p2p news / p2pnet: "Web 2.0, a term that has come to represent the latest incarnation of the Internet, a place where Web sites are more dynamic and interactive, has a certain Internet utopianism at its heart," says The New York Times. "But that image took a hit last week when a dispute broke out over who was allowed to use the term.
"On Wednesday, a lawyer from CMP Media, which works with Tim O’Reilly, the head of O’Reilly Media, to sponsor an annual conference on technology and business, sent a cease-and-desist letter to it@cork, a nonprofit industry group in Ireland that is holding its own Web 2.0 conference next month.
"CMP has trademark applications pending in the United States, the European Union and elsewhere that would bar others from using the phrase ‘Web 2.0′ in the titles of conferences and other events."
O’Reilly exec Dale Dougherty coined the term Web 2.0 and, "O’Reilly used it for a line of very successful conferences chaired by Boing Boing’s business manager, John Battelle (I’ve been a speaker at Web 2.0 as well, and found the con to be an amazing, eye-opening experience)," says Cory Doctorow.
The dispute seems to have been, "resolved amicably," he says. "O’Reilly has apologized for sending in lawyers against the con before speaking to them, and has granted the con permission to use ‘Web 2.0′ in its name."
The company maintains Web 2.0 is its service mark, "when applied to conferences, and that other conferences that want to call themselves ‘Web 2.0′ will have to get O’Reilly’s permission – they defend this as part of the sound business practice of defending a trademark".
But, "I’m not convinced that there is a trademark here," adds Doctorow.
"In O’Reilly’s latest post about this, they quote my pal and colleague John Battelle saying ‘Remember, Web 2.0 is also about having a business that works. And not protecting your trademarks is simply bad business practice.’ But while that’s true – Boing Boing has on one occasion asked someone publishing a really similar blog also called ‘Boing Boing,’ with similar graphics, to consider changing its name – it’s not the whole story.
"The O’Reilly Conferences’ unique selling proposition is that they rewrite the rules of the industry and coalesce meaning out of the stew of ideas floating around the field. If you’re going to name the next direction the world will take, you have to be prepared for the world to take that direction. Industry shifts become public property – or rather, things that are privately controlled can’t shift a diverse industry.
"That means that O’Reilly needs to choose whether it’s going to retain control the word "Web 2.0" for conferences, or retain control over the shifts that created the Web 2.0 phenomenon.
"I think being able to call the shots is more important than being able to own those calls."