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Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly

 

 

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wikipedia at earthlink

Nov 17, 2004, 9:27 PM

Post #1 of 30 (839 views)
Permalink
Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly

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.

--Michael Snow


rich_holton at yahoo

Nov 17, 2004, 10:35 PM

Post #2 of 30 (829 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

--- Michael Snow <wikipedia [at] earthlink> wrote:

> 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.
>
> --Michael Snow

Is there any good reason why we don't place a trade
mark symbol (or registered trade mark, if appropriate)
next to the word "Wikipedia" at the top of each page?
Or somewhere? I know the symbol is not needed for the
word to be a trademark, but I think the symbol would
help reinforce to various parties that the word is
indeed a trademark.

Seems like a simple step. Can't see that it would
hurt.

-Rich Holton



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tomk32 at gmx

Nov 17, 2004, 11:14 PM

Post #3 of 30 (827 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

On Wed, Nov 17, 2004 at 09:35:14PM -0800, Rich Holton wrote:

> Seems like a simple step. Can't see that it would
> hurt.

It does.
Also it's fun to laugh about folks and journalists who
are too stupid to know the difference between Wikipedia
and a wiki.

ciao, tom
--
== Weblinks ==
* http://shop.wikipedia.org - WikiReader Internet zu kaufen
* http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benutzer:TomK32
* http://www.hammererlehen.de - Urlaub in Berchtesgaden


rowan.collins at gmail

Nov 18, 2004, 8:34 AM

Post #4 of 30 (843 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

On Wed, 17 Nov 2004 21:35:14 -0800 (PST), Rich Holton
<rich_holton [at] yahoo> wrote:
> Is there any good reason why we don't place a trade
> mark symbol (or registered trade mark, if appropriate)
> next to the word "Wikipedia" at the top of each page?
> Or somewhere?

This was suggested before - specifically, to put it in the "From
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" message on each page - and
personally I approved of the idea. But some complained that it would
look ugly, or in one user's words "so corporate ... it makes me want
to puke." So essentially no consensus was reached, and the idea was
essentially forgotten. See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaWiki_talk:Fromwikipedia#Wikipedia_Trademark


Out of interest, when clearing up naming issues like this, you might
(or might not) find it useful to point people at
http://meta.wikimedia.org/Names which clarifies [or aims to] all the
confusingly similar names that one encounters in the Wikimedia and
MediaWiki universes. (And of course, if you don't think it's clear
enough, please edit it to make it clearer!)

--
Rowan Collins BSc
[IMSoP]


cokoli at jmsb

Nov 18, 2004, 11:37 AM

Post #5 of 30 (828 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

Hi y'all,

I looked up the older trademark discussion at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaWiki_talk:Fromwikipedia#Wikipedia_Trademar
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.

Salut,
Chitu Okoli
(User:cokoli)


--===============1430519822==
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MIME-Version: 1.0


Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
From: Michael Snow <wikipedia [at] earthlink>
Precedence: list
Subject: [Foundation-l] Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 20:27:58 -0800
To: foundation-l [at] wikimedia
References: <20041114231206.58B831AC02D6 [at] mail>
In-Reply-To: <20041114231206.58B831AC02D6 [at] mail>
Reply-To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <foundation-l [at] wikimedia>
Message-ID: <419C24CE.7060001 [at] earthlink>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
MIME-Version: 1.0
Message: 7


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.


--Michael Snow


jwales at wikia

Nov 18, 2004, 3:18 PM

Post #6 of 30 (827 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

Chitu Okoli wrote:
> 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.

The registration has been filed.

--Jimbo


rich_holton at yahoo

Nov 18, 2004, 3:58 PM

Post #7 of 30 (829 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

--- Chitu Okoli <cokoli [at] jmsb> wrote:

> 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.
>

If in fact we don't care if others are misusing our
trademark, then absolutely we should not add any
marking. But then we also should not complain (either
here or to the "offender") when it is misused.

I'm not 100% certain, but as I recall, brands such as
Kleenex, Coke, Q-Tips, etc. have very mixed feelings
(at best) about the generic use of their trademarks.
Why spend tons of money advertising your product when
someone will just as easily buy an equivalent? When I
go to pick up a box of Kleenex (read: facial tissue),
I have no particular brand in mind, and will likely
buy whatever fits my needs and is cheapest. Kleenex
has become meaningless as a trademark.

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.

If our problem is not wanting to "appear too
corporate", then we should just give up protecting our
trademark, and let whatever happen.

To actually defend our trademark, by registering it
and by pursuing violators (however gently), and at the
same time keep it off the Wikipedia pages is, to my
mind, simple hypocrisy. A trademark should either
receive protection, or it should not. If it should,
then we should be open about doing it.

It also seems to me that trademarks are inherently
different from copyrights. By protecting our
trademark, we are not restraining information.
Actually, we're preserving information and encouraging
its distribution, by maintaining the real distinction
between this project and others.

-Rich Holton


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rowan.collins at gmail

Nov 18, 2004, 4:25 PM

Post #8 of 30 (834 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

NB: IANAL, the following is based on my understanding only, backed up
by articles from Wikipedia[TM], which officially "does not give legal
advice".

On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 13:37:55 -0500, Chitu Okoli
<cokoli [at] jmsb> wrote:
> 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.

I think the main reason this hasn't been done, is that there is no
such thing as *internationally* registering a trademark, and because
registration costs money. Thus there was some concern that proper
research be made into with whom it would be most appropriate to
register it (whether, for instance, it was possible to register in one
go for all EU countries) before setting off on the potentially very
costly course of registering it anywhere and everywhere. Especially
since, even without registration, there would be an extremely good
case that it was a trademark, since it is a neologism created solely
for one particular site.

Oh, and not to mention which trademarks to register - there's not just
Wikipedia, there's Wikimedia, Wikiquote, Wiktionary, Wikisource; and
alternate spellings used in some languages, like Vikipedio in
Esperanto and Wicipedia in Welsh (these would probably be covered by
their similarity to the original, but it all needs careful
consideration)


> 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.

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. From
my reading of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark, it is still
possible for this to happen even with a registered trademark - hence
the mentionned campaign by Xerox to stamp out the use (which they must
actually be quite pleased with) of "to xerox".

> 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?"
[...]
> A "Kleenex" includes store-brand tissues for wiping your nose, "Cutex" means
> any brand of nail polish, and "Vaseline" means petroleum jelly.

Yes, this happens often - see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genericized_trademark If the owners of
these brands are not careful, they will lose the right to claim the
trademark, and it will become perfectly legal for your local store to
manufacture and sell "Better Value Kleenex". That's not something the
trademark owner will want to happen.

> In fact, for a while IBM advertised its products with the
> line, "Don't just get IBM-compatible, get IBM".

Yes, and note that they used [assuming you have the slogan right]
"IBM-compatible" - a phrase which uses "IBM" to refer to *IBM*
computers and nothing else - and highlighted the difference between
being *compatible with* their brand, and *belonging to* their brand.
This is quite clever, but is definitely not encouraging the
genericisation of the term "IBM", which would have been very bad news.

> 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".

Yes, that is the entire purpose of trademarks, and as I say, you only
keep the right to defend the mark in extreme cases by being seen to
defend the mark in all cases.

> 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.

Now you seem to be beginning to contradict yourself - just now, you
were urging the Foundation to register its trademarks. Presumably you
felt that there was *some* potential for abuse of it, else why bother
with that? Perhaps you just mean we should be lenient on people using
it casually - the problem being, as I say, that the nature of
trademark law means you can't be two-faced like that, you either
police your trademark or lose it.

> 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.

Well, I'm not sure "wiki-based encyclopedia" is what the term *would*
become if we allowed it to genericize. I can think of two main types
of site for which the term is, or could be, wrongly applied:
1) sites running the same collaborative editing software as
Wikipedia.org (e.g. infoanarchy.org, as started this thread). There is
already a generic name for these: "wikis"; and if they want to be more
specific "MediaWikis" or "MediaWiki installs" or somesuch.
2) sites using some or all of the content of Wikipedia.org, under the
GFDL (there has been at least one which called itself "a wikipedia";
it may have been thefreedictionary.org, I don't remember). These, of
course, are just "websites", "encyclopedias", or at most "mirrors of
Wikipedia".

Now, (1) is probably not too bad, although it could get a little
confusing; there was a question on the 'Help desk' of the English
Wikipedia the other day asking how to do something in a completely
unrelated website - because it was a wiki, the user had immediately
assumed it was "some sort of sub branch" of Wikipedia. And people
asking for changes on static mirrors are quite frequent. If [take the
extreme case] every site using a wiki *and* every copy of Wikipedia's
content became "a wikipedia", we'd get an awful lot more confusion
like this.

But allowing (2) could be even more risky. A lot of work is put into
spreading the word about Wikipedia, and the goal of it and the
Wikimedia Foundation - take Angela's recent radio interview, for
instance. If another site is also allowed to call itself "[a]
wikipedia", then they get free publicity, and siphon off people who
might otherwise become contributors; and if they run advertising for
profit and give nothing to the Foundation, they will actually profit
from our promotion work.

OK, I'm giving pessimistic views of what could happen, I know, but I'm
playing Devil's Advocate: if we allow "Wikipedia" to become a generic
trademark, this is what we risk. I don't see that the vague benefits
of people saying the word "Wikipedia" more often outweigh the cost of
them not meaning wikipedia.org when they say it.

> 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.

Yes, that's certainly a consideration. It's like a Co-operative
Society having "Limited" in its name (e.g. the chain of shops known as
"the Co-op" in the UK is "The Co-operative Group (CWS) Ltd").
Technically, it just implies a certain legal status in terms of
liability (and some associated tax rules, etc, etc); but in people's
minds, it means its some kind of greedy corporation with fat-cat
shareholders. Indeed, my dad was a Limited company for a while; just
him. Similarly, "TM" probably makes some people think of multinational
corporations, for whom brand is everything, when in reality it just
means "please don't use this generically, it refers specifically to
this product/service/whatever".

> 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.

As you're probably bored of me repeating now, it *is* necessary,
because that's how [as I understand it] trademark law works. A legal
registration doesn't obviate the need to stop the term becoming
generic.

Sorry if this has ended up a bit verbose - one of the problems with
responding point by point to someone else's message like this is that
it makes it harder to restructure your own points. That, and I just
have a tendency to write messages that are a bit long-winded!

--
Rowan Collins BSc
[IMSoP]


rowan.collins at gmail

Nov 18, 2004, 4:30 PM

Post #9 of 30 (832 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

...and if there was any doubt in my mind that my message was overly
verbose, the fact that Rich Holton has said much of what I did in half
the time and half the words leaves me with absolutely none. Again, I
apologise. :(

--
Rowan Collins BSc
[IMSoP]


mcfly.org at gmail

Nov 18, 2004, 4:39 PM

Post #10 of 30 (831 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

An encyclopedia in the form of a wiki. My God, we can't have somone
calling that a Wikipedia! Thanks for the laugh, Michael.

On Wed, 17 Nov 2004 20:27:58 -0800, Michael Snow
<wikipedia [at] earthlink> wrote:
> 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:

> --Michael Snow


ribamar.sousa at ic

Nov 18, 2004, 5:20 PM

Post #11 of 30 (831 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

On Thu, Nov 18, 2004 at 06:39:02PM -0500, Anthony DiPierro wrote:
> An encyclopedia in the form of a wiki. My God, we can't have somone
> calling that a Wikipedia! Thanks for the laugh, Michael.

I see no problems too. I think is cool Wikipedia be remembered more than
a site or a trademark, but as an concept.

-Riba


rowan.collins at gmail

Nov 18, 2004, 5:42 PM

Post #12 of 30 (826 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 22:20:23 -0200, Ribamar Santarosa de Sousa
<ribamar.sousa [at] ic> wrote:
> I see no problems too. I think is cool Wikipedia be remembered more than
> a site or a trademark, but as an concept.

But what if, as Rich Holton said, someone uses the term for something
that goes completely against our goals, or in such a way that our
image is tarnished? Or even, as I suggested, people deliberately
trading off our name and publicity? And, as I mentioned, what about
the confusion of people thinking that Wikipedia is the place to
discuss things that have nothing to do with it, because they are "a
wikipedia"?

(Hmm, he thinks evilly, this might get some people thinking...) What
if Microsoft decided to rebrand Encarta as "Microsoft Wikipedia" to
make people think they were getting something new, and equal in
quality to the "real" Wikipedia...?

Having a name that uniquely identifies Wikipedia as being Wikipedia is
very useful, and enforcing it as a trademark is the only way we can be
sure of having such a name. What would we say if it became truly
generic "the Real Wikipedia"? "the original and still the best"? "the
Wikipedia wikipedia"?

--
Rowan Collins BSc
[IMSoP]


cokoli at jmsb

Nov 18, 2004, 5:42 PM

Post #13 of 30 (831 views)
Permalink
RE: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

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
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.

>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
clarification!


~ Chitu


scott at penguinstorm

Nov 18, 2004, 6:22 PM

Post #14 of 30 (830 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

On Nov 18.2004, at 16:42, Rowan Collins wrote:

> as Rich Holton said, someone uses the term for something
> that goes completely against our goals, or in such a way that our
> image is tarnished?

And you're suggesting that this would somehow be different if the
reference was to a Wiki instead of a Wikipedia?

Wiki software is far from ubiquitous yet (at least when compared with
such things as PHP) and exerts a strong personality on sites that it's
used to build (unlike, say, PHPNuke.)

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.

I'm not suggesting this is a bad thing; if the goal is to promote Wiki
software rather than the Wikipedia, it's helping. I'm simply pointing
out that it's perpetuating the confusion.
--
Skot Nelson
skot [at] penguinstorm


delirium at hackish

Nov 18, 2004, 11:30 PM

Post #15 of 30 (830 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

Rowan Collins wrote:

>Having a name that uniquely identifies Wikipedia as being Wikipedia is
>very useful, and enforcing it as a trademark is the only way we can be
>sure of having such a name. What would we say if it became truly
>generic "the Real Wikipedia"? "the original and still the best"? "the
>Wikipedia wikipedia"?
>
>
Well, I do think Wikimedia has picked a rather poor naming scheme in
terms of enforcing a unique brand, although I'm not sure what to best do
about it. The scheme is essentially Wiki____, where the ____ is the
project-specific name, but that's a completely generic naming scheme,
because we are not the inventors, owners, or exclusive users of the
prefix "wiki". This leads to a confusing situation where an arbitrary
Wiki____ may or may not be a Wikimedia project, and there's no way of
knowing without investigating.

So you end up with the confusing situation where it's: Wikipedia?
that's us. Wikitravel? that's someone else. Wikibooks? that's us.
Wikicities? that's someone else. (etc.)

-Mark


anthere9 at yahoo

Nov 19, 2004, 6:54 AM

Post #16 of 30 (833 views)
Permalink
Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

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.

Anthere


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rowan.collins at gmail

Nov 19, 2004, 8:27 AM

Post #17 of 30 (833 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

On Fri, 19 Nov 2004, Delirium wrote:
> Well, I do think Wikimedia has picked a rather poor naming scheme in
> terms of enforcing a unique brand, although I'm not sure what to best do
> about it. The scheme is essentially Wiki____, where the ____ is the
> project-specific name, but that's a completely generic naming scheme,
> because we are not the inventors, owners, or exclusive users of the
> prefix "wiki". This leads to a confusing situation where an arbitrary
> Wiki____ may or may not be a Wikimedia project, and there's no way of
> knowing without investigating.

Yes, I'd have to agree there - although I'd tend to say "ended up
with" rather than "picked", given the way the names have come about.
But in a way, this makes it even *more* important that we protect the
individual terms that *are* part of the Foundation. There's nothing we
can do about a site calling itself "Wikitravel", but at least we can
draw the line at someone starting a "Wikipediatravel" or somesuch
(which would actually sound more like part of the same brand than
"Wikibooks" does...)

--
Rowan Collins BSc
[IMSoP]


rowan.collins at gmail

Nov 19, 2004, 8:30 AM

Post #18 of 30 (827 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

[.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 [at] gmail>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 02:07:24 +0000
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly
To: Scott Nelson <scott [at] penguinstorm>


On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 17:22:14 -0800, Scott Nelson <scott [at] penguinstorm> 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
[IMSoP]


maveric149 at yahoo

Nov 19, 2004, 9:37 AM

Post #19 of 30 (836 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

--- Delirium <delirium [at] hackish> wrote:
> Well, I do think Wikimedia has picked a rather poor naming scheme in
> terms of enforcing a unique brand, although I'm not sure what to best do
> about it. The scheme is essentially Wiki____, where the ____ is the
> project-specific name, but that's a completely generic naming scheme,

No more generic than 'The New York Times.' 'New York' is generic, and 'Times'
is one of several generic names for newspapers. Yet put together it is a very
enforceable trademark.

> because we are not the inventors, owners, or exclusive users of the
> prefix "wiki". This leads to a confusing situation where an arbitrary
> Wiki____ may or may not be a Wikimedia project, and there's no way of
> knowing without investigating.

That is easy to fix. Just put "A Wikimedia project" below the logo of each of
our projects.

-- mav



__________________________________
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rowan.collins at gmail

Nov 19, 2004, 9:54 AM

Post #20 of 30 (834 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

[.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 [at] penguinstorm> 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
> 'em.

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
> software.

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
> specifically.

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
it.

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
[IMSoP]


ropers at ropersonline

Nov 19, 2004, 9:55 AM

Post #21 of 30 (833 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

On 19 Nov 2004, at 17:37, Daniel Mayer wrote:
> --- Delirium <delirium [at] hackish> wrote:
>> we are not the inventors, owners, or exclusive users of the
>> prefix "wiki". This leads to a confusing situation where an arbitrary
>> Wiki____ may or may not be a Wikimedia project, and there's no way of
>> knowing without investigating.

>> So you end up with the confusing situation where it's: Wikipedia?
>> that's us. Wikitravel? that's someone else. Wikibooks? that's us.
>> Wikicities? that's someone else. (etc.)

> That is easy to fix. Just put "A Wikimedia project" below the logo of
> each of
> our projects.
>
> -- mav

<aol>
<em>STRONGLY</em> support.
</aol>

-- ropers [[en:User:Ropers]]
www.ropersonline.com


beaubeaver at yahoo

Nov 19, 2004, 10:36 AM

Post #22 of 30 (825 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

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.)

Nick Moreau
"Zanimum"



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jwales at wikia

Nov 20, 2004, 4:28 PM

Post #23 of 30 (830 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

Rowan Collins wrote:
> I think the main reason this hasn't been done, is that there is no
> such thing as *internationally* registering a trademark, and because
> registration costs money. Thus there was some concern that proper
> research be made into with whom it would be most appropriate to
> register it (whether, for instance, it was possible to register in one
> go for all EU countries) before setting off on the potentially very
> costly course of registering it anywhere and everywhere.

This paragraph is wrong on virtually all counts. First, international
trademark registrations are done under the terms of the Madrid
Protocol and Madrid Agreements. This is something that I'm in the
process of doing, but it is time consuming of course. (And will cost
money, and judgment calls do need to be made.)

> Oh, and not to mention which trademarks to register - there's not just
> Wikipedia, there's Wikimedia, Wikiquote, Wiktionary, Wikisource; and
> alternate spellings used in some languages, like Vikipedio in
> Esperanto and Wicipedia in Welsh (these would probably be covered by
> their similarity to the original, but it all needs careful
> consideration)

Indeed, some of these have been registered, and some not. It's a
judgment call, and something that is improving steadily as I register
more and more of them.

--Jimbo


jwales at wikia

Nov 20, 2004, 4:30 PM

Post #24 of 30 (831 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

Daniel Mayer wrote:
> That is easy to fix. Just put "A Wikimedia project" below the logo of each of
> our projects.

I support that we add the global wikimedia logo on all the projects,
in the place of the GNU FDL button. We already say "GNU FDL" in the
text portion. The global wikimedia logo should be linked to the
foundation website.

--Jimbo


scott at penguinstorm

Nov 20, 2004, 11:45 PM

Post #25 of 30 (830 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikipedia trademark being used incorrectly [In reply to]

On Nov 19.2004, at 08:54, Rowan Collins wrote:

> 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?

Actually, the order of events matters. Your earlier comment about
Google trying to register "B Blogger" illustrates this; they know whey
would probably not succeed with Blogger - had they tried to register
Blogger 4 years ago, they wouldn't have had the problem.

> 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.

If Microsoft decided to launch an MSN encyclopedia that was developed
using Wiki software, then MSN Wikipedia would be a perfectly good name
for it, in my view. Many (you included, I suspect) would argue
otherwise - quite vigorously in all probability.

I'm looking at this from a slightly different perspective I think:
treat the Wikipedia name as the banner marquee sample project for the
Wiki software. I can tell you that I know several people who are aware
of Wikipedia and nobody that I can think of who has any knowledge of
Wikimedia, Wiki (in general) or any of the other projects.

Rather than try to protect Wikipedia, let it spread and flourish.
Wikipedia is the Wiki software's flag on the moon.

But that's just one man's opinion.
--
Skot Nelson
skot [at] penguinstorm

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