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Exclusive rights issue at stake

8/20/2004

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's re-election campaign will
continue to run a television ad that mentions the Olympics by name,
despite objections from the U.S. Olympic Committee, a spokesman
said Friday.

"We are on firm legal ground to mention the Olympics and make a
factual point in a political advertisement," said Scott Stanzel.

USOC officials had protested that federal law gives them the
exclusive rights to the name.

The ad shows a swimmer and the flags of Iraq and Afghanistan.

"In 1972, there were 40 democracies in the world. Today, 120,"
an announcer says. "Freedom is spreading throughout the world like
a sunrise. And this Olympics there will be two more free nations.
And two fewer terrorist regimes."

Bush campaign aides contend that the law in question gives the
committee exclusive rights only to use the Olympics name to sell
goods or services or to promote athletic competition. The campaign
avoided using the symbol of five rings in the ad, the aides said.

Stanzel said the ad will continue to run for the last two weeks
of August.

Meanwhile, Bush is watching the competition on television.

"The president has been following the Olympics and pulling for
all of our American athletes," White House press secretary Scott
McClellan said Friday in Texas, where Bush is staying at his ranch.

"He is keeping a close eye on team USA and watching it when he
can," the spokesman said.

As for the TV ad, Darryl Seibel, a spokesman for the U.S.
Olympic Committee, said the organization had contacted the Bush
campaign about the ad and was awaiting a reply.

Some of the players on the Iraqi Olympic soccer team have
complained about the ads.

The brand and concept of the Olympics belong to the
International Olympic Committee in general and to the USOC in the
United States.

An act of Congress, last revised in 1999, grants the USOC
exclusive rights to such terms as "Olympic," derivatives such as
"Olympiad" and the five interlocking rings. It also specifically
says the organization "shall be nonpolitical and may not promote
the candidacy of an individual seeking public office."