No domain names on Chinese Gold winning athletes

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Beijing, Aug 21 (UNI) The Chinese Olympic gold medal winners have become an 'instant icon' and the authorities have imposed a blanket ban on the issuance of internet domain names based on those athletes.

Only the athletes themselves will be allowed to register their names. According to the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) the move is aimed at preventing the commercial exploitation of sports people's name.

It is also an attempt to avoid the repeat of controversy, which erupted after 2004 Athens Games over the commercial use of the Chinese gold medal winners without their approval or permission.

The General Administration of Sports (GAS) has asked the concerned officials that all registration of domain names featuring the Chinese gold medallists be rejected.

The GAS provided CNNIC with a full list of China's Olympic team prior to the Games and had registered all available domain names for athletes in Chinese characters and in Pinyin.

''The move was to protect the interest of the Olympic gold medallists,'' CNNIC official Hua was quoted as saying. ''The domain names will be given free to them. Those who had registered before the GAS order can keep the domain but are advised to give it to the winners as a gift.'' According to Beijing News, the protection of domain names is especially difficult in China, where thousands of people share the same name or same spelling of their name in Pinyin.

It was reported that domain names featuring at least 10 gold medallists, including weightlifter Chen Xiexia and gymnast Yang Wei, were registered before the Games.

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