An interesting set of circumstances are happening concerning the Linden Lab branding policy of their own product. There still remains some confusion about how to use the Second Life trademark on blogs. Some people have begun to place trademark symbols behind the phrase “Second Life”(tm), others have changed logos completely. The issue has raised many eyebrows and even has started a three day blog strike with the goal of Linden Lab clarifying the practice for blogger’s. While I understand there may be confusion, and my position of this strike is, surprisingly, one that I’m in agreement with Prokofy Neva (for several reasons including the legal ones that Benjamin Duranske points out), I also feel that it’s hastily and will not prove successful in its result.
When talking about computer makers (Apple, Dell, Compaq) or cars (Toyota, Chevrolet) there’s not a need to place a TM by every single name. You don’t see Apple or Toyota going after a bunch of bloggers talking about their product. You don’t see tiny trademark symbols when the newspaper does a review of the new Apple Air Notebook. Dell, Compaq or Chevy are not chasing blogger’s down for trademark violations in discussing their product. They chase legitimate trademark violators (such as if this blog was called the Dell Computer Blog). The same would apply to Second Life. Linden Lab is not going to chase a person down for discussing Second Life without proper trademark notation. They don’t have the man-power or legal team, and where’s the legal prescient for such action? It’s not like Linden Lab has shut everyone out for using their trademark, they have set up an application for you to apply to ensure that you are using the trademark properly (i.e. the Second Life Brand Center)!
I understand the argument, which is the policy for using the logo and trademarks of Second Life have changed (seemly) overnight. While I respect many of the blogger’s who are participating in this strike, I disagree entirely. I feel that those who are striking need a more concrete platform to stand on. If a blogger feels that Linden Lab goes after them for the wrong reason, then strike. Linden Lab has been more than flexible to work with those using IT’S OWN BRAND! I’ve mentioned before, people put themselves in jeopardy when developing or creating a product using someone else’s brand name. The person that owns that brand has the right to enforce it however they would like. Some are mean and enjoy the attention. Others are willing to work and ensure that their point is made clear by grabbing onto the major violators.
As for the strike? I think this is silly. Starting a strike on April 15th, 2008 for an American company with American employees is silly. Why? That’s TAX DAY! People’s schedules may have changed because they are dealing with something bigger – it’s called not getting railroaded by your government. If you are going to go on strike, avoid striking on days like this and don’t start a strike because a person (in this case Robin Linden) missed her office hours on her countries tax day! I understand that people would like to have clarification but you have an avenue to protect yourself until clarification comes. Please USE IT! More importantly, show me examples of blogger’s being approached for violating the rules in the referenced TOS that seem overbearing. To this date I have not heard of any!