Thinking of using ‘London 2012′, ‘Olympic’ and ‘Paralympic’ in your marketing and social media campaigns to celebrate the 2012 Olympics for your business? Better think again.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, known as LOCOG , have put in place some very aggressive guidelines to protect the interests of the official sponsors. Two specific pieces of legislation, The Olympic Symbol (Protection) Act (1995) and the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act (2006), have been enacted solely to protect the Olympic sponsor’s brands in the marketing realm.

Is this squashing our freedom of speech? Let’s take a look at this from their side. To date the Olympic sponsors have put in over $700 million dollars to bring the games to London. Without these strict guidelines in place, any business could jump on the Olympic fever and use images, photos, videos and tweets/posts referencing the Olympics as if their business was one of the sponsors. Not so fair to the big businesses who have shelled out the money to bring the games to town.

So how do you protect your business when talking about the Olympics in your advertising and marketing? If you are planning to mention the upcoming London 2012 Games, we strongly recommend reading the London 2012’s UK statutory marketing rights and LOCOG’s London 2012 Brand Protection Guidelines. These two pieces were created by the Olympic committee to help non-sponsors understand what restrictions are in place regarding the use of the protected game’s marks.

And to stay in good graces with the Olympic Committee, by all means stay away from using these symbols. NO one needs a PR nightmare for misuse of copyrighted logos, when we’re all celebrating each country’s wins in the games.

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