Football chiefs have asked for 58 takedown notices to be issued to more than 100 Twitter users, claiming they are pirating copyrighted images of the official logo.
Twitter declined to confirm whether the users had been notified, however, its policy on trademark violations means accounts can be suspended where there is “clear intent” to “mislead” others. Four of the six named accounts seen by Marketing Week have pulled the image or axed the profile outright.
A spokeswoman for FIFA said: “Aside from this, unfortunately we are not in a position to provide individual feedback on each potential activity in connection with the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In general however, we ask companies to respect the exclusivity to brand association with the FIFA World Cup that FIFA has granted to its Commercial Affiliates by avoiding activities that might create a commercial association and/or seek promotional exposure around the tournament.”
The takedown notices were issued under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which gives sites like Twitter protection against lawsuits relating to copyright infringement from its users – providing it does not knowingly tolerate pirated material.
FIFA’s clamp down has echoes of the approach by the London 2012 organising committee Locog to protect its sponsors’ exclusive rights. Organisers were quick to curb unauthorised activity in and around venues and online, causing some observers to criticise the practices as heavyhanded.
Football officials are said to have learnt from the ambush stunts around the last Olympics and have put in place additional measures to prevent similar non-sponsor activity in the coming weeks. This includes a ban on players wearing headphones not supplied by official sponsor Sony following Beats guerrilla marketing campaign two years ago.