The Olympics Bans GIFs


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Aug 05, 2016 at 11:18 AM ET

Not content with gagging Olympic athletes and any non-official sponsors, the International Olympic Committee is clamping down on reporters by forbidding them from sharing any and all awesome GIFs or Vines they might create while they’re in Rio de Janeiro.

Of course, the IOC owns all that sweet, sweet #content, and has sold the broadcast rights in their entirety to NBCUniversal. Naturally, they can’t have any old media company or hard-nosed reporter running around sharing GIFs with the world, even if a quick clip or Vine of, say, star U.S. gymnast Simone Biles pulling off a wondrous athletic feat is exactly the kind of free advertising that might make more people tune in.

Then again, the 2012 London Olympics drew a record 217 million pairs of eyeballs, so the IOC must be doing something right. As TechCrunch noted, the restriction on GIFs has been sitting right there in the official rules and regulations page for a while now, both in the FAQ portion of the social and digital media guidelines and in the official broadcast rules.

During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, there was an attempt to scuttle this kind of activity. However, it seems that the regulations weren’t as widely known or strictly enforced, particularly since the official language left a bit of a loophole, referring only to “video and/or audio of the events.”

Similarly, the NFL also tried to crack down on unlicensed GIFs in November, complaining to Twitter about copyright violations, and leading to the temporary shuttering of SB Nation and Deadspin’s Twitter accounts.

Of course, the IOC’s determination to enforce this kind of stentorian, all-encompassing ban is exactly the kind of behavior that might drive mischevious internet rascals to troll the heck out of them. Gee, that’d be awful.