Have you checked your Olympics ticket?
Picture the scene: It’s early evening on Sunday 5 August 2012, 16-year old Anthony is lucky enough to have a ticket for the Olympic stadium and is waiting for the start of the 100 metres final.
The whole world is watching the start line, as certainly are all the BBC cameras. But for some inexplicable reason, he turns away from the start line and notices two female athletes warming up on the far side of the stadium. There is a collision and an altercation and then, the décolletage of one of the athletes becomes disorganised, none other than Jessica Ennis. As any self-respecting teenager would, he has filmed the whole altercation and the aftermath on his iPhone 4S. The footage may be unique and what does he do next? Being a child of the 21st century, he immediately uploads it on to his Facebook account. Almost as quickly as Bolt wins the 100 metres final, the footage is picked up by others and it goes viral.
Was this a mistake? Yes, he could have offered it to the highest bidder. Too late for second thoughts.
More uncomfortably, in the car on the way home he hears on Radio 5 Live that Lord Coe and LOCOG are less than amused – let alone Miss Ennis. One of the flagship events of the 2012 Games has been upstaged by the video footage – this is Anthony’s Warhol moment but is it also his Waterloo?
What can LOCOG do? Not a lot, but enough. The conditions on the ticket (which Anthony did not know existed) provide that it is prohibited behaviour within any Olympic venue for anyone to undertake any unauthorised transmission and/or recording through mobile phones. Another condition says that any images, videos and sound recordings of the Games taken by a ticket holder cannot be used for any purpose other than a private and domestic purpose and a ticket holder may not licence, broadcast and/or publish video or sound recordings including on social networking sites or the internet. Oops! Unlike at Wembley, the terms and conditions of the tickets for the Games do not provide automatically for an assignment of the copyright to LOCOG in the now famous footage. Well, that is good news – up to a point. At least Anthony cannot be punished for pirating his own footage.
The next morning two letters land on the hall mat. The first is from LOCOG telling him that not only are LOCOG not amused but worse still, they are going to sue him. Oh dear!
The other letter is from Celebrity & Co, who say they act for Ms Ennis. She seems equally upset claiming that Anthony’s actions have infringed her rights under Article 8 of something called the European Convention on Human Rights and that she is also suing him for breach of his contractual duties as a ticket holder because as a result of his actions certain lucrative endorsements may be cancelled. Double oops!
In desperation he turns for advice. What to do? Well, immigration looks like a good option. He could get a student visa. "Not appealing", he replies. LOCOG tell him that his Lordship is really mad as some infuriating Aussie radio journalist rang him up at 3 in the morning to talk to him about this footage and the furore surrounding it. So apologies are out. What is the likely damage? It is hard to identify. It is too late to throw Anthony out of the stadium for breaching the terms of his ticket.
What about Miss Ennis? Celebrity & Co claim she is still angry but calming down because several national and international publications and media outlets are now bidding for her to do a picture story. But they are trying to force Facebook and other media outlets to take the video offline.
LOCOG claim his unconscionable and malicious actions have caused them serious irreparable harm and damage. The terms and conditions of the ticket were clear and he flagrantly breached them. But LOCOG is not having much luck persuading Facebook et al to take the video down.
What more could LOCOG have done to stop this from happening? Short of banning on video cameras, smart phones, tablet computers and the internet in Games venues, Anthony’s tale suggests, as King Canute’s did, that these are the risks faced in a connected world.
"What do I do"? he cries. Call for Clifford, (Max not Chance)? It may be time for appearances on the sofas of daytime TV. "Why did I upload the video onto my Facebook account and not just YouTube?", he exclaims in despair, "At least on YouTube LOCOG wouldn’t have known it was me".
Then, at that moment the alarm rings. His mum pops her head in and says "It's Sunday, time to get up; we are off to the Olympics today". As she closes the door, she says "Breakfast in 5". As Anthony stumbles out of bed, he mutters "I may be late" and switches on his computer to search for the Olympic Games site and check what else he shouldn’t do while at the Games.
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"What is the likely damage? It is hard to identify. It is too late to throw Anthony out of the stadium for breaching the terms of his ticket."