Olympics Bill changes are set to appease advertisers

The House of Lords has made three amendments to the Olympics Bill, which had previously met with strong opposition from the advertising industry.

The amended Bill confirms there will be no automatic presumption that the law has been broken, should advertisers use words or expressions on the Bill’s protected list such as “Games”.

Instead, the courts will consider whether the words have been used in an infringing fashion.

Of the other two amendments, one places a duty on the Government to consult with the industry before introducing restrictions on the location of advertising around Olympic venues; the other places a similar duty on the Government to consult on any changes to the list of protected words and expressions.

The amendments were made on Monday night.

Andrew Brown, the Advertising Association’s (AA) director general, says/ “These changes go a long way towards addressing the concerns expressed by the AA and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), as well as the wider advertising and media business.”

The amendments follow months of lobbying by the AA and IPA. Both had been concerned that the effect of certain provisions in the draft Bill would have meant that businesses that were not official sponsors of the Olympics would have been severely restricted from gaining any legitimate benefit from London hosting the Games, despite paying a significant proportion of the costs in taxes.

The Olympics Bill now returns to the House of Commons, where it is scheduled for its third and final reading on March 14.

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