Official Protesters of the London Olympics suspended on Twitter

The Space Hijackers' Twitter account for their Official Protesters of the London 2012 Games has been suspended, following a complaint from the London Olympic committee:

Twitter. That harbour of free speech, undaunted by various Arab dictators. However, it seems that a quick word from LOCOG, the unelected body in charge of the 2012 Olympic Games, is enough to encourage Twitter to suspend our account. Apparently there's a danger people might think we're part of the Olympic delivery team. We're sorry if you were enjoying our tweets, we hope to be back up and running again, as soon as Twitter gets the joke. In the meantime, you might want to look at this website to get some background...

Twitter actually has a pretty clear policy on this: parody and protest accounts just have to have some indicator that they aren't the official item (e.g. "FakeCoke" or "CokeSucks" but not "OfficialCoke"). My guess is that Twitter's suspension of the account was on that basis. If so, it should be pretty straightforward to get it back up and running.

Oi! You Can't Protest Here! (Thanks, LDNBikeSwarm!)


  1. Yeah, this one does feel on-the-line enough to not be the crazy abuse of power we expect from the Olympic Games. 

    I feel let down. Where’s the pepper spray?

  2. When I was in high school, I was in a club called Olympics of the Mind.  It was cool.  Competitions making robots and doing other stuff.  The second year I wanted to participate in the club, I learned they had been forced to change their name to Odyssey of the Mind because they had been sued by the Olympics.  The officials who run the modern Olympics are a bunch of ruthless businessmen who guard the name very fiercely. 

    1. As opposed to the officials who ran the ancient Olympics, who were a bunch of ruthless priests who guarded the all-male nature of the event very fiercely.

      1. Why not “The Gaymes”, a play on what non-official advertisers have to say to refer to the Olympics (or to play off of the superbowl, The Big Gaymes).

  3. Either way, it still makes the Olympic Committee look like a bunch of commercialised party poopers.


    Boris Johnson and co keep telling me it’s all about community and pride. This has nothing to do with community and pride, it’s just an excuse to sell billboard space, and this proves it IMO.

        1. Don’t you mean “we’ll likely lose plenty of”?

          The sponsors and commercial partners (who are the stimulus for this type of nonsense) will do just fine out of it. As they say on their website “The Olympic Games are one of the most effective international marketing platforms in the world, reaching billions of people in over 200 countries and territories throughout the world.”

  4. Every time there’s an Olympics, I find even more reasons to hate the Olympics organizers. It looks like this year is going to pile it on tenfold.

     I’d like to note that their twitter account name does NOT use the word “Olympics”. You can seriously be telling me that they claim the rights to everything called “Games”??? Or is it the year 2012 that they own a trademark on?

    1. The IOC/LOCOG forbids anyone who is not a designated sponsor (by them) of the Olympic Games from using any combination of two words from “Olympic Games 2012” or claiming unauthorized affiliation with the games. They’re more zealously protective of their apparently God-given rights to anything even faintly related to the event than the RIAA/MPAA.

  5. Motherfucker.
    Please tell me how an account named “Official Protesters of the London 2012 Games” is not clear enough ????!!!!

  6. It doesn’t seem at all easy for them to fix this little problem and get back on Twitter.  Their organization’s name is in direct conflict with Twitter’s TOS, as they are a parody group that has assumed an official-sounding name that does violate the Olympic group’s trademark.

    so they’ll have to rename their org. to be on the right side of Twitter, and their brand will be diluted in the process. Hmmm… maybe they should sue Twitter for fake trademark dilution?

  7. Even if I totally agree with the issues raised here, their account has been put back online yesterday. Too bad though that the SHijackers accepted to change their logo under threat of been permanently banned. Though I can understand how much a pain it can be to loose all your followers.

  8. I had a look at the Google cache of the Space Hijackers’ Twitter page and, while it almost certainly wouldn’t infringe the trademark rights of any normal company*, it did probably contravene Twitter’s trademark policy (background image, no bio statement that it’s unofficial). Shame, though. Parody works much better with fair use. 

    * See Olympic Symbol etc. (Fellating) Act 1995 and London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Subjugation of UK Citizenry) Act 2006. Anyone else want to find a business called “Olympic Cafe” that was started before 1995 and turn it into a national chain? 

    1. One interesting wrinkle: if Parliament were a business, it’s quite possible that the London Olympics Act 2006 would fall foul of Schedule 4 of the London Olympics Act 2006 by creating an association between Parliament and the Olympics. 

      1. Yeah, I actually read the media articles that they linked to ( BoingBoing should have done that ) — it had nothing to do with the “title” of the account.  The claim seems to have been based on the Logo and branding as “Official Protestors of the London Games” (or however it was stated).  

        I’d like to hope that twitter made the decision based on the Logo alone — which was just changing the official logo’s colors, and honestly confusing/infringing (they could have done better ) — and not the branding , which is clearly parody.

        1. I’m not sure. (NB I’m neither a US citizen nor a lawyer, so take this with as much salt as recommended for a healthy diet.)

          The first thing is that LOCOG claimed trademark infringement, not copyright. That requires the Space Hijackers to be using LOCOG’s marks in relation to products or services for which the marks are registered, which, notwithstanding the protest t-shirts they seem to be selling, they appear not to be doing (this is principally a protest, not a commercial venture). Even if they were using the marks in commerce, it may qualify as fair use on the grounds that they are being used accurately to identify the mark owner, though I’m rather shaky on this.

          There’s no parody defence in (US) trademark law, but the Space Hijackers may have a reasonable parody defence if LOCOG were to file a copyright claim: I understand Space Hijackers changed the logo’s colours so it looked more like Lisa giving head, which it could be argued is a commentary on LOCOG’s attitude to their host countries and the citizens thereof. I’m not sure if it would be found to be sufficiently transformative, though.

          But all of this is, of course, somewhat moot: Twitter’s trademark policy is arguably more prescriptive and restrictive than the law allows (and not unreasonably so, as they want something that can be decided quickly by non-lawyers), and it’s up to them what they allow on their site.

  9. While I could be persuaded to side with them on this particular issue, I have to say that their site and campaign does kinda make them look like professional protestors in search of something to protest.

    I agree that many of these are valid issues, but I dunno if they warrant a protest or such heroic posturing.

    Perhaps some perspective is needed or perhaps I need to realise that even those with a social conscience are entitled to take things easy every now and then.

    1. their site and campaign does kinda make them look like professional protestors in search of something to protest.

      Well, would you want amateur protetsters being allowed to be the official Olympic 2012 protesters? Once you do that, you risk shoddy protesting and that could seriously impact the reputation of the International Olympic Committee and tarnish people’s views of the games.

      Please think these things through.

        1. LOCOG’re saying it wrong. It’s nothing to do with sport or play. It’s a Hungarian surname, pronounced ge-Mesh, stressed on the second syllable. George Mikes suffered the same thing.

  10. Didn’t Twitter just have this huge song-and-dance routine recently about how they were moving servers around to a bunch of countries so that they wouldn’t have to respond to arbitrary demands of censorship by government agencies?

    Not that anyone on BB fell for it, though. (Actually, if I recall, some BB editors were lauding them but it was Rob who saw through their hypocrisy.)

  11. Why do the Olympics bring out the very worst in everyone with a modicum of power over the public?

  12. They should just move their account to, which provides the same service but without the ugly corporate oversight…
    Granted, they won’t benefit from the same network (walled garden) as on Twitter.

    1. You’re welcome to protest out in the middle of an open field in Linconshire (or Kansas if you prefer), if you want, but don’t expect anyone to hear you. Twitter is a walled garden, but it’s a very big and well-trodden walled garden.

Comments are closed.