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CODE4LIB  November 2011

CODE4LIB November 2011

Subject:

Re: Horowhenua Donation Page

From:

BWS Johnson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

BWS Johnson <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 07:39:49 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (76 lines)

Salvete!

> I haven't followed this at all, so can anyone fill me in on what this
> actually means in New Zealand?  That Liblime can sue the library to force
> them to change Koha's name?
> 
> I now notice that Archivists' Toolkit, Archon, and Islandora are
> trademarked.


    Before I say anything at all, I want
to be clear that these are personal opinions that I'm giving for
informational purposes. You asked, and as a Librarian, I'd like to
answer you properly. Also, I'm going to do the I'm Not a Lawyer
Dance. I know a wee bit about IP in the States, but once you port
that over to eNZed, it's mostly meaningless since their laws are
different. I'm not speaking for the Community; I'm not the Kaitiaki.

    The very simple, non qualified, non
John Kerry response to your second question is yes. Und nao for ze
qualifications. They don't quite hold the trademark just yet. Their
application has been accepted. Also, the they in question is PTFS US,
not Liblime and not PTFS Europe. LibLime is a subsidiary of PTFS. My
favourite description of PTFS comes from a colleague that said that
they're a company that bought a company (Metavore, dba LibLime [think
engulf & devour]) who bought a company (Katipo). Another thing to
keep in mind is that since they hold a not quite set in concrete mark
in the US, they could theoretically get all sue happy on any number
of US Libraries and businesses that are using Koha. I personally
suspect that they haven't yet since they're on rather shifty earth.
Who knows? It could just be that Roy Tennant hasn't approved of this
sort of behaviour. (tongue in cheek, as with nearly all Roy Tennant
references) [1]

    Timing is pretty important here. PTFS
like to whing and moan that they're misunderstood and not actually
evil. Okay, okay, fine. The whinging is mostly that they contribute
to the community and they bought things fair and square, et cetera.
[2] It should be noted that PTFS Europe do actually help out, and
they're a different beast entirely from PTFS US. If the Community
participation theme were true of PTFS US, when they bought LibLime,
they would have either dropped the trademark pursuits that were in
the hopper, or once the applications went through, turned the
property over to Horowhenua Library Trust (Now Te Horowhenua) for
safekeeping as was decided by the Community. Pardon me if I'm
skeptical of a corporation that penned a promise that they'd support
the Koha OS Community and then took radically different actions from
their words. [3] Perhaps they mean commits, so I suppose they ought
be applauded for one commit of 8 lines for 3.6.  [4] 

    Learning about what Koha means is
equally important to understanding the situation. [5] Having giving
and reciprocity feature so strongly in the product is one of many
reasons I'm reluctant to just give in and let the defence contractors
run rough shod over tradition. I personally chafe at how close to
manifest destiny this stuff comes. The attitude seems very much to be
“Well, we bought it first, so it's ours now.” There are scores of
businesses in New Zealand that already use Koha as part of their
names. I just can't visualise the mental contortion needed to get
this word out of the public domain as a generic Te Reo term. This
sets a terrible precedent: a Library selects a meaningful name,
utilises it for over a decade, and then is routinely harassed and
possibly sued over the use of what they started. There's a lot of
potential harm here. It's not just Horowhenua, it's every Koha user
and every Koha developer that stands to lose. If we don't fight,
every one loses.

Cheers,
Brooke


[1] http://blog.libraryjournal.com/tennantdigitallibraries/2009/09/15/liblime-to-the-koha-community-fork-you/
[2] http://twitter.com/#!/obelos (who has 3 commits.)
[3] http://koha.1045719.n5.nabble.com/PTFS-Koha-Community-Support-and-the-Koha-org-Website-td3056839.html
[4]http://blog.bigballofwax.co.nz/2011/10/23/statistics-for-3-6-0/) 
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koha_%28custom%29

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