Beijing Olympic organizers have pledged tough action against anyone illegally using the mascots of the 2008 Games.
Domain names of the five mascots have been reserved by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), according to a report on the committee's official website.
"Those who apply to register the domain names of the five Olympic mascots online will be refused at the very beginning," the report said.
Anybody trying to register sites with names deliberately similar to the five mascots "Beibei," "Jingjing," "Huanhuan," "Yingying" and "Nini" are acting illegally, according to sources with the legal affairs department of BOCOG.
"BOCOG will adopt legal actions, independently or with the International Olympic Committee overseas, if such illegal domain names are registered," the report said.
BOCOG has registered over 160 Olympic symbols including the five mascots. Nearly half the registered symbols are characters and words in Chinese and foreign languages.
"Anyone illegally using the Olympic mascots will be punished by law," sources with the legal affairs department of BOCOG said.
BOCOG registered copyright on the mascots at the Beijing Copyright Protection Centre just ahead of their unveiling ceremony on November 11.
The Beijing Bureau of Copyright will fight any behaviour that infringes the Olympic mascots' copyright to protect the legal interests of the copyright owner BOCOG, the bureau director Wang Yefei vowed.
However, some infringements have already been found.
At the Shiji Tianding market in Beijing's Chongwen District, unlicensed pictures of the mascots were seized on Tuesday by the local market watchdog and legal affairs department of BOCOG.
The sellers will be fined, sources with the industry and commerce authority said.
(China Daily November 24, 2005)