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Page last updated at 08:13 GMT, Tuesday, 17 July 2012 09:13 UK

Are Olympic branding rules too tight?


The human rights group Liberty has criticised a law which prevents small businesses from using the Olympic rings in advertising or products such as sausages.

As reporter Mike Thomson explains, legislation introduced in 2006 means that only official sponsors can use words such as Olympics and Games 2012. Critics have accused the Games organisers of an extreme crackdown, calling them the "Olympic brand police".

The director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, told Today presenter John Humphrys that there needs to be some proportionality in the way the law is enforced.

"What's going to be really important in the weeks ahead is that the signal goes out by those who enforce these regulations, to the local florists and chip shops that they are not going to be confused with sponsors," she explained.

"We can have proportionality in this. We want a light and common sense touch about local shopkeepers and cafes."

But a former sports minister defended the Olympics authorities right to stop firms using words, images and branding and associated with the Games.

Richard Caborn, who served in the last Labour government, said the rules are working well.

"The reality is that most people have accepted that we have got to raise £2 billion; £750 millions of that is through sponsorship.

"Even last week the Labour Party ran its sports dinner and we had to go and consult Locog [the London games organising committee] about what we could use there. It was highly successful and I do not believe it's had a negative effect on the country."

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