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David v. Goliath: the gay games, the Olympics, and the ownership of language

Symons, Caroline and Warren, Ian 2006, David v. Goliath: the gay games, the Olympics, and the ownership of language, Entertainment and sports law journal, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 1-12.

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Title David v. Goliath: the gay games, the Olympics, and the ownership of language
Author(s) Symons, Caroline
Warren, Ian
Journal name Entertainment and sports law journal
Volume number 4
Issue number 1
Start page 1
End page 12
Publisher Warwick School of Law, University of Warwick
Place of publication Coventry, England
Publication date 2006
ISSN 1748-944X
Summary The Gay Games is firmly established on the contemporary global sports calendar, but is seldom canvassed in mainstream sports media, or considered a model for sports administrators. This is regrettable, as the Games’ ethos offers many clues into the relationships between individual and communal empowerment for homosexual and heterosexual participants alike, while providing a site of resistance against entrenched norms of elitism, nationalism, victory and record-breaking indicative of the modern Olympic movement. Credit for this inclusive ethos rests with the vision of inaugural Gay Games organiser Dr. Tom Waddell. Drawing on Games archives, this paper outlines Waddell’s vision, then discusses the impact of a protracted legal dispute instigated by the United States Olympic Committee in 1982 over the use of the term ‘Olympics’ in association with Gay Games I and II. Four United States Federal court rulings are examined, with particular reference to the contrasting hierarchy of private intellectual property and public civil rights considered under United States law of the time. Domestic and international legacies of the dispute are also briefly examined, focusing on the inherent tensions between the state-sanctioned protection of Olympic terminology, the ideals of free speech, the ownership of common sporting terms, and the potential discriminatory effects of selective trademark enforcement. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of how Waddell’s vision superseded each of these legal technicalities to ensure the Games continues to provide a viable model for inclusive and engaged participation for all people.


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Language eng
Field of Research 180115 Intellectual Property Law
Socio Economic Objective 970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2006, University of Warwick, School of Law
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30008998

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.