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The BBC's Bill Hayton
"Dubious web sites damaging its new squeaky clean image"
 real 28k

Thursday, 13 July, 2000, 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK
Olympics evict cybersquatters
International Olympic Committee site
The IOC website: The real thing
The Olympic movement is taking legal action in the United States to close down hundreds of internet sites which it says are abusing the Olympic name.

Salt Lake City
Frozen out: Cybersquatters targeted the Winter Olympics
Richard Pound, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, said the Olympic movement wanted to stop people duping consumers and making profits which did not benefit athletes.

Of the 1,800 unauthorised sites, the IOC says 168 falsely represent the Olympic Games, 69 claim to sell tickets or other services, 43 are gambling sites and 15 are pornographic sites.

We don't want people making profit from Olympic trademarks that does not get returned to the athletes in some way

Richard Pound
The lawsuit has been brought jointly by the International Olympic Committee, US Olympic Committee and the organisers of the Salt Lake City Winter Games 2002.

It is part of a growing global offensive against people who hijack web addresses.

The legal action names internet domains using the words Olympic, Olympiad - which refers to the period of four years between the Games - or related terms in other languages.

Protecting 'Olympic values'

The movement is not looking for financial compensation from the owners of the sites - it just wants control of those domains.

Mr Pound said: "We don't want people making profit from Olympic trademarks that does not get returned to the athletes in some way.

"Two, we don't want consumers duped into purchasing items they think are Olympic-related when they are not.

"Three, we need to protect the values of the Olympic movement against uses out there that are clearly illicit."

Already some 50 sites have been turned over to the Olympic movement without further legal action, since the law suit was lodged.

The movement chose to pursue the case through the US law courts because the names were registered there.

The legal action is the biggest case so far brought under the new Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, introduced in 1999.

Earlier this month, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, (WIPO) launched new initiatives to help organisations evict rogue sites which use trademarks without permission.

It is also trying to crack down on people who grab well-known domain names and try to sell them for a high fee to their rightful owner.

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See also:

15 Nov 99 | e-cyclopedia
Cybersquatting: Get off my URL
26 Nov 98 | Sci/Tech
US approves new Internet authority
02 Dec 99 | Business
The $7.5m net address
27 May 99 | The Company File
Gaining a NetBenefit
26 Jan 00 | Scotland
Firm accused of net name piracy
05 Jun 00 | UK
The battle for cyberspace
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