Boo, hiss: The Olympic committee has a rule banning GIFs of the Rio games

We feel your pain, Neymar.
We feel your pain, Neymar.
Image: AP Photo/Eraldo Peres
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Don’t expect to see moments from the Rio Olympics immortalized in GIFs this year, like the one of the flawless vault by gymnast McKayla Maroney that dominated the internet when it was snipped during the London games in 2012.

News organizations are barred from making GIFs and Vine-like videos of the Olympics this year, according to the rules of the International Olympic Committee. The ban applies to any animated formats including ”animated GIFs (i.e. GIFV), GFY, WebM, or short video formats such as Vines and others,” the IOC says.

The rule is meant to protect broadcasters—including NBC in the US—that shelled out billions for the exclusive rights to air the Olympic games and produce coverage of them.

Worried that audiences won’t tune in for official Olympic broadcasts if they can get the footage elsewhere at their beck and call, the committee also forbids news organizations from broadcasting Olympic media on video-on-demand platforms and on any “interactive services” that aren’t part of a news program.

The IOC’s concerns are understandable in this increasingly fragmented media landscape. But this is the Olympics we’re talking about. GIFs are an ideal way to encapsulate and easily share a pristine performance or royal fumble—and GIFs were all the rage during the last summer games.

Naturally, the internet is mourning its loss …

… and plotting its next move.

The ruling really shouldn’t be a shock to many, though. It was first announced in May 2015, when the IOC said it owns the rights to all Rio Olympic events. It also said rights-holding broadcasters were the only ones allowed to share sound or moving images with Olympic content.