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IOC Policing How 2010 Olympic Coverage is Transmitted

February 12, 2010 8:10 AM | Sports

Staff from a Swiss TV station work inside the International Broadcast Center (IBC) in the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Center on Thursday in preparation for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) isn’t fooling around with how coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games is transmitted. The governing Olympic body has an exclusive agreement with host broadcaster CTV during the duration of the Games for coverage in Canada. In the U.S., NBC holds the rights. With both broadcasters having spent millions to carry the Games, the IOC wants to assure them it was money well spent.

Each visitor attending a live sporting event in either Vancouver or Whistler is provided with guidelines on what they can and cannot snap a photograph of. Taking a photo of your friend in their seat before the event gets underway is perfectly fine. Ppointing your lens at a hockey game in action, for example, warrants the seizure of your equipment and ejection from the venue. Video is strictly prohibited inside most venues.

While it will definitely be a task for the IOC to put a lid on all the cell phone photos and short videos being leaked out via Twitter and Facebook, they are not taking the offenses lightly. Leaked photos from the dress rehearsal of the Opening Ceremonies earlier this week has already caused panic for organizers, despite non-disclosure agreements that those in attendance had to sign.

CTV has launched a YouTube channel for their CTVOlympics.ca web property, featuring daily recaps of the day’s event and interviews with athletes in the Olympic Lounge. One thing you may or may not immediately notice is that the option to embed such YouTube videos is disabled. Embedding — for those that may not know — is the ability to copy a specific piece of code to paste into a blog post to show video on another website. While most videos on the Internet are available to be embedded and shared, CTV has turned off the feature, thus limiting potential views and the viral spread of its content.

We asked CTV on Thursday why this was done, and the answer leads back to IOC’s strict rules on content transmission. “As per IOC contractual obligations, Olympic Games footage is only available for broadcast by rights-holders,” Carolyn Fell, Communications Manager for CTV Digital, told ChrisD.ca in an e-mail.

But don’t blame the IOC for imposing such harsh restrictions on third party content. It’s something that has to be done. There are still plenty of ways to enjoy the games, from watching them on TV, the Internet, your mobile device, at your local movie theatre, or listening on the radio. The point is, no matter where you watch, the only thing that matters is Canada winning some gold medal hardware.

Let the games begin!