More thoughts about the “Web 2.0 service mark” controversy

TechMeme Web 2.0 IncidentWell, saying that the blogosphere has been busy “commenting” on the “Web 2.0 service mark” affair is an understatement. It has been on top of TechMeme for over 24 hours, it has been /.’ed, dugg, linked to 300 times, and commented upon thousands of times in aggregate, etc. After the initial admission of involvement from O’Reilly’s Corporate Communication, we have gathered that Tim is on a boat and therefore out of reach until after the week-end, so we all look forward to his thoughts on this mess situation.

John Battelle, O’Reilly’s partner in the organization of the Web 2.0 conference, has chimed in a few times on his blog to comment on the situation and confirm that letting the lawyers loose on an Irish non profit was a mistake:

As I said, as they said, as we all said, sending the Bigfoot letter to the non profit was a mistake. We’re SORRY. Tim and I did not know it was happening. This was done by the legal departments and business folks at CMP and O’Reilly. I was not in the loop – I run the program, not the business. Clearly it shoudl not have been done, and from what I’m told, it has been worked out with the folks in Ireland. And we apologized. As we should have.

Now that we have that bit out of the way, it would be constructive to understand if the right Creative Commons license slapped on “Web 2.0 <event>” would do the trick for O’Reilly and CMP, instead or on top of a service mark (and I am no lawyer so I don’t know if that makes sense). 

Finally, and as usual, there has been a bit too much exaggeration (like mixing a cease and desist letter and a lawsuit) and name calling around.  This unfortunately led observers to look at us as a lynch mob, as opposed to a mob that expressed a profound disagreement related to a community matter. And it shows how quickly things snowball when a brand or a business does not have his/her spokesperson at hand to engage in the discussion.

On that note, I wish you all a relaxing Memorial Day week-end.


  • http://www.BillionDollarBaloney.blogspot.com BillyWarhol

    i just remarked that the Blogoshphere would be commenting like crazy on this! I understand if it was a Brand name like Comdex but Web2.0 conference seems too Generic to be Xeroxed! Could someone pass me a Kleenex please! ;))

  • http://www.flickrpickr.com/ Robert Oschler

    In retrospect, once this clears up and given the positive status O’Reilly has with the programming community, this will have generated a huge amount of publicity for them. Sure at first it was negative, but once they apologize fully it will endear them even more with the programming community (IMHO).