Several posts have come out of the blogosphere re the Alpha Blogger situation Phil described yesterday. Perhaps the best advice comes from three well known bloggers who understand the intellectual property legalities much better than I do:
Alec Saunders in Alpha Blogger silenced himself:
Bloggers reactions to Jan Geirnaert’s decision to kill his Skype-Gadgets and Skype-Watch blogs are a little over the top, in my opinion. Jan didn’t get a cease-and-desist letter from Skype, or from the firm they use for domain name cases. He got a polite refusal from a lawyer when asked if he could put the Skype name (as part of his domain name) on chopsticks. Moreover, unless Skype was willing to extend him a license for that name, no other reply was possible or should have been expected.
Andy proffers in The Right Hand and The Left Hand:
In business this is called protecting the trademark, and while I’m not a trademark and copyright attorney, I can safely say that letters like that go out all the time. Those with understanding simply do what my lawyers once told me to do the first time I received one back in my days at a top ten ad agency. That was after we ran a promotion to give away a JEEP, and had already in the print ad in USA TODAY disclaimed that Jeep was a registered trademark of Chrysler Corporation. I followed the lawyers instruction. I threw the letter in the trash.
And Robert Scoble pipes in with:
Ahh, the lawyers at Skype screwed the pooch. I am actually on their side in this fight, too. I know that they need to protect the trademarks otherwise they’ll lose them. At Microsoft the lawyers would do stuff like this from time-to-time (my friend Robert Mclaws told me recently that the Microsoft lawyers are again going after some community members who’ve taken on trademarks too closely).
And Andy ends the post referenced above with:
Hopefully after Henry and his counselors return to the office on Monday some cooler and more logical heads will prevail. The attorney was only doing their job, but in this case, its about the Right Hand, telling the Left Hand how to do it and why that kind of approach was needed.
Read the full posts. And it made headlines at Techmeme.
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