Fiddling while O’Reilly Rome burns?

Poor Tim O’Reilly. He heads out on vacation and perhaps still unknown to him a firestorm of protest erupts overnight over his company’s decision to fight to protect their ownership of service mark “Web 2.0 Conference”.

I’m sure the O’ staff is upset and worried, but their statements are not managing to comfort the BlogBarbarians at the gate who grew very hostile very fast.

Though I’m generally in the “support” camp, feeling this is greatly overblown by detractors (which is part of why blog land is so enjoyable). I wonder if folks are doing a bit of fiddling over there while O’Rome burns. Clearly people feel that it’s not in the spirit of Web 2.0 to try to *own* the name “Web 2.0”.

This issue appears to have struck a strong chord and staff would be well advised to lay the groundwork for a retraction (rather than the groundwork for arguments in favor of the action).

Retraction is the logical step by Tim to avoid a PR disaster. Instead staff and even the inimitable John Battelle seem to be saying “we were right and when his 2.holiness returns he’ll rescue us from the situation”.

I’d bet my own rights (or lack of them) to my own name that O’Reilly will pull the claim to “Web 2.0” almost as soon as he returns.

Copyright is copywrong in this case since you are protecting more long term profits by … NOT fighting for this as an O’Reilly mark. Given the level of hostility NOW, think of the blog response if they actually go court on this issue !?!

UPDATE:  Here’s the resolution, which is very reasonable IMHO.   He’s only going to hassle this for “confusingly similar” conferences.