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Say hello to my local newsagent, Hamdy Shahein. He’s the guy on the left holding the unauthorised balloons.

Those in the know will know that Hamdy is one of the lynch-pins of our community. He likes to get in the spirit of things – and today, being the day the Olympic torch came through Stoke Newington, Hamdy put up some bunting and balloons to celebrate the event.

Hamdy tells me that he was visited this morning by a group of people, including police and trading standards officers, who told him to take down his bunting because it wasn’t official Olympic (TM) merchandise.

Perhaps I missed the copyright SWAT teams ordering bunting removed for the Jubilee.

Hackney Council’s “Olympic Trading Information” does not shed much light on the position – and it’s not clear to me whether Hamdy’s is in the “Olympic Trading Zone” in any event.

Meanwhile, Hamdy tells me he was fuming at what he felt was an extremely heavy-handed approach. Rather than be part of a celebration – he felt like shutting his shop down for the day.

I understand corporate entities wanting to protect their “brand”. I don’t understand why the police and my Council have a role in copyright enforcement for other entities.


See Anya Palmer’s Storify “Unauthorised Bunting in the Corporate Area“.

I promise, it will take your breath away.


I await IP law expert Jane Lambert‘s analysis with interest.

While Parliament can make any law it sees fit, I don’t recall this debate! Who voted for this?!