A statement has now been released by the USOC in regards to all the tweets, Facebook updates, e-mails, calls, etc, that they have received in the past day related to their cease & desist letter they sent to Ravelry.
I’m not sure I buy into the “standard form letter” or that it was not a personal attack as it was quite specific about the naming of the events that are used, and very pointed around them being disrespectful. However, I do think it shows they underestimated the impact that such a letter would create. I think the apology is a step in the right direction, although I don’t think I’ll be knitting them anything anytime soon.
I would still expect knitters to respect the trademark and would not be shocked if the event name changed. This to me makes sense. It was the disrespect of the Ravelry community that had me reeling in the original letter.
Apology accepted… for now
It seems that the United States Olympic Committee had a bit of free time on their hands right now. Yesterday a cease and desist letter was posted on Ravelry (Ravelry login required) from USOC’s general counsel requesting a change of the name “Ravelympics” due to copyright infringement. And while the connection between the two is very clear and cannot be ignored, the letter is ridiculously rude (which one should be expected, to be fair).
Of course this letter now has the knitting community in an uproar. @USOlympic twitter feed is full of tweets and retweets from angry knitters around the world. Rumor is they are removing posts from their Facebook page as well (not verified).
Now while I do not by any means consider myself an olympic athlete, the attack from USOC is a harsh one. The Ravelympics is nothing but support for the Olympics. International support on a US based website. OK, so I didn’t spend my lifetime preparing for the Ravelympics, but have I spent time preparing? Yes. Have others? Yes. Do people learn new skills or hone their skills? Absolutely! That is what the Ravelympics is all about. Challenging yourself, pushing yourself, doing something different, and supporting your team while you’re at it! We cast on while watching the opening ceremonies. We watch the events, some may even knit at the events (I know at least one person attempting to). The Ravelympics is in no way meant to disrespect those that train or compete, nor is there the intent to ” denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.” It’s thousands (presumably) of knitter’s coming together around the world to in fact support the Olympic events and athletes while challenging ourselves in our own craft/skill set. I honestly think it’s a rather clever idea.
I do not have issues with a change of name (although “Ravelry Games” is a bit lame in my opinion), I understand copyright infringement concerns and the clear connection “Ravelympics” creates between the two events, however the majority of the letter is unnecessary. And no, I will not be boycotting the US Olympic team as so many have suggested. I still support the athletes, as they are not the ones that submitted this letter (presumably), however I would say I don’t think much of the US Olympic Committee itself.
As for all the suggestions that they make knitting an Olympic sport… why not as a demonstration sport? 😉
Care to share your thoughts on the matter? Feel free to comment. I’m curious to hear other’s feedback.
The full letter cease and desist letter can also be seen at the bottom of this article or posted on my Facebook page (if you don’t have a Ravelry login).