Cutting the thread that's getting too long.
Do I need to say IANAL? Well, IANAL.
On 1/6/06, Florence Devouard <anthere(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
I asked Soufron to give you an explanation of why it
would be best to
change the name "from a legal perspective".
His answer on juriwiki-l was :
"It's simply that we already lost a few major wikimania domain names. It
is also likely that our german friend begun registering wikimania tm in
There is a lot of uncertainty around the name wikimania, when choosing a
new one could help us ensure that everything will be right and fine. "
Yes, well, there may be a lot of uncertainty at this point, but a
Google search returns us more than anyone else. The press around
Wikimania gives us a headstart and some anteriority.
This is quite a short explanation, so I asked him if
he could detail
But the point is, I am not sure it is a good idea he explains further...
I will try to explain below, but I am not a lawyer, so maybe I will say
stupid things. If so, please correct me, it will allow me to understand
better as well :-)
As I understood, the Wikimania2006 and Wikimania2007 .org domains were
secured yesterday *in case* (by a wikipedian, on his/her own money).
Yes, they have, you can say it, a whois will return it anyway, I did
it. I love the name ;-).
And I'm not a wikipedian, I'm a wikimedian. :P
If we stick to this kind of idea (why not ?), that
means the domain
should be registered for many years to come [snip]
Yes, but then, the more we go in time and the more we use it, the less
interesting it is for people to "steal" the domain name, for they know
what it's used for. They can do it of course, but what's the point?
Bother us? As we grow, we're going to have more of those
cybersquatters (we already have a few) and at the most it will cost us
a couple hundred dollars to get the name back because they know they
can't win a suit if we decide to go that route.
Now, yes, the big question is "does it matter or
not that we own the
domain name ?" I invite the discussion on this.
If someone takes all the domain names in .org, .com, .whatever before
us, does that matter ?
I would say no. But then that's me. I believe that we will never avoid
cybersquatters, we cannot register every single domain that comes up
through our head.
Registering a name is not necessarily an easy business. It does not help
that it should be registered in several countries (I suppose that once
we are registered in USA, Europe, Canada etc... we would be somehow
covered), and I presume you would all agree the tm must be protected in
more than *just* the USA ? So, that implies several registrations... to
do each year (in advance).
Besides, registering is not "free", nor even low cost. It costs money,
it costs time for the one doing the registration and it takes time to
get the mark (about a year and a half at best it seems?). Will we do
that every year, to secure WikimaniaXXXX ? I do not think so.
Better not counting on it.
No no, we would *never* register the trademark Wikimania+year, that
makes absolutely no sense and I am not even sure it *can* be done. We
might want to register the trademark Wikimania of course, but even
that might not be so useful.
You have to remember that if registering a trademark is expensive for
us, it is also expensive for others. And while I can imagine that some
people would do it just to bother us, I don't think in the long run
that anyone would want to get into that kind of battle/money every
year, or on every trademark we're thinking about. There are things
such as priority, usage, anteriority etc. that will play in our favor.
The question is do we want to get into that battle in the first place.
That's a strategic decision. If we do it once, and win, we'll be cured
of these conversations and any cyber squatting for the rest of our
Let's go one step further : what if we decide to
ask the tm nevertheless
and someone else oppose it ? What about the costs to fight the
opposition ? What about the costs if the other asked wikimania2006
before us, and we have to oppose ?
As I said, there is no way we would ever register wikimania2006 as a
trademark, it makes no sense whatsoever.
The next good question might then be : what are the
benefits of owning
the tm of Wikimania2006 ? Will that be worth the costs and time spend on
getting it ? Does it matter that someone else own the trademarks of say
Wikimania2006 ? What are the consequences ?
No benefits wahtsoever. See above.
And btw, if someone else own Wikimania, will we be
granted Wikimania2008 ?
No, we won't, that's why registering the TM per year is not even an option.
As you can see, there are "costs" and
"benefits" to any decision,
sticking to Wikimania, changing to WikimaniaXXXX every year or changing
to Wikipapouasi. The benefits may be for everyone. The costs (money,
time) will be solely for the Foundation.
No, costs will be for anyone who decides they want to beat us to it.
Again, while domain costs are marginal, trademark registration is
expensive and long, you said it yourself.
The problem with wikipapouasi is that if we discuss it on a public
mailing list, or on meta, there's bound to be someone who will beat us
to the domain name. I don't mind registering two domain names, I *do*
mind registering every single idea that goes through the head of
wikimedians and has a chance to be an accepted name.
In the end, I would follow up on Angela's point earlier. Let us call
it the "Annual Wikimedia Conference" as an official name, let us call
it wikimania as the funky name, let us make the
the official domain for now, and if someone
decides to take the time and money to register wikimania as a
trademark before we do (or because we don't want to, or because we
decide not to oppose -and I believe we would be granted the
opposition), well, we'll change it to conference.wikimedia.org
done with it. Anyway, in our heads and that of the public, it'll
always be Wikimania :-).
While I believe that registering trademarks is a very important thing,
I don't believe we should get over our heads with this whole wikimania
thing. But if we have to, let us do it strategically, and just decide
it's going to be wikitagada, buy the domain name, register the
trademark, and stop *talking* about it where anyone can do it before