I am hopeless ;-)
Well, in French, we say "graver un �v�nement avec une pierre blanche"
to "engrave an event with a white stone"
Thanks Fred ;-)
Fred Bauder <fredbaud(a)ctelco.net> wrote:
This is a stone for french speaking people.
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I looked up the older trademark discussion at
k, and it seems that I might have a different perspective from what I've
read so far. I have three general comments:
1. I think the Foundation should indeed officially register the "Wikipedia"
trademark (I was surprised to learn--correct me if I'm mistaken--that this
wasn't done ages ago), so that it can easily defend any cases that might
have to go to court.
2. Once the trademark is registered, I really don't understand why "we have
to protect our trademarks". I've always thought it was a good thing for a
company when its registered trademark becomes a household commodity to the
extent that it becomes synonymous with the generic item. For example, when I
used to live in the southern USA, people could go to a restaurant and order
a Coke. Then the waiter might literally ask, "What kind? Do you want a
Pepsi, a 7-Up, Dr. Pepper, or Coca-Cola?" Another example, though no longer
quite so prevalent, is that for a long time an "IBM PC" included a computer
manufactured by Dell, Compaq, or HP, as well as those made by IBM. A
"Kleenex" includes store-brand tissues for wiping your nose, "Cutex" means
any brand of nail polish, and "Vaseline" means petroleum jelly. In all these
cases, I think the genericness helps these brands to stand out as the de
facto standard. In fact, for a while IBM advertised its products with the
line, "Don't just get IBM-compatible, get IBM".
The only threat I do see is when competitors make a product that is just as
good for a better or comparable price, as in the case of 3M defending its
trademark on "Post-It Notes". Of course, in that case, then why pay more for
the real "Post-Its" when you can get another company's "Post-Its" for less
money, that work just as well? While that is a legitimate businesses threat,
I would hardly think that there is any such risk in Wikipedia's case--though
pursuing violators of the trademark seems to imply that this is the case.
My point is that I find it hard to understand what the problem is if people
begin to use "Wikipedia" to mean any generic wiki-based encyclopedia. I
think Wikipedia is popular enough that people would always come back to "the
real Wikipedia" eventually. I think that the Wikipedia name being used in
this way *helps* it in the long run, not harms it. Of course, I might be
totally missing something here that is obvious to everyone else, so I'd
appreciate people's comments.
3. Related to my previous point, I also think that the (TM) superscript is
*semantically* ugly, if not aesthetically so, because of the corporate image
it gives--so very un-free like. And I don't think chasing down violations of
the trademark helps Wikipedia's image. I don't think it's necessary, if the
Foundation has a legal registration in its pocket to pull out when it might
really become necessary.
From: Michael Snow <wikipedia(a)earthlink.net>
Subject: [Foundation-l] Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 20:27:58 -0800
Reply-To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <foundation-l(a)wikimedia.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
In an article on Slyck.com ( http://www.slyck.com/news.php?story=609 ),
the author improperly refers to infoAnarchy as a "Wikipedia". The
relevant excerpt reads:
> InfoAnarchy.org has been involved with the P2P community for a
> considerable amount of time - about the same as Zeropaid and Slyck.
> Like P2Pnet.net, InfoAnarchy.org contains an impressive amount of
> original content written by owner Erik Möller. One of its major
> accomplishments is an extensive Wikipedia
> <http://www.infoanarchy.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page> containing a
> wealth of P2P and file-sharing information. Members of the site
> maintain the Wikipedia. All InfoAnarchy.org needs is more frequent
> news updates to make this a leading P2P news site.
I've already sent an email to Slyck in a public relations capacity, so
we don't need to flood them with more. However, I think it would be
helpful if Erik would also contact them, since he runs infoAnarchy, to
help make sure this kind of confusion doesn't get perpetuated. Because
Wikipedia is easily the largest and most recognizable wiki, we need to
be vigilant against people misusing the Wikipedia name if we intend to
protect our trademarks.
[note: replying to the list, despite the conversation inadvertently
becoming 'private'; for that reason, I've left the quoted bits
untrimmed, so people can follow]
On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 18:21:21 -0800, Scott Nelson <scott(a)penguinstorm.com> wrote:
> On Nov 18.2004, at 18:07, Rowan Collins wrote:
> > But isn't that a bit like saying that calling a website "blogger" or
> > "blogspot" leads to confusion with the concept of blogging?
> Indeed, it's a very analogous situation. And the reason "blog" became
> such a common term was because in the early days "blogger"was driving
> the explosion of the phenomenon.
> Blogger benefited from this, of course, to the point that Google bought
Well, yes there are advantages to matching your brand to a generic
term, but there's big disadvantages too. They'll have a tough time if
they want to claim the name back off http://blogger.de for instance,
who in the meantime can benefit not only from the same link to the
generic term as Blogger.com, but also from all the effort that has
been put into promoting "Blogger" as a brand; and that's the kind of
risk Wikipedia would face, too.
If you look at the Wikipedia articles on [[trademark]] and
[[genericized trademark]], there are some interesting examples. For
instance, Xerox apparently actively discourages use of the verb "to
xerox", since if you can use a photocopier made by Acme Corp to
"xerox" things [without Xerox challenging you], it becomes, logically,
an "Acme Xerox Machine", and they can't suddenly turn around and say
"oh, actually, we don't like you using the word that way".
Hm, interesting: I googled for "Blogger trademark", and found that
Google have apparently tried to formally register "B Blogger" - one
blogger suggested that they know full well that just "blogger" would
be considered already too generic. [Yes, I'm deliberately using
genericized trademarks] And, like Wikipedia's [[trademark]] article,
they point out that use of a trademark as a verb is a real no-no
[http://www.google.com/permissions/trademarks.html], so they must be a
little concerned about the verb "to google"; of course, it's an
unusual one, because I don't think people generally "use Yahoo! to
google" or whatever. Perhaps they could trademark it by using it as an
advertising phrase: "Don't just search for it, Google it!"...
> I'd say the key difference is that blogging took off like a rocket,
> whereas the "wiki" phenomenon seems to be a bit more snail-lake; this
> is awesome from a software development perspective - it allows a more
> organic, iterative development cycle to proceed. It does mean, however,
> that the media were SCRAMBLING for a general term such as "Blog" to
> describe the type of content that Blogger (and others) were producing,
> they don't really seem to be doing the same thing in the case of Wiki
No, the key difference is that there is already a word for wikis:
"wiki", and this is not the same as the name of our site. Why should
we give up all rights over the name of our site just because people
don't know that term yet?
> I personally wouldn't stress too much over potential confusion between
> Wikimedia/Pedia/and just plain Wiki's. I tend to give most of the media
> enough credit to understand the differences, and I think the time spent
> explaining the subtle differences would be better used promoting the
> concept of collaboration software in general, and Wiki software
Well, I'm not saying we should get *stressed* (or even 'stressy')
about it, but I do think that allowing 'wikipedia' to become a synonym
(or near-synonym) for 'wiki' is unnecessary and undesirable. I guess
if we were genuinely trying to promote wikis as a concept, or a
service, or a piece of software, then yes, there'd be an advantage to
people thinking "hmm, wikipedia, where can I get one". But that's
*not* what Wikipedia is there for, so we don't get much benefit from
people typing wikipedia.com because they think "wikipedia" means
"wiki" - they won't find what they're looking for. As I say, if it
came to mean "an online encyclopedia" then we'd maybe get more out of
it, but I don't think that's generally how people would start defining
And there's a difference between being at the top of people's minds,
and being a generic term: take 'Encarta' in the mid-90s; people
thought "CD-ROM encyclopedia" and put "Encarta" in their drive. They
*didn't* think "Encarta" and actually put the CD-ROM of "Encyclopedia
Britannica" in (maybe they'd say "oh, Encarta or something", but
that's not saying EB *is* Encarta) - and I'm sure Microsoft were very
pleased at that.
I'm going to end with a repeat of a point I already made: if we don't
claim "Wikipedia" as a trademark - and that means being seen to
discourage its use as a generic term - anyone can use it for a rival
product. So, to put it bluntly, would you be happy to let Microsoft
rename "Encarta" to something like "MSN Wikipedia"? If you would, then
fine, we'll agree to differ; I know I wouldn't.
Rowan Collins BSc
The key point of proposal 3 is that names are not automatically blocked in all other projects. That way someone using a name in one or five projects doesn't prevent ten other people from using their first choice of name in the other 500+ (561 total databases at the moment, not all in use yet likely to be thousands within a few years). There are some 133,000 accounts on en, about ten percent of which have uploaded an image.
The key differences between the proposals:
1. Major pain and lots of inaccurate data in talk pages and so on, where names become wrong to at least some degree, or old records need to be changed. Many people forced to change name in one proposed version (the one I first wrote), in another (the one JeLuF replied with) everyone with a conflicting name forced to change name so existing records remain accurate and conversion is fast. Acceptability to the community is likely to be low - all those people forced to change names. Personally, I'd say this is by far the worst of the options.
2. (me misunderstanding what zwitter had in mind and partially inaccurately describing the results of a discussion between us) Don't force changes, link via global ID (GUID). One person signing up a name in any wiki blocks all others from using that in any other wikis in the future. All existing data remains accurate and "conversion" is a non-event. Most people don't understand many languages or participate in many projects, so names are reserved in a vast number of places where they won't ever be used by the first registrant.
3. (me finally understanding zwitter) Same as 2 except don't lock a name in all wikis. Don't force any name changes. All existing data remains accurate and "conversion" is a non-event. Login is to a single login database with GUID (log in to any project with any ID gets the global ID equivalent as the behind the scenes login). More people get their first choice of name than with 2. Anyone can reserve their name either by visiting any project with it if nobody else is using the name. Or a variation where you don't reserve until you try to edit, to let you read without unnecessarily reserving the name. A default name in the global profile which is used automatically in the new project if it's available; if it's in use, get a form to select another, leave default blank if you always want to choose. Can make it easy to register in many projects for anyone who cares about it. Options for that include check boxes either with all projects or with same-language projects and telling people whether the name they are after is already in use somewhere. Should provide a report to show the user in other projects and resolve trolling problems. zwitter has already implemented a simple version of this, which uses the email address as the link - the real solution would use the GUID.
Effectively, the three proposals reflect the evolution of my thoughts on this as I considered more and more aspects of the problem. What prompted me to go the way of 3 was considering the AOL namespace problem: every good name you want is already taken by someone you don't know, who has no involvement with anything you do. 3 tries to reduce that problem by requiring names to be unique at the finest grained practical level - the individual project.
It's easy for me to register my name in all projects. I haven't bothered to do it: I know I won't ever participate significantly in them because I don't understand the language. So, no pioint in me stopping someone else from using the name.
From: "Jimmy (Jimbo) Wales" <jwales(a)wikia.com>
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <foundation-l(a)wikimedia.org>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2004 14:00:46 -0800
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Single login - decision 2004
Daniel Mayer wrote:
> Option 3 looks best to me. The trolling issue would be no worse than
> it is now. One way to *improve* that potential issue would be to
> grandfather-in currently conflicting names as proposed in option 3
> but lock user names from now on.
Yes. What I would say is that we should go with option 3, and that we
should prevent any *future* conflicts by making it simple for people
who do not currently have a name conflict to reserve their username
globally if they like (this should be the default for new accounts).
For people with name conflicts, this can be a valuable inducement for
them to eliminate the conflict - as long as you're conflicted, you
have no guarantee on the username in a new wiki.
And finally, I would agree with Angela that this should not be a board
decision at this point, but rather a very widely publicized community
foundation-l mailing list
To whoever was saying there is no difference between
Wikis and Wikipedia, there is.
Wiki is to Wikipedia what Apple is to Granny Smith.
Suppose Granny Smith became the most popular apple
type, and everyone started calling every apple a
Granny Smith. Suddenly, you'd buy what you thought was
a bag of real Granny Smiths, and end up biting into a
Lodi or Gala.
You'd be disappointed.
No offense meant to Ohio or New Zealand, I just chose
random apples. And not bad apple. There's not a bad
apple in the bunch. (I'm just covering my tracks, in
case there's any Wikimedian from these areas.)
Moving house? Beach bar in Thailand? New Wardrobe? Win £10k with Yahoo! Mail to make your dream a reality.
Get Yahoo! Mail www.yahoo.co.uk/10k
[Aw crap, I hate it when replies end up going to individuals and not
the list; you'd think the list software would always make the headers
the same, wouldn't you?]
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rowan Collins <rowan.collins(a)gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 02:07:24 +0000
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly
To: Scott Nelson <scott(a)penguinstorm.com>
On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 17:22:14 -0800, Scott Nelson <scott(a)penguinstorm.com> wrote:
> And you're suggesting that this would somehow be different if the
> reference was to a Wiki instead of a Wikipedia?
Yes, because we can distance ourselves from other wikis by saying "its
a different wiki; that's 'FoonamiWiki' this is 'Wikipedia' ". We can
explain that wikis have been around a lot longer than Wikipedia has.
> To my mother, there is no difference between a Wiki and a Wikipedia.
> The risk your describing is real as long as the foundation continues to
> use the word Wiki in it's project names. This is quite distinct from
> the situation with Movable Type which, to the media, produces "blogs"
> but can in fact be used for much much more.
But isn't that a bit like saying that calling a website "blogger" or
"blogspot" leads to confusion with the concept of blogging? I mean if
another *wiki* does something evil, we can say "yes, but it wasn't
Wikipedia, it was just some other wiki", and explain the difference
between the two terms. Just like Blogger could say "blogging is a
general term, not every blogging system reflects on us".
If we allow it to be "an unrelated wikipedia", how do we even begin to
clarify the distinction? I mean, literally, how would you construct a
sentence to explain to someone "that's not the *real* Wikipedia, it's
just *a* wikipedia"? (or even, of course, "something else that's
decided to *call* itself Wikipedia"; cf. my "MS Wikipedia" example)
Rowan Collins BSc
Rich Holton wrote
The real danger I see with not protecting our
trademark, even after it's registered, is the
likelihood that another "wikipedia" will do something
completely antithetical to our goals. Inevitably, some
people will then write off "wikipedias" and we will
suffer as a result. Not my idea of a good time.
I think Rich is absolutely right, so is Michael to have written to correct the mistake.
Infoanarchy may not hurt by being antithetical, but it is not neutral.
Anything that could lead people to think we follow certain political stances could hurt ut.
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On Saturday 27 November, that is in one week, a Wikipedia/Wikimedia
symposium will be held in Rotterdam. There will be a large number of
Dutch Wikipedians as well as Jimbo, Angela and Anthere. Might there be
interest from others, see
unfortunately all in Dutch, but most Dutch Wikipedians know about it
and will be willing to answer your questions in English or anothr
Thanks for your replies, Sber of Pelamar. I guess I *did* miss something
that was obvious to everyone else :-)
>> 2. Once the trademark is registered, I really don't understand why "we
>> to protect our trademarks". I've always thought it was a good thing for a
>> company when its registered trademark becomes a household commodity to
>> extent that it becomes synonymous with the generic item.
>I think, in general this is *not* considered the case. If a trademark
>is not used, or no action is taken to correct generic use of it, the
>trademark becomes invalid - you can't just let everyone call it Coke
>and then complain when someone else writes "Coke" on the label.
I read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark after you pointed to it, and I
see what you're saying. I didn't realize the scenario that you have to
defend every abuse, otherwise lose the right to ever do so. Thanks for the