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No Olympic Web-coverage for ten years

That's two million years in Internet time

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Sports fans will have to wait at least ten years to view the Olympics on the Net, thanks to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

In a World Wide Web shrinking exercise, sites will not be allowed to carry video and audio of the Olympic Games until they can guarantee that only surfers in the same country as the site have access to the content.

During this year's Sydney Olympics the IOC was so keen not to jeopardise its big bucks agreements with broadcasters that it hired a team to patrol the Internet for suspect sites, threatening legal action against any caught spewing out unauthorised coverage. The IOC now says it doesn't plan to switch this policy until after the 2010 Winter Olympics, the BBC reports.

"For the games in 2004, 6 and 8, broadcast rights and internet rights have been granted to particular broadcasters in particular territories," IOC marketing chief Dick Pound told punters at this morning's IOC World Conference on Sport and New Media.

"Unless and until you can guarantee your internet signal is only available within your territory, you cannot put video on your website," he said. "We're going to go forward with that and we're going to see how it evolves."

The IOC is currently hosting a two-day conference on sport and new media in Lausanne, Switzerland. ®

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