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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Rugby World Cup -- so sue me!

27 June 2011

What has the Rugby World Cup got to do with technology?

Well quite a lot, as it happens.

Today I'm going to talk about The Rugby World Cup's website and make fun of the idiots who decided they could get away with the nonsense published on this page.

Who the hell do they think they are?

Do these people not understand how the internet actually works -- or are they just too arrogant for words? (but don't worry, I'll try to vocalise my contempt for their claims).

Oh, and by the way -- if the claims made on that page are to be believed, I've just opened myself up to all manner of prosecution and claim for infringing their intellectual property -- I'm not kidding!

Under the heading "intellectual property", the site claims that:

'RUGBY WORLD CUP, RUGBY WORLD CUP 2011, RWC, RWC 2011, the Rugby World Cup "filleted fish" device and the Webb Ellis Cup design are trade marks of Rugby World Cup Limited and are registered in territories around the world'.

They then claim:

"The use or misuse of these trade marks or any materials, except as permitted herein and including without limitation use as a domain name or as part of a domain name, is expressly prohibited".

Gosh, let's test that out: RWC, Rugby World Cup etc, etc.

Oh my gawd! I'm now a criminal!

But wait, the best is yet to come...

They claim that you must not frame the contents of the RWC website. Fair enough -- that *is* an unreasonable leverage of someone else's intellectual property so I'm happy with that.

They also claim you may not use any meta-tags or hidden text containing the RWC trademarks. That's also reasonably fair -- but if, as in the case of this column, I wanted *my* work indexed so as to indicate that it is a work which is related to the RWC then I say "stuff you". The RWC has no right to try and control how I choose to have my own content indexed by the search-engines.

They should have worded this so as to prohibit "passing off", not tried to claim a blanket ban on meta-tags.

And now we get to the really daft stuff:

"You may not use the words "Rugby World Cup", any RWC logo or International Rugby Board logo or other proprietary graphic or trade mark as any button or link to the site without express written permission from the appropriate owner in each case".

What the?

The above claim would mean that this: Rugby World Cup, is not allowed. Grow a brain people!

Do they really think that anyone who wants to link to the RWC website using one of the trademarked terms owned by the RWC will really apply for written permission before doing so?

Cue Tui's ad!

And here's the final bit of utter stupidity and naivety from the RWC:

"It is the policy of RWC not to permit links to the site (including so-called "deep links" to pages of the site other than the homepage) without the prior written permission of RWC"

Oh dear -- at the start of this column I linked to the disclaimer page from which I've been quoting. Am I in trouble -- since that is clearly what they classify as a "deep" link, being a page other than the homepage?

Now, if the RWC had half a brain then they'd have simply stated, in plain English:

"All the content on this website (except when otherwise stated) belongs to us and therefore may not be redistributed or used for any commercial gain without our expressed permission. Nor may anyone attempt to "pass off" any content on this website by way of deceptive linking or framing"

That pretty much sums everything up (in a single paragraph rather than a very long webpage) and is all that they can legally enforce anyway.

In reading this page, and looking at the other oppressive strategies used by the RWC, one can't help but get the impression that this is the kind of business that would simply not be tolerated if it weren't the nation's national sport.

Can you imagine Vodafone, Mobil, IBM or any other multinational corporate being legally allowed to exert the kind of muscle over NZers and NZ businesses that the RWC has?

Given the way the RWC is being allowed to trample on the commercial rights and individual freedoms of NZers, how the hell can it also qualify for a huge taxpayer hand-out?

Is it a commercial enterprise? Is it a sport? Or is it some kind of cult?

Well now that the forums are *FINALLY* up and running again but you'll have to re-register. Go log-in and have your say on this one.

Are the RWC living in a dream-world in respect to the draconian restrictions they are trying to place on the use of their name and links to their website?

Remember the word "aardvarkrox" when you go to sign up for the new forums (yeah, I know I haven't customised it yet but bear with me ;-)

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