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Book Review: “The Little Prince”

The Little Prince (French: Le Petit Prince ; French pronunciation: [lə pəti pʁɛ̃s] ), first published in 1943, is a novella, the most famous work of French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry(1900–1944).

The novella is the fourth most-translated book in the world and was voted the best book of the 20th century in France. Translated into more than 250 languages and dialects (as well as Braille), selling nearly two million copies annually with sales totaling over 140 million copies worldwide, it has become one of the best-selling books ever published.

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After the outbreak of the Second World War Saint-Exupéry was exiled to North America. In the midst of personal upheavals and failing health, he produced almost half of the writings for which he would be remembered, including a tender tale of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss, in the form of a young prince fallen to Earth. An earlier memoir by the author had recounted his aviation experiences in the Sahara Desert, and he is thought to have drawn on those same experiences in The Little Prince .

Since its first publication in the United States, the novella has been adapted to numerous art forms and media, including audio recordings, radio plays, live stage, film, television, ballet, and operatic works.

The Little Prince is a poetic tale, with watercolour illustrations by the author, in which a pilot stranded in the desert meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The story is philosophical and includes social criticism, remarking on the strangeness of the adult world. It was written during a period when Saint-Exupéry fled to North America subsequent to the Fall of France during the Second World War, witnessed first hand by the author and captured in his memoir Flight to Arras . The adult fable, according to one review, is actually “…an allegory of Saint-Exupéry’s own life—his search for childhood certainties and interior peace, his mysticism, his belief in human courage and brotherhood, and his deep love for his wife Consuelo but also an allusion to the tortured nature of their relationship.”

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Though ostensibly styled as a children’s book, The Little Prince makes several observations about life and human nature. For example, Saint-Exupéry tells of a fox meeting the young prince during his travels on Earth. The story’s essence is contained in the lines uttered by the fox to the little prince: “One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eyes.” Other key thematic messages are articulated by the fox, such as: “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” and “It is the time you have lost for your rose that makes your rose so important.” The fox’s messages are arguably the book’s most famous quotations because they deal with human relationships.

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The narrator explains that, as a young boy, he once drew a picture of a boa constrictor with an elephant digesting in its stomach; however, every adult who saw the picture would mistakenly interpret it as a drawing of a hat. Whenever the narrator would try to correct this confusion, he was ultimately advised to set aside drawing and take up a more practical or mature hobby. The narrator laments the lack of creative understanding displayed by adults. As noted by the narrator, he could have had a great career as a painter, but this opportunity was crushed by the misunderstanding of the adults.

"The Little Prince", presented by Harmony Theatre Company and School at Rarig Proscenium. Photo: Dave Stagner.

Now an adult himself, the narrator has become a pilot, and, one day, his plane crashes in the Sahara, far from civilization. Here, the narrator is greeted by a young boy whom he refers to as “the little prince”. The little prince asks the narrator to draw a sheep. The narrator first shows him his old picture of the elephant inside the snake, which, to the narrator’s surprise, the prince interprets correctly. After three failed attempts at drawing a sheep, the narrator simply draws a box in his frustration, claiming that the box holds a sheep inside. Again, to the narrator’s surprise, the prince exclaims that this is exactly the picture he wanted. The narrator says that the prince has a strange habit of avoiding directly answering any of the narrator’s questions. The prince is described as having golden hair, a scarf, and a lovable laugh.

Over the course of eight days stranded in the desert, as the narrator attempts to repair his plane, the little prince recounts the story of his life, often caused by his discussion of the sheep. The prince begins by describing life on his tiny home planet: in effect, an asteroid the size of a house (the asteroid was “named” B-612; a real asteroid was named after the fictional asteroid). The asteroid’s most prominent features are three minuscule volcanoes (two active, and one dormant or extinct) as well as a variety of plants. The prince describes spending his earlier days cleaning the volcanoes and weeding unwanted seeds and sprigs that infest his planet’s soil; in particular, pulling out baobab trees that are constantly trying to grow and overrun the surface. The prince wants a sheep to eat the undesirable plants, until the narrator informs him that a sheep will even eat roses with thorns. Upon hearing this, the prince tells of his love for a mysterious rose that began growing on the asteroid’s surface some time ago. The prince says he nourished the rose and listened to her when she told him to make a screen or glass globe to protect her from the cold wind. Although the prince fell in love with the rose, he also began to feel that she was taking advantage of him, and he resolved to leave the planet to explore the rest of the universe. Although the rose finally apologized for her vanity, and the two reconciled, she encouraged him to go ahead with his journey and so he traveled onward. The prince misses his rose, and claims that he only needs to look at the millions of stars to be reminded of his rose, since his rose is among one of them.

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The prince has since visited six other asteroids, each of which was inhabited by a single, narrow-minded adult, each meant to critique an element of society. They include: a king with no subjects; a vain man, who believes himself the most admirable person on his otherwise uninhabited planet; a drunkard who drinks to forget the shame of being a drunkard; a businessman who endlessly counted the stars in order to “own” them all (critiquing materialism); a lamplighter who blindly follows orders by extinguishing and relighting a lamp once a minute; and an elderly geographer, who had no maps of the world he was mapping because he claimed not to be an explorer. When the geographer asked the prince to describe his home, the prince mentioned the rose, and the geographer explained that he does not record “ephemeral” things, such as roses. The prince was shocked and hurt by the revelation. The geographer recommended that the prince next visit the planet Earth.

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Since the prince landed in a desert, he believed that Earth was uninhabited. He then met a yellow snake that claimed to have the power to return him to his home, if he ever wished to return. The prince next met a desert flower, who told him that she had only seen a handful of men in this part of the world and that they had no roots, letting the wind blow them around and living hard lives. After climbing the highest mountain he had ever seen, the prince hoped to see the whole of Earth, thus finding the people; however, he saw only the enormous, desolate landscape. When the prince called out, his echo answered him, which he interpreted as the mocking voices of others. Eventually, the prince encountered a whole row of rosebushes, becoming downcast at having once thought that his own rose was unique. He began to feel that he was not a great prince at all, as his planet contained only three tiny volcanoes and a flower that he now thought of as common. He lay down in the grass and wept, until a fox came along. The fox desired to be tamed and explained to the prince that his rose really was indeed unique and special, because she was the object of the prince’s love. The fox also explained that, in a way, the prince had tamed the rose, and that this is why the prince was now feeling so responsible for her. The prince then took time to tame the fox, though the two were sad to have to part ways. The prince next came across a railway switchman, who told him how passengers constantly rushed from one place to another aboard trains, never satisfied with where they were and not knowing what they were after; only the children among them ever bothered to look out the windows. A merchant then talked to the prince about his product, a pill that eliminated thirst, which was very popular, saving people fifty-three minutes a week. The prince replied that he would instead gladly use that extra time to go around finding fresh water.

Back in the present moment, it is the eighth day after the narrator’s plane-crash and the narrator is dying of thirst; miraculously, he and the prince find a well. The narrator later finds the prince talking to the snake, discussing his return home and eager to see his rose again, who he worries has been left to fend for herself. The prince bids an emotional farewell to the narrator and states that if it looks as though he has died, it is only because his body was too heavy to take with him to his planet. The prince warns the narrator not to watch him leave, as it will make him upset. The narrator, realizing what will happen, refuses to leave the prince’s side; the prince consoles the narrator by saying that he only need look at the stars to think of the prince’s lovable laughter, and that it will seem as if all the stars are laughing. The prince then walks away from the narrator and allows the snake to bite him, falling without making a sound.

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The next morning, the narrator tries to look for the prince, but is unable to find his body. The story ends with the narrator’s drawing of the landscape where the prince and the narrator met and where the snake took the prince’s life. The narrator requests that anyone in that area encountering a small young man who refuses to answer questions should contact the narrator immediately.

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Book Review: “And Then There Were None”

And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by English writer Agatha Christie, widely considered her masterpiece and described by her as the most difficult of her books to write. It was first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 6 November 1939, as Ten Little Niggers , after the British blackface song, which serves as a major plot point. The US edition was not released until December 1939; its American reprints and adaptations were all retitled And Then There Were None , the last five words in the original American version of the nursery rhyme (“Ten Little Indians”).

In the novel, a group of people are lured into coming to an island under different pretexts, e.g., offers of employment, to enjoy a late summer holiday, or to meet old friends. All have been complicit in the deaths of other human beings, but either escaped justice or committed an act that was not subject to legal sanction. The guests and two servants who are present are “charged” with their respective “crimes” by a gramophone recording after dinner the first night, and informed that they have been brought to the island to pay for their actions. They are the only people on the island, and cannot escape due to the distance from the mainland and the inclement weather, and gradually all ten are killed in turn, each in a manner that seems to parallel the deaths in the nursery rhyme. Nobody else seems to be left alive on the island by the time of the apparent last death. A confession, in the form of a postscript to the novel, unveils how the killings took place and who was responsible.

It is Christie’s best-selling novel; with more than 100 million copies sold, it is also the world’s best-selling mystery and one of the best-selling books of all time. Publications International lists the novel as the seventh best-selling title.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 03/12/2015 - Programme Name: And Then There Were None - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Fred Narracott (CHRISTOPHER HATHERALL), General Macarthur (SAM NEILL), Philip Lombard (AIDEN TURNER), Dr Armstrong (TOBY STEPHENS), William Blore (BURN GORMAN), Judge Wargrave (CHARLES DANCE), Vera Claythorne (MAEVE DERMODY) - (C) Mammoth Screen - Photographer: Robert Viglasky

On a hot, late August day sometime in the late 1930s, eight people arrive on Soldier Island (Indian Island in some versions, Nigger Island in the original 1939 version), a small, isolated island off the Devon coast of England. Each appears to have an invitation tailored to his or her personal circumstances, such as an offer of employment or an unexpected late summer holiday. They are met by Thomas and Ethel Rogers, the butler and cook/housekeeper, who state that their hosts, Mr Ulick Norman Owen and his wife Mrs Una Nancy Owen, have not yet arrived.

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A framed copy of a nursery rhyme, “Ten Little Niggers” (“Ten Little Indians” or “Ten Little Soldiers” in later editions), hangs in every guest’s room, and ten figurines sit on the dining room table. After supper, a gramophone (or “phonograph”) record is played; it contains a recording that describes each visitor in turn, accuses each of having committed murder but escaping justice, and then asks if any of “the accused” wishes to offer a defence. All but Anthony Marston and Philip Lombard deny the charges, and Miss Brent refuses to discuss the matter with men present.

They discover that none of them actually knows the Owens and conclude that the name “U.N. Owen” is shorthand for “Unknown”. In the aftermath of the recording, Marston finishes his drink and immediately dies from cyanide poisoning. The remaining guests notice that one of the ten figurines is now broken, and the nursery rhyme appears to reflect the manner of death (“One choked his little self and then there were nine”).

The next morning, Mrs Rogers’ corpse is found in her bed; she had died in her sleep from an overdose of chloral hydrate. By lunchtime, General MacArthur is found dead, from a heavy blow to his head. Two more figurines are found to be broken, and again the deaths parallel the rhyme. Miss Brent relates the account of her presumed charge to Vera Claythorne, the only other remaining woman.

A search for “Mr Owen” shows that nobody else is on the island except the remaining seven. The island is a “bare rock” with no hiding places, and no one could have arrived or left; thus, they uncomfortably conclude that any one of the seven remaining persons is the killer. Justice Wargrave leads the group in determining that as of yet, none of them can definitively be ruled out as the murderer. The next morning, Rogers is found dead while chopping wood, and after breakfast, Miss Brent is found dead in the kitchen, where she had been left alone after complaining of feeling unwell; she had been injected with potassium cyanide via a hypodermic needle.

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Wargrave then suggests searching all the rooms, and any potentially dangerous items they can think of are locked up. However, Philip Lombard’s gun is missing from his room. When Vera goes upstairs to take a bath, she is shocked by the touch of seaweed left hanging from the ceiling of her room and screams; the remaining guests rush upstairs to her room. Wargrave, however, is still downstairs. The others find him seated, immobile and crudely dressed up in the attire of a judge. Wargrave is examined briefly by Dr Armstrong and pronounced dead from a gunshot to the forehead.

That night, Lombard appears surprised when he finds his gun returned to his room. Ex-inspector William Blore catches a glimpse of someone leaving the house but loses the trail. He then discovers Armstrong is absent from his room, and the remaining three guests conclude he must be the killer. Vera, Blore, and Lombard decide to stay together at all times. In the morning, they unsuccessfully attempt to signal SOS to the mainland from outside by using a mirror and sunlight. Blore then decides to return to the house for food and is killed by a heavy bear-shaped clock statue that falls from Vera’s window sill.

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Vera and Lombard are now confident that Armstrong is the killer. However, shortly afterwards, Vera and Lombard come upon Armstrong’s body washed up on the beach, which they do not immediately recognize due to decomposition. They both realise he could not have killed Blore. Panicked, each concludes the other must be the killer.

Quickly regaining her composure, Vera suggests moving the doctor’s body past the shore, but this is a pretext. She manages to lift Lombard’s gun. When Lombard lunges at her to get it back, she shoots and kills him. She returns to the house in a shaken dreamlike state, relieved to be alive. She finds a noose and chair arranged in her room, and a strong smell of the sea. With visions of her former lover, Hugo, urging her on, in a post-traumatic state, she adjusts the noose and kicks the chair out from under her.

Two Scotland Yard officials are puzzled by the identity of U.N. Owen. Although they can reconstruct the deaths from Marston to Wargrave with the help of the victims’ diaries and a coroner’s careful report, they are forced to conclude that “U.N. Owen” was one of the victims, but are unable to determine which one.

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Postscript by the killer

In a postscript, a fishing ship picks up a bottle inside its trawling nets; the bottle contains a written confession of the killings, which is then sent to Scotland Yard. It is not mentioned how long after the killings the bottle was discovered.

In the confession, Justice Wargrave states that he has long wished to set an unsolvable puzzle of murder, but is morally limited to victims who are themselves guilty and deserving of such an end. He explains how he tricked the gullible Armstrong into helping him fake his own death under the pretext that it would supposedly to give him freedom to help the group identify the killer, and also explains that after Vera died, he placed the chair in her room neatly, and used the gun and some elastic to ensure his own death matched the account in the guests’ diaries.

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He also describes how his first chronological victim was actually Isaac Morris, the sleazy lawyer and drugs trafficker who anonymously purchased the island and arranged the invitations on his behalf. Morris was poisoned before Wargrave departed for the island. Wargrave’s intention is that when the police arrive they will find ten bodies, with evidence that someone had been alive after each death, but nobody else on the island, and no way to trace the killer through his invitations or preparations. He states that, although there are hints that could guide them to the correct killer, he believes the police will be left perplexed.

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From strip clubs to sports halls: the reinvention of pole dancing

“It is,” says the man standing next to me, leaning on the railings and watching a woman spin and twist on a pole, “a bit like being in Spearmint Rhino.” Admittedly, I’ve never been to the chain of strip clubs, but I’m pretty sure this is nothing like it. This is the World Pole Sports Championships, and we’re in a sweltering sports hall in the middle of the day, and the audience sitting on the spectators’ benches are mostly wearing tracksuits. And I’ve just spent the morning watching children perform pole routines.

Watching 12-year-olds climb a pole, wearing small, sparkly costumes and performing spins and holds – often with their legs wide open – is uncomfortable, despite the growing professionalism of this sport. It is true that it is not dissimilar to gymnastics – with routines performed to music, glittery costumes and makeup, and legs-spread moves – but gymnastics doesn’t have the baggage. Can pole sports ever leave this behind?

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“There has been an incredible change,” says KT Coates, president of the International Pole Sports Federation, which is holding the championships in Crystal Palace, south London. “People’s attitudes have changed so much – they are much more open and I haven’t really had any negativity.” In the 90s, Coates was a dancer at the Raymond Revue bar, and later at clubs in Japan, and taught herself pole dancing because it could earn her more money. “I realised I was quite good at it. I ended up trying to sort my life out, came home and went to drama school. Part of being a resting actor is you had to have something else to do, so I set up a pole for a fitness class.”

It was difficult in the beginning, she says. “I couldn’t get any fitness studios [to take the classes on]. People were slamming down the phone on me and telling me I was disgusting.” But pole dancing classes started to take off. For a while, you couldn’t go to a hen party without being expected to gyrate around a pole in a class, and many feminists were riled by an offshoot from the sex industry making it into the mainstream. Coates wants to see pole sport included in the Olympics, although she admits that is probably a long way off. It isn’t yet recognised by SportAccord, the umbrella body for sports federations, but Coates says that is “only around the corner”.

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It is incredibly demanding, she says. “You’re using muscles of your entire body. You get very strong. You can tell it’s becoming a sport by the physiques of the athletes. When we started, it used to be quite slim girls. Now most of the athletes are incredibly muscular. You have to have every element to win – flexibility, strength, choreography. It is tough.” Last year there were five male competitors, and this year there are 25. As we talk, two men from the Chilean team take to the stage for the doubles event – the first time two men have competed together. They swing and spin, muscles tightening.

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There are rules aimed at moving pole sport away from its strip-club shadows – costumes can’t be too skimpy, and there are no sexualised moves (no gyrating, hair flicking or grinding). “If someone got on stage and did that, the whole crowd would be in shock,” says Coates. “We’re not embarrassed of our history, it’s just that [pole sport] is a polar opposite.”

Are there competitors here who work in strip clubs? “No. I don’t know a single one. These are athletes. You are not going to get someone who does exotic dance doing the world sports championships – it just does not overlap. We have the same apparatus, but it’s not the same thing.”

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But there is an overlap. I wander around the sponsors’ merchandise stalls, where you can buy tops with “pole dancer” or “sexy” written across the front. Doesn’t that undermine the efforts Coates is putting in to get away from the strip-club history? “The fact is that nobody [else] will sponsor us because of the stigma attached. Everybody is too scared to take that step.”

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Elise Lander is used to hearing comments that she is a pole dancer, but she says she hears fewer of them these days. “If that’s what people want to think, that’s their decision. If they don’t want to understand what I do, it’s their problem.” Lander and her sporting partner, Vendi Andersson, are competing in the doubles category for Norway. She started pole sport in 2010; Andersson three years ago. “Originally, I wanted to dance, and I found a pole course. I went, and I was sold. I like that it challenges every aspect of my body – strength, flexibility and endurance, and the creativity of making a routine,” says Lander, who is a student and also works as a pole instructor. “I used to do climbing,” says Andersson, who is a nuclear scientist, “and I started doing pole because it’s the same upper-body strength, but I had to work on the dance part. It builds a lot of strength and you can make it very challenging.”

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It was the difficulty that encouraged Serokurov Hennadiy, who is from Ukraine and competing in the men’s event, to take up pole five years ago. “I was a dancer and I liked this sport. I like the combination of power with dance.” He knows of only about 10 other men in Ukraine who do pole sport. “Many people think it is just for women. Or they think pole sport is strip dancing. I say all the time it’s not a dance from nightclubs. It’s difficult and, if you don’t believe it, you can try it.”

In the novices category, for children aged between 10 and 14, I watch 11-year old Paige Olson. She is graceful and strong, climbing the pole effortlessly and performing dizzying upside-down spins. At one point she holds her body, straight and rigid, away from the pole with both hands, and the audience claps. She is amazing to watch. Afterwards, I find her and her parents and, up close, swamped in a tracksuit, Olson is tiny. Over the course of the weekend, she will go on to win her category and become the world-record holder but, right now, she is hot and tired.

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Olson started pole when she was nine, after a teacher at her dance class suggested it. Her ambition, she says, is to make it to the Olympics, and she is serious – she is home-schooled so that she can train six days a week and go to competitions. How did her parents feel about her taking on pole sport? “At first I wasn’t keen because of the stigma attached to it,” says Ivan, her father. “But then I saw how gymnastics-like it is, [unlike] the erotic side [that people imagine], and I became an instant advocate. I want to try to change the image of it, and I think it is changing.” He has to constantly explain to friends, colleagues and family what his daughter is doing. “People refer to it as ‘pole dancing’ and we have to correct them.” As he says this, over his shoulder I can see an advert from one of the clothing stands that has a picture of a woman, arched back and bottom sticking out, wearing a pair of plasticky high heels.

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Do Olson’s parents have to be wary about how their daughter is portrayed? “We try to always have a costume that covers her belly, and we don’t put her in teeny shorts,” says her mother, Jennifer. “Everything is age-appropriate – not too much makeup. I talked to her about it, and she is aware of the other side of pole. If she hears any negative comments, I just say those people don’t understand. Usually when people see it, it changes their opinion.” I point out the advert behind her, where the imagery is all strip club, not Olympic sport. She makes a small grimace. “I don’t like the heels.”

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Optus EPL fail: Aussie sports fans deserve better

As English Premier League fans suffer at the hands of Optus, the ACCC needs to intervene when broadcasters and telcos can’t deliver on their streaming sports promises.

Having endured Seven’s flaky Olympics streaming app, Aussie sports fans were in for another rude shock on the weekend when Optus’ new EPL streaming service left them locked out of the match.

Many subscribers reported appalling picture quality, regular crashes by the smartphone app and difficulty logging into the service — even on Saturday night when the Leicester City v Hull City match was simulcast on SBS.

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Sunday night’s clash between Manchester United and Bournemouth was only available on Optus Sport, with unhappy fans venting their anger at the telco on Facebook and Twitter under the #OptusOut hashtag. One interruption early in the match was due to a technical fault with the feed from the ground, over which Optus has no control, but that doesn’t excuse all the difficulties that fans experienced trying to watch the EPL over the weekend.

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The ACCC recently announced an inquiry into the inability of Australian ISPs to reliably deliver on their speed promises, but this needs to be expanded to cover broadcasters and telcos like Seven and Optus locking away streaming rights when they’re clearly not capable of delivering a service which is fit for purpose. Especially when EPL fans are forced to sign up as an Optus customer if they want to see their team play live each week, but then can’t watch the match.

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It doesn’t bode well for Australian sports fans when broadcasters are pushing streaming video as the future but they can’t be trusted with high-profile events like the Olympics and English Premier League. Imagine if the AFL was at stake, you can be sure heads would roll within days. All sporting fans deserve the same respect.

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EPL fans also complained about the 60-second delay on the stream, meaning that social media was alerting them to goals before they saw the action on the screen. Unfortunately that’s the nature of video streaming, it’s never going to be in sync with a traditional broadcast service — the best you can hope for is a 30-second lag.

Some people will want to blame the country’s hotchpotch broadband infrastructure for Optus’ streaming woes but the connection to your house isn’t the problem here — the problem is that the streaming services aren’t investing enough in their apps and streaming infrastructure to meet demand. Just like #CensusFail, they have a responsibility to be prepared when millions of Australians turn up on their doorstep.

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Fetch TV proved that it can be done right, with the Optus Sport EPL streaming channels on the Fetch TV set-top boxes performing much better than the Optus Sport smartphone app over the weekend.

Experience clearly counts, as Fetch TV has been streaming IPTV channels for years and is using the new bandwidth-efficient HEVC video codec to offer a better picture on slow internet connections. Right now Fetch TV is looking like the big winner out of all this, with EPL fans likely to rush out and buy a Fetch TV Mini or Mighty set-top box.

The ACCC shouldn’t tolerate broadcasters and telcos treating some sports fans as second-class citizens. Were you struck by Seven and Optus’ streaming woes? Do you expect your money back?

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The Olympic Trademark And Its Effect On Brands

It has come as somewhat of a shock to many that the IOC (the International Olympic Committee) and the USOC (the United States Olympic Committee) have warned both athletes and non-sponsoring businesses against using Olympic trademarks on social media and in their content marketing campaigns.

Not surprisingly, many people feel as if they have taken part in the Olympics since the whole world watches the games. However, the USOC and lOC are now attempting to increase the value of their sponsorships.

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From now on, these two organizations will challenge any commercial entity that uses Olympic intellectual property without having expressed official permission. From their standpoint, by making it harder to secure use of these trademarks, phrases, and images, the Olympic brand will be strengthened.

In fact, according to ESPN, even websites who are reporting on the Olympic activities are feeling the effects of the USOC crackdown.

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Some might say that the Olympic has become a forbidden topic. According to Adweek words and phrases such as Rio 2016, Road to Rio, Olympic, Olympian, Paralympic are all off limits unless you have secured the proper licensing. This also includes words that are melded together such as Grade school-Olympics . These words are not to be used in hashtags, photos, or even memes.

Let’s say a non-sponsoring consumer brand for example, whose social media accounts are handled by someone who wants to share the results of a given competition. This person decides to Tweet out a message under the brand’s Twitter handle.

From the Official Guidelines:

“Commercial entities whose primary purpose is the sale of goods or services unrelated to disseminating the news cannot use USOC trademarks under the pretext of editorial content. For example, a soft drink company might post “current news” on its website; however, it is not a media company and its primary business is selling soft drinks. Therefore, it may not use USOC trademarks or report on the Games without permission from the USOC.”

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As you can imagine, if instituted, these new rules would have a phenomenal impact on social media and content marketing today. Let’s face it; there are not many bloggers who would be willing to pay licensing fees just to use a certain Olympic phrase. That means that this very post would be considered in violation of the new rules.

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Can The IOC Do This?

This leaves us with two major questions:

1. Can these rules actually be enforced?

2. Does the IOC really have the ability to enforce rules and regulations of this magnitude?

Though it may be easy to shrug this idea off as just a passing proposal, we must keep in mind that the IOC does have a substantial amount of power. They have the ability to decide where the games will be held, and they prefer countries that strictly enforce Olympic trademark laws.

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Moreover, according to attorney Gregory Herrman of Herrman & Herrman, “considering that there are certain countries that hack into and destroy websites that do not follow regulations, enforcement should not be very difficult. Even in the U.S., the USOC can sue any entity who attempts to use its trademarks and symbols for commercial gain.”

These rules and regulations have been around for quite some time. However, we have yet to see them enforced when it comes to social media and content marketing. As of right now, the savvy business owner would be very wise to make sure that their content remained within the proper parameters.

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It is best to adhere to copyright laws. This also means that if they want to ensure that they are within their rights, it may be in their best interest to secure legal counsel who specializes in both social media and the sports arena.

There are certain loopholes that you may be able to slide, though. For example, words and phrases such as revived Grecian Games and Olympiad are not on any of the ICC’s or the USOC’s proscribed lists–though you should be very carefully when making your final decision.

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There are several social media and content marketing experts who initially encouraged the idea of using the Olympic Games in online strategies. However, they are now starting to backtrack and advice against this. Some even go so far as to advise that people stay away from Olympic topics entirely.

Though these regulations are strict, there are certain outlets which are free to use the phrases and trademarks. These are the mainstream news channels.

Sure, there will be several websites who suddenly decide to add a “Sports” section to their website or blog. Hopefully, they will be kind of enough to let the rest of us know how it all turns out in the end. After they pay their fines, of course.