[Wikimedia-l] It's time to reclaim the community logo

John Vandenberg jayvdb at gmail.com
Thu Oct 10 09:47:48 UTC 2013


let me start by saying that I agree with Dariusz's opinion that we
should discuss this as a community, and perhaps move on from 'debate
by press release' into more focused formats like Google Hangout or IRC
office hours in order to find common ground, share our research, and
highlight the many outstanding questions that need to be addressed
before we can make an informed decision about the right path forward.

On that topic, 'debate via press release' is an unfortunate side
effect of multilingualism and our translation software; it is more
efficient (for both sides) to have published 'statements' that are
static so that the translators have been able to effectively
communicate the facts about the community logo, the trademark
opposition, and the WMF position, into 20 languages already.

As far as David's point is concerned, the focus should shift away from
the 'two individuals' whose names appear on the forms, to the 30
people who have publicly supported the abandonment of the community
logo trademark; and there are many more unofficially or non-publicly
supporting, or are concerned but not able to make an informed decision
yet. All these people should be able to participate in a discussion
such as the above-mentioned Google Hangout or IRC.

As far as the WMF's argument of us filling the opposition after
community consultation had already started, the opposition needed to
be formally filed in order to be taken seriously, as all previous
discussions had been marginalised.

The prior users of this logo, including people who have created
derivatives, deserve to know the legal basis on which the WMF believes
that this logo can be legally trademarked by the WMF, which would
effectively make the existing users give up the rights they have had
and exercised unimpeded since 2006.  It is our hope that the WMF will
be able to provide a legal basis for their action that the Board of
Trustees and community consider acceptable and ethical, as the
Foundation's actions are done in our name.

If it is legal, let us see the rationale and evaluate it. This doesn't
need to progress to a court, nor are we likely to win in a court
against Jones Day, to be honest. We are funding this opposition
'cheaply', which means we are doing a lot of the legal research and
drafting of briefs ourselves, to reduce how much of our legal
counsel's time we are billed for, and we have limited funds. A few
people have offered to help with the costs, but we're hoping to keep
this low key in the hope a solution can be found by a well informed
community during a good faith mediation process. If we all lawyer up,
drowning the real issue of this dispute in legal paperwork, it will
only prove once more that legal muscle wins, and do nothing to solve
the underlying problem.

While legality and ethics of the trademark registration are important,
there are other options that we should explore. For example the Debian
project only has a trademark on their logo combined with stylised
'Debian'. The logo without stylised 'Debian' is not trademarked. The
same principle could be applied to the community logo, leaving it not
trademarked, and the WMF trademarking the community logo combined with
stylised 'Wikimedia' or 'Meta-Wiki'.  It is an approach that has
worked for Debian. They even had someone outside their community reuse
their free logo, and Debian survived uninjured and with zero legal
expenses. :-) (http://sanacl.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/inappropriate-use-of-the-debian-logo/)


On Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 2:05 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak <darekj at alk.edu.pl> wrote:
> hi,
> while writing about "two individuals" was probably well-meant (so as not to
> point fingers), to my non-native ear it sounds unfortunately close to
> police reports lingo :) Also, while I perfectly understand why WMF needs
> external representation, and why Jones Day's in-kind donated support is
> used, it is also clear to me that the "two individuals" may feel cornered
> and perceive it as an move to resolve the issue by force (in the face of
> obvious disparity of legal brainpower and resources).
> I may be wrong, but my own and personal view is 100% in line with what
> Craig wrote: irrespective of the result, taking this dispute to court will
> be a failure on both sides.
> Ideally, if both sides could agree on a mediation by one or more parties
> acceptable to them, this could wind things down a bit and perhaps lead to a
> better understanding of the views (as well as of the legal mechanics and
> consequences of the choices). Also, since both sides act with a strong
> perception of protecting the community's interest in the way they see fit
> best, the community's wider feedback may help in resolving the issue.
> Just my two-cents.
> best,
> pundit
> On Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 9:09 AM, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Referring to John and Federico as "these two individuals" comes across
>> as attempting to depersonalise and deprecate your opposition. Are you
>> quite sure this is the effect you're after?
>> On 9 October 2013 07:13, James Alexander <jalexander at wikimedia.org> wrote:
>> > The legal team have provided some background on the hiring on Jones Day
>> in
>> > this action. Here is their comment:
>> >
>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Community_Logo/Request_for_consultation#Legal_representation
>> >
>> > James Alexander
>> > Legal and Community Advocacy
>> > Wikimedia Foundation
>> > (415) 839-6885 x6716 @jamesofur
>> >
>> >
>> > On Tue, Oct 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM, <tomasz at twkozlowski.net> wrote:
>> >
>> >> Federico Leva (Nemo) wrote on September 26, 2013, 15:22 UTC:
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>  Trademark don't self-enforce, they are "enforceable" as long as someone
>> >>> believes to you when you use them as threat tools. So yes, I suppose
>> they
>> >>> might.
>> >>>
>> >>
>> >> ... and given that the WMF just hired the infamous Jones Day bullies as
>> >> their representative before the OHIM to fight an opposition filled by
>> their
>> >> own volunteers (me and Federico), I don't think it's an unfair view.
>> >>
>> >> I suggest that everyone interested in the subject read <
>> >> http://www.dmlp.org/blog/**2009/sam-bayard/thoughts-**
>> >> jones-day-blockshopper-**settlement<
>> http://www.dmlp.org/blog/2009/sam-bayard/thoughts-jones-day-blockshopper-settlement
>> >>
>> >> and related links for an overview of a 2009 Jones Day lawsuit against a
>> >> start-up company Blockshopper.com which Paul Levy called "a new a new
>> entry
>> >> in the contest for grossest abuse of trademark law to suppress speech
>> the
>> >> plaintiff doesn't like".
>> >>
>> >> I'm aware that, being a party of the opposition, I shouldn't really
>> >> comment on the WMF's litigation tactics, but it still leaves me wonder
>> >> about the point of hiring, as some say, "one of the worst trademark
>> abusers
>> >> in history", as their representative in this case.
>> >>
>> >>           Tomasz
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
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> --
> __________________________
> dr hab. Dariusz Jemielniak
> profesor zarządzania
> kierownik katedry Zarządzania Międzynarodowego
> i centrum badawczego CROW
> Akademia Leona Koźmińskiego
> http://www.crow.alk.edu.pl
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John Vandenberg

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