this letter was recently sent to TPTB at ravelry:
Dear Mr. Forbes,
In March 14, 2011, my colleague, C G, corresponded with your attorney, C S [sic], in regard to a pin listed as the “2010 Ravelympic Badge of Glory.” At that time, she explained that the use of RAVELYMPIC infringed upon the USOC’s intellectual property rights, and you kindly removed the pin from the website. I was hoping to close our file on this matter, but upon further review of your website, I found more infringing content. okay, does that mean there's a mole on the premise?
By way of review, the USOC is a non-profit corporation chartered by Congress to coordinate, promote and govern all international amateur athletic activities in the United States. The USOC therefore is responsible for training, entering and underwriting U.S. Teams in the Olympic Games. (so that's why so many professional b-ball players are on the olympic team...) Unlike the National Olympic Committees of many other countries, the USOC does not rely on federal funding to support all of its efforts. Therefore, in order to fulfill our responsibilities without the need for federal funding, Congress granted the USOC the exclusive right to use and control the commercial use of the word OLYMPIC a and any simulation or combination thereof in the United States, as well as the OLYMPIC SYMBOL. See the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, 36 U.S.C. §220501 et seq. (the “Act”). (A copy of the relevant portion of the Act is enclosed for your convenience.) The Act prohibits the unauthorized use of the Olympic Symbol or the mark OLYMPIC and derivations thereof for any commercial purpose or for any competition, such as the one organized through your website. See 36 U.S.C. §220506(c). The USOC primarily relies on legitimate sponsorship fees and licensing revenues to support U.S. Olympic athletes and finance this country’s participation in the Olympic Games. Other companies, like Nike and Ralph Lauren, have paid substantial sums for the right to use Olympic-related marks, and through their sponsorships support the U.S. Olympic Team. Therefore, it is important that we restrict the use of Olympic marks and protect the rights of companies who financially support Team USA.
In addition to the protections of the Act discussed above, the USOC also owns numerous trademark registration that include the mark OLYMPIC. These marks therefore are protected under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051 et seq. Thus, Ravelry.com’s unauthorized use of the mark OLYMPIC or derivations thereof, such as RAVELYMPICS, may constitute trademark infringement, unfair competition and dilution of our famous trademarks.
The USOC would like to settle this matter on an amicable basis. However, we must request the following actions be taken.
1. Changing the name of the event, the “Ravelympics.”; The athletes of Team USA have usually spent the better part of their entire lives training for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them. For many, the Olympics represent the pinnacle of their sporting career. Over more than a century, the Olympic Games have brought athletes around the world together to compete in an event that has come to mean much more than just a competition between the world’s best athletes. The Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony. um, that's what we do when we participate in the ravelympics. where else in the world can you cheer on a newbie knitting their first pair of socks, or admiring a shawl that a knitter in germany made?
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. this just chaps my hide. nice putdown from the organization that considers ping-pong and badminton challenging events.
It looks as if this is the third time that the Ravelympics have been organized, each coinciding with an Olympic year (2008, 2010, and 2012). it took you four years to figure this out? The name Ravelympics is clearly derived from the terms “Ravelry” (the name of your website) and OLYMPICS, making RAVELYMPICS a simulation of the mark OLYMPIC tending to falsely suggest a connection to the Olympic Movement. Thus, the use of RAVELYMPICS is prohibited by the Act. Knowing this, we are sure that you can appreciate the need for you to re-name the event, to something like the Ravelry Games. ugh. can't even come up with something more original that "ravelry games".
1. Removal of Olympic Symbols in patterns, projects, etc. As stated before, the USOC receives no funding from the government to support this country’s Olympic athletes. The USOC relies upon official licensing and sponsorship fees to raise the funds necessary to fulfill its mission. Therefore, the USOC reserves use of Olympic terminology and trademarks to our official sponsors, suppliers and licensees. The patterns and projects featuring the Olympic Symbol on Ravelry.com’s website are not licensed and therefore unauthorized. The USOC respectfully asks that all such patterns and projects be removed from your site. ok, fair enough.
For your convenience, we have listed some of the patterns featuring Olympic trademarks. However, this list should be viewed as illustrative rather than exhaustive. The USOC requests that all patterns involving Olympic trademarks be removed from the website. We further request that you rename various patterns that may not feature Olympic trademarks in the design but improperly use Olympic in the pattern name. i pity the poor soul who had to dig through the patterns in search of offending patterns...
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. We would appreciate a written reply to this letter by no later than June 19, 2012. If you would like to discuss this matter directly, please feel free to contact me at the number above, or you may reach my colleague, C G.
worse case scenario - the name will change. the mods of the ravelympics group are already taking suggestions.
seriously USOC, you have bigger fish to fry than pick on 2+ million crafters with sharp pointy sticks, hooks, and acrylic yarn.
the first games, in '08, i knitted two hats for the caps for kids campaign (required for registration for KDO). the games were a couple months after my miscarriage and the knitting i did for the games helped with my grieving. the second games, in '10, i knitted preemie hats for each night the kiddos were in the NICU. i knitted 15 hats - no easy feat while tending to two increasingly mobile babies who demanded attention 24-7. i suppose it's not the same as training hours a day (after my loss, i knitted hours on end to keep from losing my mind), risking injury (my wrists did hurt knitting all those little hats) or the cost of lessons, equipment and materials (knitting classes, signature needles and fine baby yarn don't come cheap). no, it's not the same, but the challenge and the spirit of the games is. for many of my ravelry friends, participating in the ravelympics allowed them to watch the games (some people hadn't watched for years) and cheer on our athletes. i remember the boy's excitement as we watched shawn white on his snowboard, while knitting a hat that was small enough to fit a clementine. we felt pride, watching the games, and even more pride that we completed our challenge, whether it was a simple hat or a complicated fair isle sweater during those two weeks.
as for putting down challenges of knitting an afghan, sweater or scarf, has anyone on the USOC ever knitted a dale of norway sweater? knitted dozens of squares for project linus or afghans for afghans? i'm sure the hand knitted scarves and sweaters the athletes wore in the last winter games were not cheap machine made ones from walmart.
maybe the olympic committees just have it in for fiber artists and crafters as a whole - have you seen this article? shameful.
for this year's ravelympics, i plan to knit mittens (a new item for caps for kids!) and if i have time, challenge myself with knitting seven chakras for fair exhibition.
the USOC needs to get a life, and allow ravelers to have a little fun and challenge themselves.