they open their wallets to reportedly spend 1.064 BILLION US dollars on their love of crochet goodies -- these facts were published by the CHA in 2010.
- Three Crocheted Lions will be part of the 2012 Cultural Olypiad: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17915318
... and then some sport-sy facts:
- Guinness World Records officially issued “The Fastest Crocheter Title” to Lisa Gentry on June 25, 2005
- Guinness World Record Holder for Fastest Knitter was earned by Miriam Tegels in 2008
- The Guinness world record for the Most People Knitting Simultaneously was set in 2011
- The Guinness World Record for the Most People Crocheting Simultaneously was set in 2010 in USA! (hey, I was there!)
- Guinness World Record Holder for Longest Crochet Chain Whilst Running a Marathon went to Susie Hewer in 2010
- CYCA reports 92% of crocheters & knitters R UNDER 65 yrs old. http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/know.html
- CYCA reports 66% of crocheters & knitters R UNDER 54 yrs old. http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/know.html
- how this might impact crochet & knit donations to the Special Olympics http://www.scarvesforspecialolympics.org/files/upload_file_847993722.pdf
- crafters might boycott watching the Olympics, missing out on the finest amateur athletes in the world.
Out of this entire saga, I did learn something new: The Wenlock Olympian Society, now known as the International Olympic Committee, once included knitting, as well as reading and spelling. I can't help but wonder if "-ympics" was part of the spelling .........