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.

About JoeDuck

Internet Travel Guy, Father of 2, small town Oregon life. BS Botany from UW Madison Wisconsin, MS Social Sciences from Southern Oregon. Top interests outside of my family's well being are: Internet Technology, Online Travel, Globalization, China, Table Tennis, Real Estate, The Singularity.
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3 Responses to Fiddling while O’Reilly Rome burns?

  1. shel israel says:

    I am really hoping you are right on this call and I will try to be among the first in line to congratulate him. He can then call his Conference O’Reilly’s Web 2.0, orBattelle Web 2.0 Conference and he will ave all the ownership he needs.

  2. Salim Ismail says:

    I agree with your thinking…. If he retracts, he has the opportunity for a huge PR win. If he doesn’t, it’ll be the opposite. Either way, I’m getting some popcorn ready… (glad I’m a spectator on this one)

  3. joeduck says:

    Wow – honored to have a visit by Shel Israel! I really enjoyed your book and got to meet Robert at MIX06.

    I agree with you both and hope that Tim, who is a suberb and brilliant guy, sees this as the PR opportunity it is and "loudly" removes the service mark claim in the spirit of Web 2.0 coolness.

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