Olympics - ripping down posters and advertising

David Hansen made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Department for Culture, Media and Sport,

I refer to the articles at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adrianwarner/... and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...

The second article contains the following statement

'The measures will only apply to areas within a few hundred metres of the London 2012 venues. The Government is currently developing detailed regulations for advertising during the Games which will enable these powers to come into effect. The Government will be consulting on the regulations in 2010.'

I have searched your web site and looked at the closed consultations 2010 section, but cannot find anything on the promised consultation. However, I have found http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/freedom... which contains the following assertions

"The geographic area of required advertising controls extends to:

- inside and on all forms of public transportation and public transportation stations/hubs which service the Games;

- in and around Games venues to a reach visible from field-of-play, camera view or spectator area;

- on main transport corridors to and from Games sites."

Please assist me with my enquiries into your activities by answering the following questions.

1) Please provide a copy of the consultation in 2010 on police and "security" goons entering people's houses and businesses to rip down commercial and non-commercial advertising (the latter term will cover political materials such as posters). If that can be provided by a link to the relevant file(s), great.

2) Please provide a precise definition of what public transport "service[s] the games", rather than the waffle above. If someone travels by train from say Birmingham to London to visit the games in Stratford at what point does the service "service the games"? The train from Birmingham to central London? The train from there to your park? Buses can be diverted all over London, so will all bus advertising be covered by these restrictions?

3) Please provide a precise definition of public transport (public transportation is a US English term). Bikes, like cars, are usually considered private transport and so presumably the police and "security" goons will not be able to rip things off them.

However, Borisbikes are sponsored by Barclays who are not part of the "Olympic Family" http://www.london2012.com/about-us/the-p... but are provided by the mayor. Are they public or private transport?

4) is question 2) but for for stations/hubs. For example does the whole of Kings Cross and St Pancras railway stations "service the games"? Just St Pancras? All of St Pancras? Kings Cross/St Pancras underground station? The bus stops around these stations?

5) Games venues are not just buildings. Running and cycle races will take place through the streets. Will the police and "security" goons have the right to enter homes and businesses along the route, camera view and spectator areas of these races to rip down posters and advertising? Will the whole of Weymouth Bay and the towns on land have police and "security" goons potentially ripping down posters and advertising?

6) Your quote in the Daily Mail article talks of this ripping down only happening within a few hundred metres of venues, but your reply to another FoI enquiry quoted above talks of "on main transport corridors to and from Games sites". Both of these cannot be correct simultaneously. Which one is correct, or are neither correct?

7) Please provide a definitive list of "main transport corridors to and from Games sites". Are they the Zil lanes and other options like the River Thames in London outlined in http://www.london2012.com/documents/oda-... or does it include things like train services to Glasgow, Cardiff, Weymouth and so on in Figure 6.9 of that document and the roads to towns with events?

Please note that "replies" which involve attachments in proprietary file formats are not acceptable. A reply which is not in plain text format will be deemed to be a refusal to answer.

Yours faithfully,

David Hansen

Correspondence Team, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

1 Attachment

Our Ref: 166755

Dear Mr Hansen,

Thank you for your email of 16 February about advertising regulations
during the London 2012 Olympics.

The consultation on regulations about advertising activity and trading in
open public places during the Olympic and Paralympic Games has not yet
been published. It is due to be published in March and will be available
on the Department's website. The content of the consultation should answer
many of the questions you have raised on this subject, and will provide an
opportunity for you to voice any concerns you may have.

In the meantime the following information may be of interest to you. The
London 2012 website explains that all of the official names, phrases,
trade marks, logos and designs related to the 2012 Games and the Olympic
and Paralympic movements (collectively referred to as the `Games' Marks')
are protected by the law in a variety of ways. The unauthorised use of any
of the Games' Marks (or any other marks or logos that are confusingly
similar to, or likely to be mistaken for, them) is strictly prohibited.
For example, without the written consent of the London Organising
Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), it is unlawful to
use the Olympic symbol, the London 2012 logo or the mark `London 2012' in
the course of trade.

The hundreds of millions of pounds necessary to stage the Games must be
raised by LOCOG from the private sector - by selling sponsorship, official
merchandise and tickets. To raise the necessary revenue, LOCOG must be
able to give its sponsors an exclusive association to London 2012 and the
Olympic and Paralympic movements in the UK. As such it must prevent other
companies undertaking unauthorised activities which damage its sponsors'
exclusive rights. Uncontrolled or free use of the brand could damage its
reputation and prestige, and would mean that sponsors would not invest in
the organisation of the Games. It is a matter for LOCOG to deal with
unauthorised activities. LOCOG do try, where possible, to resolve issues
informally and through education without taking legal action.

Powers of entry to dwellings is a separate power and is in place to
enforce the sections of the 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Act that deal with
unauthorised advertising and trading within the vicinity of a Games event.
Enforcement staff are not seeking to take action against householders
living their normal lives but to stop organisations benefiting from an
association with the Games without providing any financial support.
Therefore, advertising displayed within someone's private residence would
not be of interest. However advertising displayed on the outside of a
residence would be of interest and enforcement officers may need to access
buildings to be able to take this down.

In order to capture all potential forms of ambush advertising the 2006 Act
was drafted deliberately broadly to cover commercial and non-commercial
adverts. However, these restrictions will not impact on the rights of
individuals to freely express their opinions by means of lawful protests.

Further details can be found on the London 2012 website at:

[1]http://www.london2012.com/about-us/our-b...

I hope that you find the information provided helpful.

Kind regards,

Charlotte Morris

Public Engagement and Recognition Unit
Department for Culture, Media and Sport |2-4 Cockspur Street |London |SW1Y
5DH
DCMS aims to improve the quality of life for all through cultural and
sporting activities, to support the pursuit of excellence and to champion
the tourism, creative and leisure industries.

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Dear Correspondence Team,

Thank you for your prompt reply. I wish other organisations would reply as promptly.

"The consultation ... has not yet been published. It is due to be published in March"

I will look out for it and may make further enquiries then.

"The unauthorised use of any of the Games' Marks"

I made no enquiry about these things.

"Powers of entry to dwellings is a separate power and is in place to enforce the sections of the 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Act that deal with unauthorised advertising and trading within the vicinity of a Games event."

This was sneaked in without public consultation. The first thing people knew about it was articles like the ones I linked to. It is no good now providing a phoney "consultation" where the public are likely to be asked how to arrange the deck chairs, but will not be asked whether steaming at high speed near icebergs is a good idea. If that is what the "consultation" is like there is no reason to waste time taking part in it as you will discard any views which don't fit into your straight jacket.

The public have no obligation to comply with a law which they had no opportunity to influence before it was introduced. Such a process is in violation of various bits of the Human Rights Act. In fact it is the right and duty of the public to oppose that sort of law. As you couldn't be bothered to discuss this with the public before introducing the illegal law then you are likely to meet sections of the public on the streets instead.

"In order to capture all potential forms of ambush advertising the 2006 Act was drafted deliberately broadly to cover commercial and non-commercial adverts."

Yes yes, "we drafted a broad law, but the police and others will interpret it sensibly." This claim has been made for many laws, but it has always been shown to be bogus. Stop and search is an excellent example.

"However, these restrictions will not impact on the rights of individuals to freely express their opinions by means of lawful protests."

I am rather too long in the tooth to be taken in by that sort of politicianspeak. If expressing any form of opinion was made unlawful, something the police in London appear to think is the law now, then there would be no freedom to express any opinion.

You seem to want to ensure the Chinese team and officials feel at home http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...

Yours sincerely,

David Hansen

Correspondence Team, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

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webform on the DCMS website, which can be found at
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Mark Goodge left an annotation ()

It appears, from the most recent response, that the email address previously used by WDTK for sending FOI requests to the DCMS is no longer working. This probably needs to be investigated by someone from the WDTK team as otherwise other requests may also be going astray.