Thursday, June 21, 2012

USOC vs Ravelry

Wow, what a day.   I have not been this un-bored since Jack took me out last Tuesday.

If you read my post yesterday, you know all about US Olympic Committee (USOC) vs Ravelry.    The furor continued through out the day.    In fact, there was enough going on, on Facebook, Twitter, and the Bloggerverse, to keep me in my seat, resting my ankle all day.    Hubby, who compares getting me to rest to herding cats, was thrilled.    I am forced to admit that the rest has really helped.   I am in significantly less pain today.    Hey, maybe I should send at thank you note to the inept legal intern that sent the offending letter.

Earlier today, the USOC posted an apology that went like this:

“Thanks to all of you who have posted, tweeted, emailed and called regarding the letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics.

Like you, we are extremely passionate about what we do. And, as  you may know, the United States Olympic Committee is a non-profit entity, and our Olympic team receives no government funding. We are totally dependent on our sponsors, who pay for the right to associate with the Olympic Movement, as well as our generous donors to bring Team USA to the Games.
The letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics was a standard-form cease and desist letter that explained why we need to protect our trademarks in legal terms. Rest assured, as an organization that has many passionate knitters, we never intended to make this a personal attack on the knitting community or to suggest that knitters are not supportive of Team USA.
We apologize for any insult and appreciate your support. We embrace hand-crafted American goods as we currently have the Annin Flagmakers of New Jersey stitching a custom-made American flag to accompany our team to the Olympic Games in London. To show our support of the Ravelry community, we would welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games.”
Sorry guys, not good enough.   Although most of the letter to Casey Forbes (co-founder of Ravelry) did read like a standard cease & desist (c&d),  The most offensive paragraph, obviously was not.
"The USOC is responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States.  Part of that responsibility is to ensure that Olympic trademarks, imagery and terminology are protected and given the appropriate respect.  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."
Later in the afternoon, the USOC updated their apology with this:
"As a follow-up to our previous statement on this subject, we would again like to apologize to the members of the Ravelry community. While we stand by our obligation to protect the marks and terms associated with the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the United States, we sincerely regret the use of insensitive terms in relation to the actions of a group that was clearly not intending to denigrate or disrespect the Olympic Movement. We hope you’ll accept this apology and continue to support the Olympic Games."
Obviously they did much better the second time around.    Some people are still in a snit because Ravelry will still have to change the name of the Ravelympics.    However, I think it is important to remember that if their objection is legally valid then it is legally valid, whether we like it or not (Besides, "The Ravelry Games"  has a nice ring to it).     
My plan, and my advice to you, is to call this a win and go home.    Flexing our collective muscles has been a blast, but it is time to move on.    Time, in fact, to decide what we are going to be working on during this years Ravelry Games (?).

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