Athletes allowed to blog from Beijing, with restrictions

GENEVA -- Let the blogging begin.

The IOC has given athletes the right to blog at the Beijing Games this summer, a first for the Olympics, as long as they follow the many rules it set to protect copyright agreements, confidential information and security.

Blogging is a "legitimate form of personal expression," the International Olympic Committee said.

The IOC said blogs by athletes "should take the form of a diary or journal" and should not contain any interviews with other competitors at the games. They also should not write about other athletes.

"It is required that, when accredited persons at the games post any Olympic content, it be confined solely to their own personal Olympic-related experience," the IOC said.

The debate over blogging has been a difficult one for the IOC, which has been concerned that the online journals might infringe on copyright agreements or release confidential information during the Aug. 8-24 Beijing Olympics.

Bloggers are prevented from posting audio clips or videos of "any Olympic events, including sporting action, opening, closing and medal ceremonies or other activities which occur within any zone which requires an Olympic identity and accreditation card [or ticket] for entry."

Still pictures are allowed as long as they do not show Olympic events. Athletes must obtain the consent of their competitors if they wish to photograph them.

Also, athletes cannot use their blogs for commercial gain.

"No advertising and/or sponsoring may be visible on screen at the same time as Olympic content," the IOC said.

The IOC said accredited participants in the Olympics also "should not disclose any information ... which may compromise the security, staging and organization of the games." The same rule applies for the security of athletes' teams.

Domain names for blogs should not include any word similar to "Olympic" or "Olympics." Bloggers are, however, urged to link their blogs to official Olympic Web sites.