Those lucky enough to secure tickets for the Olympics are banned from publishing pictures and videos of the events. Ben Yeates wonders if the decision to limit social media coverage of the games is as futile as it is senseless.
There is little doubt that the imminent Olympic games will be a real test of the UK’s infrastructure, from transport and accommodation, to the incredible pressure mobile network providers will find themselves under, especially as London welcomes millions of extra visitors. This is the perfect opportunity for the UK to shine, and a once in a lifetime experience for those in attendance – thanks to social media – to share their experiences with the world in real time.
Phone manufacturer Samsung, as well as being an official sponsor of the games, is even auditioning visitors to become “Global Bloggers”, with those chosen being tasked to explore London during the Olympics and share their experiences and discoveries via video blogs.
However, there’s a flaw in the plan because, buried in the several thousand words of ticket terms and conditions is a clause that, to all intents and purposes, has banned the recording, broadcasting, and transmitting of images, video, and sounds from Olympic venues.
Visitors will be allowed to take pictures and videos for private and domestic use, but are prohibited from posting such media on any social media sites, so forget about updating and uploading images of yourself at the games (sounds like a problem for Samsung’s would-be bloggers).
This is not a particularly new development; I can remember the “no photography” signs at music gigs years ago. Not that it stopped people taking grainy, badly exposed, photos from a hundred or feet away. I know that modern camera phones take video and photos with results light-years ahead of 35mm compact cameras, but are the Olympic committees really concerned about un-authorised pictures of Usain Bolt eating chicken nuggets before his record breaking 100m sprint appearing on Google+?
The events will be widely covered by the press, with television coverage broadcast across the globe, so is there any problem with individuals taking snaps and putting them online? A further issue comes with mobile technology; camera phones may well shoot HD footage and take snaps through 8MP image sensors, but it’s still very difficult to take action pictures or video from a mobile device – usual results are out of focus blurs – so I find it difficult to believe video taken on phones will threaten professional broadcasts.
The idea is moot anyway, how is it possible to police thousands of people with mobile phones? It is simply not realistic to confiscate every phone. I hope that a common sense approach will prevail; with visitors allowed to post pictures and videos on social media sites. In much the same way the grainy 35mm snaps taken at Glastonbury 20 years ago live on in my photo album.