Open-source pioneer in trademark fracas
No one's done more to publicize the term "Web 2.0" than tech-book publisher Tim O'Reilly, a noted champion of open-source software who helped launch a conference by that name. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that his company is seeking to register the term as a service mark for conferences. Instead, the blogosphere is exploding with self-righteous, poorly informed anger. Unfortunately, Tim O'Reilly's on vacation, so he didn't get to defend himself firsthand -- so the Browser will attempt to do the job for him.
What the blog mob forgets is that open-source software is based on intellectual-property protection -- Linus Torvalds owns the trademark on the term "Linux." Furthermore, the undergirding principle of open-source software -- that anyone can take the source code and improve it, on the condition that they share the improved code with others -- is made possible because software can be copyrighted and copyright holders can condition its use on the requirement to share improvements. Unfortunately, even some hardcore capitalists who ought to know better missed the point here.
And none of the noise addresses the real problem of explaining what the heck "Web 2.0" is.
Posted by Owen Thomas 11:29 AM 0 Comments | Add a Comment
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