If Canadian Industry Minister Maxime Bernier gets his way, the Vancouver Olympics will have exclusive public use of the words winter, gold, silver, bronze, and sponsor, along with Vancouver, Whistler, 2010, tenth, medals, and games (from . His proposed Bill C-47, the Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act, is supposed to protect the games against unscrupulous folks who want to be associated with the Olympics without coughing up the dough to be sponsors, but legal columnist Michael Geist worries that it could cause more harm than good. He says: I can't imagine they'd come after a meeting that heralded its gold sponsors, or a winter meeting in Vancouver, but this might be one to keep an eye on.
the legislation grants the Olympic organizers enormous power to police the use of anything approaching association with the Olympics. For example, the bill contains a list of expressions to be considered by the federal court to determine whether someone has misled the public into believing that their business is endorsed or associated with the Olympics. The expressions include: winter, gold, silver, bronze, sponsor, Vancouver, Whistler, 2010, tenth, medals, and games. While this looks like a recipe for abuse, the Olympic organizers have assured the public that it "is committed to applying the proposed legislation in a disciplined, sensitive, fair and transparent manner." Perhaps, but many Canadians may justifiably be left to ask whether anyone should be granted the right to govern the use of generic words such as winter or Vancouver.
I can't imagine they'd come after a meeting that heralded its gold sponsors, or a winter meeting in Vancouver, but this might be one to keep an eye on.