Language is our tool for communication. We can use it well, or we can use it badly, but it is something we create and use, a democracy of sounds and scribbles.
We're seeing increasing attempts by big business to change all that. Spend enough money and you can make common words illegal. I was horrified to read about this in connection to the Olympics: The Independent, Marketing Week, Examiner and so on have all covered it. More commentary here, here and here. We've already had companies branding common words, taking ownership of them. Now we are seeing tentative attempts to ban use of common words to protect commercial interests. I recently read about an author whose children's fantasy novel included animals setting up the 'animal olympics'. He was told he would have to use a different word than 'olympics' because of the threat of litigation. Since when did a group gain ownership of an adjective for a place - Olympia - where games were held before corporations existed?