I’ve only just gotten up and had my first cup o’ joe, and I’m already cranky. It seems that O’Reilly‘s lawyers sent a Cease-&-Desist to a not-for-profit tech group in Ireland for using “Web 2.0” in a conference name. I would’ve told IT@Cork to take a page from James Joyce and tell O’Reilly to “K.M.R.I.A.” But as it turned out, O’Reilly apologized to the group and agreed to let them use the term in their conference name.
Agreed to let them use the term. Because O’Reilly still maintains that “Web 2.0” is their trademark and anyone else who wants to use it has to get permission first.
What’chu talkin’ ’bout, O’Reilly?
Sure, I could go into a hotheaded rant about why O’Reilly are getting this wrong, but Cory Doctorow said it first and better, so I’ll point you to his post about this. Basically, though, it boils down to this: is “Web 2.0” a concept, a practice of web design, or is it a business trademark, like Coke or Kleenex? O’Reilly can’t have it both ways: “Web 2.0” is either a way of using the World Wide Web that belongs to everyone, or it’s just a term like Hardee’s “Made From Scratch” Biscuits–meaningless, except in advertising their product.
So, on one hand, there’s this nifty l’il graphic.
And on the other hand, there’s this: if “Web 2.0” only applies to O’Reilly like “I’m Lovin’ It” applies to McDonald’s, then I’ll simply stop using the term “Web 2.0.” Because the term will have no meaning. If it’s not a concept that belongs to everyone, then, frankly, it’s a bullshit PR term. It’s just another lame way for O’Reilly to claim they “think outside the box” (a phrase I’m thoroughly tired of, a phrase that means sod all).
(Meanwhile, Michael Casey has already stepped up and declared that he’s never considered ownership of the term “Library 2.0”, despite having coined the term. Chew on that, O’Reilly.)