Olympics reach a new low: trademarking the Canadian national anthem and threatening lawsuits over competing uses

The International Olympic Committee has trademarked a line from the Canadian national anthem, "with glowing hearts," and is threatening to sue anyone who uses the line in Canada, as part of the Vancouver Games.

This is par for the course. The IOC is a corrupt, bullying, greedy, hypocritical organization that uses trademark laws to limit the free speech and commerce of people who have the misfortune to attend or live near the games -- for example, in Athens, they forced people to take off or cover up t-shirts that had logos for companies that hadn't paid to sponsor the Olympics; and in Washington, they attacked decades-old businesses named after nearby Mount Olympia.

The Olympics cloak themselves in the rhetoric of international cooperation and development, but everything they touch turns to garbage: totalitarian surveillance camps where corporate greed rules all. The Canadian IOC ought to be disbanded over this -- it's an affront to the entire nation.

Parliament should undo its special legislation that allowed the IOC to assert trademarks over words like "Winter" as well -- our language is not property, it is freely usable by all of us.

. VANOC would only challenge the commercial use of the mottoes if a business began using them to create a specific, unauthorized commercial association with the 2010 Winter Games, said the statement.

O Canada is over 100 years old and, according to the Department of Canadian Heritage, is in the public domain so may be used without permission from the government.

The committee is so serious about protecting the Olympic brand it managed to get a landmark piece of legislation passed in the House of Commons last year that made using certain phrases related to the Games a violation of law.

The list includes the number 2010 and the word "winter," phrases that normally couldn't be trademarked because they are so general.

Olympic mottoes borrow lines from O Canada (Thanks, Dan!)