Rule 40

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Rule 40 is a by-law in the Olympic Charter stating that only approved sponsors may reference "Olympic-related terms".[1] It was introduced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to prevent so-called ambush marketing by companies who are not official sponsors and to sanction links between athletes and unofficial sponsors during a blackout period starting nine days before the opening of the Olympic Games and continuing until three days after the closing ceremony.[2][3]

Controversy sparked in the days before the 2016 Summer Olympics as rule 40 was upheld in an effort to prevent companies from retweeting anything from the official Olympic Twitter account, or use official hashtags such as #Rio2016 and #TeamUSA.[4][5] The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) sent letters to companies sponsoring individual athletes but with no official sponsorship designation with a warning that they might be infringing rights by using such hashtags or other trademarks owned by USOC.[6][7]


  1. ^ "Rio Olympics 2016: Athletes could face sanctions over controversial rule 40". BBC News. 27 July 2016. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  2. ^ Roberts, Daniel (3 August 2016). "Why the biggest business story of the Rio Olympics is this marketing rule change". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  3. ^ Taylor, Charles R. (4 August 2016). "Sponsorship And Advertising Trends In The 2016 Rio Olympic Games: Three Things To Watch For". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  4. ^ Kulp, Patrick. "The Olympic committee wants to ban non-sponsor brands from tweeting about the games". Mashable. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  5. ^ "Who can't tweet about #Rio2016?". BBC News. 31 July 2016. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  6. ^ Rovell, Darren (21 July 2016). "USOC warns non-Olympic sponsor companies". ESPN. Retrieved 2016-08-06.
  7. ^ Swanner, Nate (2016-07-27). "Olympic Committee may sue if brands use hashtags or images from Rio games". The Next Web. Retrieved 2016-08-06.