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Hormel Gracefully Concedes On SPAM vs. Spam 167

Posted by timothy
from the and-laugh-it's-funny-too-ok? dept.
dattaway writes: "Hormel has given up complaining about 'spam' referring to junk e-mail and makes a good point about our trademark system." Hormel has actually seemed pretty quiet, even good natured, on this front for a long time -- unlike certain companies, they haven't attempted to throttle everyone using those fateful four letters in sequence. (And that would have made them look bad, anyhow. Language evolves.) Now if only they would send infinite supplies of can-cooked spiced pink meat to the nasty kind of spammers ...
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Hormel Gracefully Concedes On SPAM vs. Spam

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  • The spam term actually predates the infamous Green Card spam by a number of years. The reason that the green card incident was of note was:

    1) It was commercial advertisement, which had only recently been allowed on the Internet.

    2) They were the first to spam EVERY usenet group (and some multiple times), starting 10,000 simultanous flamewars.

    The older usage of 'spam' didn't necessarily mean commercial posting. More like what's called 'crapflooding'.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    We had a client who had registered a domain - matchboxbears.com and was asked by Matel to remove it saying they "were diluting the MatchBox brand". Sad thing is, it was an old woman who was in the Guiness Book for smallest teddy bears (she sold them in matchboxes).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There are three reasons:

    1. Fruit and vegetable consumption was much higher than it is today, partially negating the bad effects of high-fat diets.

    2. Activity levels were higher, particularly in rural populations.

    3. Most people died of something else first. For example, before widespread refrigeration, stomach cancer (from eating salted and smoked meats) was a leading killer.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And either get rid of the icon, or photoshop it to show locercase 'spam'.

    Mr. Trademark-Protector (or should I say, Mr. Hormel-Employee?),

    I think you mean "digitally edit the image" instead of "photoshop."

    Thanks.

  • Yes, exactly. I'm surprised they haven't at least mentioed it to the Slashdot crew by now.

    --

  • As the article said, Hormel hasn't changed their policy on this in over a year - seems to me I remember that policy being on their Web site at least three years ago. They DO object (at least officially) to the use of their logo, or pictures of their product (such as the one Slashdot uses) being associated with junk e-mail, but they do NOT object to the use of the word "spam" (in lower-case letters) to refer to same.

    --

  • I always thought that the reason was that the original aspirin company (Bayer) lost the right to sell aspirin in the US as part of WWI reparations (for a long time, Bayer was sold in the US by Sterling, Bayer didn't regain the rights until 1994). See:

    http://www.bayer.com/en/unternehmen/historie/jung. html [bayer.com]

  • If it comes from an animal (doesn't matter what *part* of the animal), it's not artificial :).
  • SPAM (in all caps) is used for the Luncheon Meat, *not* for UCE. It wouldn't hurt slashdot to at least change the letters on the can to all lower-case, and maybe also change the color of the can (there are plenty of SPAM Luncheon Meat knock-offs at the grocery store in similar but different colored cans).

  • http://www.montypython.net/scripts/spam.php

    enjoy, I did

  • by deltab (3570) on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:59PM (#191703)

    Hormel has actually seemed pretty quiet, even good natured, on this front for a long time [...]

    Indeed, the datestamp on Hormel's page about this [spam.com] is Thu, 23 Jul 1998 18:46:44 GMT – nearly three years ago!

  • Yeah, grilled Spam sandwiches are fantastic!
  • Whoa, you are smoking tall grass too?? Dope.
  • Well since we've already got a thread about the food going...

    in Hawaii it's really popular to eat SPAM Musubi. They even sell it at 7-11 like they do hot dogs. It's just a slab of fried spam thrown on a slab of rice and wrapped in seaweed. Since I've left Hawaii, I still make it occasionally. My friends in Indiana think I'm weird, but it's good stuff. :)
  • And I was so looking forward to Hormel making spammers eat their weight in salty pork products. Now my hopes are dashed!
  • Findlaw [findlaw.com] is your friend.

    2'nd Circuit Court ruling here [findlaw.com].
  • Having been a witness to the scourge of spam that hit Usenet, it still surprises me that at least two years before Spamford really got started, Usenet was getting blanketed with spam by none other than Michael Wolff.

    Yes, that Michael Wolff, author of Burn Rate and other tripe. As part of his self-promotion campaign, he pumped out thousands of messages, individually to each and every newsgroup. When people complained about the messages being identical and off-topic, he did the same thing, only leading off with a customized line mentioning the newsgroup name. He did the same thing many, many more times.

    I don't buy his books, or read his columns---I've never managed to forgive him for being one of the first to really screw up Usenet.

  • by StarFace (13336) on Tuesday May 29, 2001 @05:05AM (#191710) Homepage
    I have heard that it stands for Squirrels, Possoms And Mice.
  • This would seem to say that Slashdot's use of a picture of a SPAM can to denote stories about UCE (Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail) is against their policy. And though I know I'll get modded down for saying it I can see their point.

    However, for this story (only) the icon is appropriate. We are discussing "SPAM" as well as "spam".

  • Follow SPAM with "Luncheon Meat" or other descriptor. Remember, a trademark is a formal adjective and as such, should always be followed by a noun.
    I never knew that. But it does make life interesting. As well as arguing over linux vs. gnu/linux, we'll have the grammar nazis insisting it's the linux operating system, and the fsf grammar nazis insisting it's the gnu/linux operating environment.
    Of course, it does mean I was right in referring to "that windows piece of shit"
  • I remember using (and still use today) the term spam over 12 years ago to refer to scrambled data on a floppy disk or on a BBS screen due to line noise. It just meant that it looked like it was chopped up and pressed together.

  • I used to have spam for dinner (nearly everyday)in Venezuela when I was about 13 years old. I liked it fried with lettuce and tomato. GOD how we preteens used to punish our poor bodies. =/

    Hugo
  • And Spam, isn't close enough to Uck, that you'd still eat it? :P

    --
  • "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"

    Moderation Totals: Wrong=2, Stupid=3, Total=5.

    Those would actually be pretty good moderation options. More than once I've seen posts which I might have moderated down for being wrong or stupid. They weren't offtopic and they weren't redundant. They were just plain wrong.

    Oh well.
    --

  • We already hashed this out a couple of weeks ago in the RFC for Spammers [slashdot.org] thread.
  • Where were you two weeks ago [slashdot.org]?
  • "Spam"

    Spam in the place where I live (ham and pork)
    Think about nutrition, wonder what's inside it now (oh boy)
    Spam in my luchbox at work (it's the best)
    Really makes a darn good sandwhich any way you slice it at all

    If you're running low, go to the store
    Carry some money to help you buy more
    The tab is there to open the can
    The can is there to hold in the spam

    Oh, spam on the table at home (ham and pork)
    Think about selection, are there different flavors now (let's eat)
    Spam in my office at work (it's the best)
    Think about the stuff its made from, wonder if it's mystery of meat

    If you need a spoon, keep one around
    Carry a thermose to help wash it down
    Now, if there's some left, don't just throw it out
    Use it for spackle or bathroom grout, now

    Spam in my pantry at home (have some more)
    Think of expiration, better read the lable (oh boy)
    Spam breakfast, dinner, or lunch (it's the best)
    Think about how it's been precooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold

    Now, once you start in, you can't put it down
    Don't leave it sitting or it'll turn brown
    The key is going to open the tin
    The tin is there to keep the spam in

    Oh, spam (spam)
    Ham and pork
    Think about nutrition, wonder what's inside it now (oh boy)
    Spam (spam)
    It's the best
    Really makes a darn good sandwhich any way you slice it

    Spam in the place where I live (have some more)
    Think about addiction, wonder if I'm a junkie now (let's eat)
    Spam in the place where I work (you're obsessed)
    Think about the way it's processed, wonder if it's some kind of meat

    Spam in the back of my car (ham and pork)
    Spam any place that you are (ham and pork)
    The tab is there to open the can (spam any place that you are) (ham and pork)
    The can is there to hold in the spam (spam any place that you are) (ham and pork)
  • > Does anyone ever actually EAT this stuff?

    Actually, I like Spam (the food product--I detest UBE). When I was growing up, we would eat it on camping trips. I think it tastes really good fried. I don't eat it much anymore, however, because of its fat content.
    =======
  • Interesting though, consider that the slang term "spam" as applying to UCE *IS* derived from the meat product, and therefore using the image is not misrepresenting.

    To say you'll permit one and not the other is a tough sell. The two are mutually exclusive.

    Now... had the term "spam" come from something completely unrelated to the meat product, then I can see the issue here.

    -Restil
  • So you want SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, and SPAM?

    *cue vikings*
  • Replace it with the tasty "Speat" from Heavy Gear. It's close enough. :) And you can use the empty tins to repair Gear armor....
  • Let us not forget that Hormel was also VERY upset with Muppet Treasure Island (I believe) for using their name for the head of the tribe of wild boars in the movie...

    They're not all soft and squishy, like their meat, they just know when to cut their losses.
  • But if your trademark is seen to enter the public domain then everyone else can use it too.
    If everyone sells Rollerblades then how do you know which ones are the originals?

    Xerox actually has entered the language in some places, which leaves Xerox in the uneviable position of trying to sell Xerox xeroxes..
  • by r_newman (40868) on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:59PM (#191726)
    Four years to realise that fighting the whole world in a battle that no one cared about - except for it's (mildly) humourous connotations - is counter-productive.

    Of course they may have been told by their legal advisers that "spam" is now a defacto part of the English language (look iy up in the newer Oxford English dictionary) in both of it's meanings, and as such the use of the word to describe unsolicited e-mail could probably not have been challenged in court.
  • I don't eat it much anymore, however, because of its fat content.

    You should try Spam Lite! [spam.com].

    -Bruce
  • Why not send all the spammers to Hormel to make Spam out of? We could feed the world....

    UCE is people! PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!

  • Think about it for a second -- if _every_ copier out there was called 'Xerox', then xerox no longer holds a brand name. Where's the name recognition and the benefit for publicity when anyone can use the name?

    If the companies don't fight for their names, then not only can the general public use them to refer to all similar products, but their competitors can also.

    For those that are from the south, I know you've seen this discussion:

    I'd like a coke.

    What type?
    Sprite.

    Although the 'Coke' name means 'Coca-Cola brand cola soft drink' in many areas, in some areas, it's used interchangably with 'soda'. (And I think it's still more normal than calling it a 'pop', which is the name I use to refer to my grandfather.)

    And for those that believe that any publicity is good-- imagine that there's a scare due to some sort of tainting in the factory, and the headline reads

    CONTAMINATED COKE BOTTLES KILL 4
    But then the article says that it's some mom and pop soda company, and not Coca-Cola brand. If companies do not protect their trademarks, this is something that has the potential of happening. (The misleading articles, not the death of people by contaminated coke bottles)
  • And either get rid of the icon, or photoshop it to show locercase 'spam'.

    Just making something lowercase does not make it no longer trademarked.

    Photoshop is a rather nice program out there to edit pixelated images. It is not a generic verb which describes editing pixelated images.

    Yes, the 'spam' image used by slashdot should be edited so that it does not show an image of SPAM canned luncheon meat. However, whomever wishes to edit the image should use whatever pixel editing program they may wish to use, such as gimp or any one of the other fine image editing programs out there.
  • Now if only they would send infinite supplies of can-cooked spiced pink meat to the nasty kind of spammers ...

    For spammers who actually like spam (the meat), that might be encouragement.

    I remember originally liking spam, but it needed careful treatment to get a really good tasting meal (this may be why a spam meal in pacific rim countries is rather expensive). Over time, I found it far easier to make a good-tasting meal out of "real" meat. Now I don't eat beef or pork at all.
    --

  • It was late enough in the history of the net that most people had moved to 1200 baud by then. This is still slow enough to take a while to download a large (and useless) message -- or worse yet, a bunch of them.

    It should also be remembered that this was back when most home users were happy to have a 60 Meg hard drive Most server disks were probably in the range of a couple hundred megabytes. Not much spare space for spam postings. Given the relatively lower volume of the usenet back then, a series of spam postings could be problematic for some smaller sites. -- forcing the expiration or rejection of many 'real' postings.
    --

  • The way that spam became a usenet term only starts with the Monty Python sketch. What happened (a long time!) after the sketch is that some unhappy bugger decided to get annoying on the net (I don't remember the specifics of his complaint). He sent dozens of messages crossposted to many newsgroups with the text consisting of the extended version of the spam song

    (spam spam spam.... ) {hundreds of lines of it!)

    Originally, spamming really only referred to massive, crossposted postings on the usenet. Various names like UCE (Unwanted Commercial Email) / UBE (Unsolicited Bulk Email) were the techinical term for the email 'spam', but Spam is far easier to say and remember (and more fun). People seem to have settled on spam (to Hormels mild consternation).
    --

  • Must have been after the fact. I was pretty heavily involved in the entire spam fiasco from the beginning (although not as rabid as some were). I've never heard that term. I do remember reading the post where someone compared what massive crossposting of ads to usenet as similar to the monty python spam sketch. It took off right away. Shame I never archived that stuff... :(
  • I spent a lot of time on various newsgroups when the term spam was originally coined. It was around April '94 when the two scumbag lawyers from Phoenix spammed the world over usenet regarding green card lotteries (I even have an infamous "Joel Furr" T-shirt about it!). I was (and still are) a news administrator so spam really worried me (and still does).

    Anyway, the term was coined from the Monty Python sketch. Shortly after that, most media outlets that ran a story on spam for some reason said the term came from the idea of "when spam hits the fan" and the resultant crap that flies everywhere.

    I don't know where that came from, but it wasn't accurate, but was quoted as authoritave all over the news at the time.

    At least I'm glad that pretty much everyone knows the true reason the word was coined in the first place. Small thing, but historical accuracy should always be maintained when possible.

    Shame there are no archives from around that time...

  • Let us not forget that Hormel was also VERY upset with Muppet Treasure Island (I believe) for using their name for the head of the tribe of wild boars in the movie...
    That's very funny. "We see you have boom-boom sticks. Bye bye!"
  • It's all fair use anyway. It's not like Slashdot is in the "processed-canned-meat" industry and is trying to "fool" consumers. "Duh, hey Slashdot makes SPAM, I didn't know that"

    AFAIK trademarks really only apply within a given industry. E.g., if Ford wanted to name a car Spam, that would probably be legal. In any case, Slashdot can always just show the cubical slab of Spam, as opposed to the packaging.

  • This issue/suggestion has come up every single time there's a spam story (and thus, the SPAM logo is used). Somebody always, and correctly, brings up the Hormel Policy Statement and points out the problem with the logo.

    The post is always, and correctly, modded up to 5, because we wouldn't like to see /. get sued.

    The /. maintainers blissfully ignore the recommendations altogether. Do they even glance over the comments anymore? Even at Highest Scores First, Threaded, cutoff at +4, they should still have seen this recommendation half a dozen times by now.

    If everyone suddenly stopped posting comments, how long would it take them to even notice?

  • SHUT UP!!!

    Bloody vikings...
    ------

  • From the article:
    That's not to say that an aggressive campaign against trademark infringement never works. The company Rollerblade, for example, did a pretty good job getting people to use the phrase "in-line skating" instead of "rollerblading" to protect its brand name. Xerox has also been vigilant in preventing publications from using the word "xerox" as a generic synonym for photocopy.
    I don't think the xerox- and rollerblade- marketing teams did a good job there. If everyone would use "xerox" for copies or "rollerblade" for inline skate, these brand names would get much more attention. I mean, look at any term, where a brand name became a synonym for something, and what a difference it makes, being the only company that can name it's products the way everyone calls it anyway.

    So i don't mind, if Hormel get's a little advertisement by publicly being 'generous' to all those people calling, uh..., unsolicited email spam. (They should've banned that Monty Python parody, or come about seven years earlier to stop this anyway).
  • I think this shows a HUGE amount of class on the part of Hormel. They know that it won't hurt sales of their product, they're not suing anybody, or anything like that. They're being mature about it. I tip my hat to you, sirs.

    For contrast, let me offer up this recent post from Ashtung Wolfenstein! [3dactionplanet.com]:
    Wolfenstein E3 Trailer Never to See the Light of Day Again?
    by Thrrrpptt! Friday, May 25, 2001

    Just got this email from Greg Goodrich, Executive Producer on Return to Castle Wolfenstein:

    I've been reading quite a bit lately (on a number of different forums) that a lot of people are waiting to see the "Return To Castle Wolfenstein" E3 trailer. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like this is going to happen anytime soon. Let me explain.

    When the trailer was originally cut for the show we used a music track called "Bishop's Countdown" from the movie "Aliens". We were told at the time that the rights to the music had been secured through Fox (owner of the "Aliens" property and the parent company of Fox Interactive). And they were. Activision had indeed paid a large sum of money for the rights and we were free and clear to make our trailer.

    We fully expected to make it available via download after the show (as everyone else has recently done) but unfortunately this was not to be the case. Just hours before the start of E3 our fine friends from Fox Interactive were granted a special request to preview the trailer. Immediately following the private showing they decided it wasn't in their best interest to allow us to use the music or make it available for download. It was (and still is) the belief of Fox Interactive that by allowing us to do so would cause "confusion" in the marketplace between "Return To Castle Wolfenstein" and "Aliens vs. Predator 2". I'll leave it up to you to decide.

    Hopefully, those of you who went to E3 enjoyed the trailer. It captured the essence of what "Wolfenstein" is shaping up to be and was edited with 100% game play footage from the current build of the game. Unfortunately, unless someone captured it via camcorder (from one of the monitors) and makes it available on their own accord, it will most likely never be shown again.
    Man, that sucks. The trailer was really cool and I was looking forward to seeing it again. If anyone hears of its being released, make sure you send me a note.

    There is a thread on the 3DActionPlanet boards [forumplanet.com] about this topic that you can reply to if you think Fox is just trying to pull a dirty trick to prevent the promotion of a rival game (or, for that matter, if you think they are NOT).

    I wish FOX would follow Hormel's lead. They could learn something.

    (For the record, this post isn't intended as off-topic or flamebait or trolling. Just an observation.)

    ---
  • My parents' first shopping trip togther went something like this:

    Mom: "Look, Spam! Do you like Spam?" (hoping he'd say "no")

    Dad: "Sure, OK." (wishing she hadn't asked)

    And so we ate spam once, often twice a week for 2 years.

    Two years, when neither one would admit to hating the stuff, and we, being kids, didn't know any better so we ate it also.

    I think it was my dad who finally fessed up, but I've never had want or need to confirm this. I'm just glad they decided together, before I reached 10 and started considering SPAM real food. Now, I can't stand the stuff.

    btw, they're still happily married, and will hit their 20th anniversary this summer.

    HI MOM! HI DAD! Congratulations!

  • IMHO these sound neater

    Stupid Problematic Asshole Messaging

    Some Poor Asshole Menacing

    Someone Posting Anonymous Manuer



  • One thing you have to keep in mind is that most ISP's, well a lot of them are sort of owned by one large corp. or have some form of agreement somewhere down the line. What's more is the fact that some of those ISP's may be providing colo services for some of those companies sending the spam.


  • by joq (63625) on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:15PM (#191745) Homepage Journal

    Too many spammers have a variety of resources at their disposals to continue spamming, mixmaster remailers, horrible configurations of sendmail from corporations, and nickle and dime webservers, etc.

    Now what may work, is going after those responsible for the advertisements contained in spam. Example www.joebloworsomething.com hires someone to promote their site, and those people send promotions out via way of spam, I feel holding the people at the site responsible is better fitted.

    Now bear with me on this a second. Sure it can seem somewhat unfair, but no one asks for spam, and by using someone's resources (bandwidth, whatever) companies should be made aware of how much their actions cause versus the amount of people who actually reply to spam. Think about it, company X sends say 20,000 spam emails a day, of which 1 replies and actually buys something, but out of those 20,000 500 decide to take company X to small claims court bitching...

    See the laws fail when they're passed because you can't have one country's law dictate what is law in another country, and many politicians fail to see that when they waste time and money with their so called AntiSpam bills. You don't cut weeds in the garden half assed, you cut them at the root.

    Stolen Uranium, and unsolved murders? [antioffline.com] non fiction at its best
  • The spammers want you to visit their web site and are paying GoTo.com more than $5 / click for you to come and see them. Help them out on GoTo.com's bulk email search page.

    Hm...one could write a faily nasty little Perl script to cause a little financial distress....

    Meanwhile........ I plot....

    Mike.

  • How long till all the geeks admit "hacker" is the same thing as a "cracker"?
  • As supported by the SPAM FAQ [spam.com], SPAM stands for "Shoulder of Pork and Ham." The name was decided upon through a contest, in which Kenneth Daigneau, the brother of Hormel's vice president submitted the winning entry.
  • I've said it before, and I shall now say it again: don't just go after the ISPs, go after the domain.

    If you receive a spam advertising www.chocolatemonkeynuts.com, look up the DNS server for chocolatemonkeynuts.com, and complain to the service that hosts it. Get the domain pulled, as well as the web site. Web space is trivial to find, but it takes (a little) more work to set up a domain.
  • This [ccnmag.com] is an Editorial that was done in a local Northern California trade mag called CCN [ccnmag.com]. There is also a follow-up [ccnmag.com].
  • it's a reasonable request from hormel. does it matter who dilutes a trademark first? is it really that big a deal for somebody to make a new icon? what would it actually take to get somebody to change the icon?
  • Actually, I always here it was

    SPAM - SELECT PARTS of ANIMAL MEAT



    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • SPAM is a registered trademark of Hormel Foods and should be kept off the Usenet News. [scruz.net].

    I notice now that my link to Hormel Foods Corporation vs. Jim Henson Productions Inc. (the opinion in a lawsuit) is now dead. Anyone got a good link?


    Mike [goingware.com]

  • Spam and Diablitos are not the same, nor taste the same. I managed to find "real" spam cans here, albeit expensive, as any imported stuff. Payed attention to it only after learning about the existence of such a food and Monthy Python sket. All of this thanks to the spam term being used to describe UBE.

    --

  • So get timothy to hack the logo that /. uses. Replace "SPAM" with "UCE". Although I don't know if I'd want to eat something called UCE. Too close to UCK if you ask me.


    I have zero tolerance for zero-tolerance policies.

  • I had the domain name "spam.net" years ago and HORMEL and InterNIC forced it away from me.

    Since I am/was the little guy I got shafted and they got a domain name back.

    Four years later they realize what I was telling them back then, "Deal with it, noone will confuse my site for any trademark of yours."

    *sigh*

    Why does the little guy always get shafted?

    -----

  • And all these years I'd been told that SPAM stood for Surgically Processed Albino Mouseloaf.

    Huh... go know...

    Seriously, though, this is the kind of grace that should be prevalent in all industry. That's not to say that they should roll over when their trademarks are infringed, but they don't have to be such asses about it.

    Viva the livelihood of Austin, Minnesota. We could learn a lot from the Minnesotan motto of "Make nice!".


    Zaphod B
  • I've noticed that too, Actually that is why I said it, not to get the points (they are not tradable for cash contrary to popular belief) but to test that exact theory. Guess my hypothesis was correct. Though I know I'll get modded down for saying that. ;)
  • by UnifiedTechs (100743) on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:54PM (#191759) Homepage
    From Policy Statement: We do not object to use of this slang term to describe UCE, although we do object to the use of our product image in association with that term. This would seem to say that Slashdot's use of a picture of a SPAM can to denote stories about UCE (Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail) is against their policy. And though I know I'll get modded down for saying it I can see their point.
  • Didn't he set up a company to make the first ballpoint and name the company after himself? And didn't he also trademark that invention with the same name?
    ----
  • by KlausBreuer (105581) on Tuesday May 29, 2001 @01:06AM (#191763) Homepage
    Funny, but this pops up on *every* spam topic:

    Please refer to spam as 'spam', not 'SPAM'!
    And either get rid of the icon, or photoshop it to show locercase 'spam'.

    Darn, the company is being so reasonable, and we're still doing our best to irritate them with this.

    I just don't get it.

    ---
    "What, I need a *reason* for everything?" -- Calvin
  • by The_Messenger (110966) on Tuesday May 29, 2001 @03:26AM (#191765) Homepage Journal
    . . . it's just as clear what people mean by hacker in context as it is that I don't have pink meat in my inbox.
    I may not have any "pink meat" in my mailbox, but according to a large percentage of spam I receive, it is only a few clicks away!

    --

  • by RennieScum (118197) on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:19PM (#191768) Homepage
    Drangel mused that the new use of the company's top brand might actually benefit Hormel. The theory is that having more people talk and think about spam will cause more people to buy and eat SPAM.

    So this a case of accidental marketing.

    Works on me. I had never had any SPAM before, but sometime in 1996, something changed in me. I tried it, and thought it was OK. Time passed, and I kept buying the stuff, and started trying out the recipes on the sides of the cans. Those folks at Hormel (tm) come up with some pretty tasty recipes! Let's face in, SPAM-n-eggs is pretty nasty, but Chicken SPAM-on-Bleu is fabulous! So is SPAM-a-roni and cheese, and SPAM and mushroom pizzas.

    But take it from me, don't make SPAM cupcakes!

  • First an acronym for Specially Processed Artificial Meat (Spiced Pork and hAM also?). Fed to WW I soldiers in the trenches. Also at the center of the first spam debate--rancid meat. Was exposed by Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle which detailed the horrendously unsanitary conditions of the meat packing industry. Spam's ingredients were first "Everything from the pig but the squeal!"

    The nufty stuff you learn in HIS104 - 20th Century American History

  • And for those that believe that any publicity is good-- imagine that there's a scare due to some sort of tainting in the factory, and the headline reads

    CONTAMINATED COKE BOTTLES KILL 4

    But then the article says that it's some mom and pop soda company, and not Coca-Cola brand. If companies do not protect their trademarks, this is something that has the potential of happening. (The misleading articles, not the death of people by contaminated coke bottles)

    IIRC, a similar thing happened with the bombing at the centenial olympic park. News outlets had been refering to a "tupperware container filled with nails", and the official Tupperware (tm) people got very pissy because they were not only using their trademark as a generic word, it was in the context of a fairly traumatic event.

    Kahuna Burger

  • by KahunaBurger (123991) on Tuesday May 29, 2001 @06:56AM (#191775)
    Since I have no moderator points, and this is an excellent response to a silly post, I will simply cut and paste it at my higher base posting score and take the karma burn if anyone decides that's reduntant or off topic.

    There are three reasons:

    1. Fruit and vegetable consumption was much higher than it is today, partially negating the bad effects of high-fat diets.

    2. Activity levels were higher, particularly in rural populations.

    3. Most people died of something else first. For example, before widespread refrigeration, stomach cancer (from eating salted and smoked meats) was a leading killer.

    To the second point I would also add that during the winter the added fuel of all the fat would be burned off keeping the poor blokes warm. I used to give my family's outside cats (dad insisted, poor kitties) hot fat and meat drippings over their dry food or some stale bread during the winter. It helped them deal with the cold, they didn't get fat from it and like many of our ancestors they died of other causes well before heart disease was even on the radar.

    Kahuna Burger

  • Couldn't find any mention of it in his link, or at the Bayer site, though.

    Aspirin is still a trademark in several countries. See also this Flash map [aspirin.com].

  • by yerricde (125198) on Tuesday May 29, 2001 @07:07AM (#191778) Homepage Journal

    How long till all the geeks admit "hacker" is the same thing as a "cracker"?

    I'd be satisfied if the media called computer crime "illegal hacking," just as it calls recreational substances "illegal drugs" to contrast with legitimate drugs such as ASPIRIN® [aspirin.com].

  • by yerricde (125198) on Tuesday May 29, 2001 @07:32AM (#191779) Homepage Journal

    "aspirin" used to be a registered trademark?

    According to this Flash map [aspirin.com], ASPIRIN® is still a trademark in many jurisdictions; Bayer had to give it up in the U.S. after WWI.

    trademarks slopping over into public domain even before the 75-year trademark expiration date.

    Bullshit. Trademark registrations can be renewed every 10 years. This renewal is legitimate, unlike the 20-year across-the-board renewals that Disney keeps buying [pineight.com] for copyrights that severely erode the public's end of the bargain [gnu.org] under which the Constitution authorizes certain government-granted monopolies [everything2.com].

    And yes, I do like the taste of SPAM luncheon meat and SPAMBURGER sandwiches.

  • And given the rapidity at which "spam" has entered the general lexicon in English and several other languages, trademark experts say Hormel would be foolish to fight the trend.

    Perhaps we should bear this in mind when we jump on newspaper articles that use the word 'hacker'. A language only means what people use it to mean, and I'm sure it's just as clear what people mean by hacker in context as it is that I don't have pink meat in my inbox.

    not_cub

  • If companies get 4 orders out of 500,000 emails it's enough for them to continue. Remember that the companies are the ones profiting, not the ISPs. The ISPs have very little reason not to stop spammers once pointed out to them, especialy when it is against their TOS. In fact, you could make quite an arguement that their TOS are void if selectively enforced.

    ---=-=-=-=-=-=---

  • If an ISP doesn't enforce it's TOS on one consumer, they can't enforce it on any... If some lawyers had a hand in the high-tech industry, all this legislation against consumers (and spam) would be a thing of the past. So far, no one has stood up and fought it with any reasonable argument (like mine). It's just something that needs to be done to set the precident.

    ---=-=-=-=-=-=---

  • Actually, the basis for most legal arguements is precident. If you show that the ISP kicked you off for spamming and don't kick off some other customer for the same offense, they can be sued quite thoroughly. You can say it's not true but it really is how our legal system works, if you want to believe it or not.

    While there are tons of lawyers in hi-tech lawsuits, all are on the side of businesses, not consumers. Just think of all the b.s. TOS forced upon people buying Windows preloaded on a system. If you turn on the system you've agreed to the TOS before you've even read it. There are many situations like that which could be easially resolved in the courts, but never are. Just look at the Napster trial. Simply using a public Library as an example of fair use would have made napster fall well withing legal bounds. Either the lawyers don't know, or don't care. You're welcome to take your pick.

    ---=-=-=-=-=-=---

  • Denying my statements for the third time doesn't make your claim any more true...

    As far as the TOS, there are plenty of invalid licensing agreements out there... Just think of the forms parents sign when sending their childern to school absolving the schools of any responsibility. Meanwhile, schools are being sued left and right. A TOS is no the word of law so get off it.

    Because you use a half-assed traffic court analogy, I'll work off of that.... You can in fact get out of a traffic ticket if you can show that the officer let someone else go while singleing out you. The problem being, it's almost impossible to prove that his claim of only having seen you, or whatever, is false.

    Re: Napster
    Say whatever you want, but I'm not going to get involved in any adolesent name-calling. It's always the last resort of people who have no rebutal.

    ---=-=-=-=-=-=---

  • Go read the FAQ. Nobody modded his comment up, just like nobody modded this one up either...

    ---=-=-=-=-=-=---

  • How about a giant pile of letters with the hand of a guy buried beneath them trying to claw up to the top?
  • Kudos to Hormel for standing out as a shining example of a sensible, rational company in the otherwise delusional corporate world.
    You're attributing human motives to a corporate entity. Hormel is as "sensible" as its lawyers and stockholders allow them to be. Which is to say, not at all.

    If the management of any company started saying, "oh gee, all this hassle over trademarks is silly, let's just forget about it, or at least back off a little," they be fired and sued by their stockholders faster than you can say "shareholder value". They have to protect their trademarks, period.

    Hormel is simply abandoning an ineffective trademark protection strategy for one they hope will work better. Seeming to be "sensible" is just a side effect. Their old strategy, the standard our-trademark-means-this-and-nothing-else, wasn't working. The new usage of the word "spam" is just too well-established to be eradicated.

    So now the Hormel party line is that only "SPAM" (all caps) is a trademark, and it's ok to refer to junk email as "spam" (all lower case). It's just a legal theory designed to prove their "due diligence", nothing more.

    __

  • The spammers want you to visit their web site and are paying GoTo.com more than $5 / click for you to come and see them. Help them out on GoTo.com's bulk email search page [goto.com].

  • by Tirs (195467) on Monday May 28, 2001 @11:41PM (#191810) Homepage
    Well, I'm European and I had never heard about a meal called SPAM before. When I went to the U.S. I saw the cans on a supermarket shelf, and I thought: "Hey, this stuff has the same name as junk mail!" I tried it just out of curiosity... and they won a new customer. A side effect of this story was that now I understand what the "Spam" icon in /. is.
  • Actually, the use of the term "spam"to describe UCE comes from the Monty Python sketch.

    You remember, the one in the cafe, where everything comes with Spam, includiong such delights as "Spam, spam, spam, sausage, egg and spam" etc.

    So all the food came with vast quantities of spam, obscuring the rest of the food, just as email comes with vast quantities of UCE, obscuring the real emails.

    (The sketch, btw, culminates in the Vikings in a corner of the cafe singing the Spam song -

    "Spam, spam, spam, spam.
    Spam, spam, spam, spam,
    ...
    "
    )

    --
  • The difference is this, Hormel don't give up their trademark if they dont pursue because SPAM and spam cannot be confused.

    If Rollerblade or Xerox allow their trademarks to become generic words for in-line skating or photocopying, they loose the right to the trademark.

    Ever heard of a "biro"? For quite a while nobody used the term "ball point pen" and the trademark is useless.

  • (spam spam spam.... ) {hundreds of lines of it!)

    Thus rendering the 300-baud modems that were en vogue at the time completely useless!
  • by American AC in Paris (230456) on Tuesday May 29, 2001 @01:20AM (#191826) Homepage
    Kudos to Hormel for standing out as a shining example of a sensible, rational company in the otherwise delusional corporate world.

    No kudos whatsoever to those who for years refused to even consider honoring Hormel's quite reasonable requests regarding the use of the SPAM trademark.

    After years of sticking to your guns and standing up for what you believe in, you've finally beaten the good guys. Go, team.

  • I eat it regularly. Fry it and put maple syrup on it...mmmm. That and fried bologna :)

    ________________________________________________ __
  • Spam luncheon meat is very popular over the whole Pasific rim and islands. My step-son reported that in Korea, a Spam dinner costs more than a beef steak dinner. Spam's only problem is that most English desended person's tend to be beef-eaters, and consider pork eating peoples in deragatory terms. Asian desended people tend to consider Spam a delicious treat. I consider it quite tasty, and often fry it and use it for a sandwich meat. The frying melts out a lot of the fat that some object to, after draining I would be suprised if the fat content is more than most beef based luncheon meats.

    As for the name I had heard that it actualy stood for Shoulder Pork And haM. Also being a canned product means that it is not perishable like fresh meat would be, many third world countries just don't have the infrastructure to move large quantities of meat arround like most of us are used to. This explains its popularity with campers, its hard to keep meat with out refigeration.

    Canned meats allow a lot of third world people to moderate the feast-fammine cycle, that they have all ways lived under, such as kill a pig and feast for a week, then half starve until the next one is ready. This is a big change in many cultures, it is difficult to conceptualize the thought of saving for the future when eat it before it spoils is all you've known. Actualy I've just about cleaned out my Y2K stock of Spam; so I guess that I'll have to tackle my Email next.

  • Um...yes, they do.

    My ex-girlfriend's best friend and husband used to eat the stuff. They'd fry it and then eat it with maple syrup. I can't imagine what that tastes like. Truly frightening.

    At any rate, when I was a child there was a similar product called "TREET" (or something similar). I think that it was made by Armour instead of Hormel, and may have been a competitor to SPAM. We used to eat it quite a lot when I was growing up, and I loved it. I don't think that you can find it in the stores anymore.

    A couple years ago I was at the grocery and on a whim decided to try SPAM and see if it was actually any good. I knew that it was some kind of pork product, so I fried up a couple slices like you would a sausage patty and then made a sandwich of it (with lots of mustard, as you would with a sausage sandwich). It was quite possibly the most disgusting thing that I have memory of eating. After a few bites I actually threw the SPAM away and had a mustard sandwich. ;-)

    But I'm hardly objective since I tend to dislike pork products anyway (with the exception of bacon and some sausages).
  • You've missed the point. The companies don't mind that everyone says "xerox that" or whatever. You're right, it's probably good for business, and in practice there's very little they can do anyway.
    But to keep their trademark, they have to defend it - so they must go after people who use the name "officially", so to speak, in publications etc. If they didn't do this, they'd lose the trademark and they wouldn't be able to sue if (say) Canon brought out their new Xerox-2000 photocopier.
    By being publicly strict but privately tolerant, they get the best of both worlds.

    --
  • "Other examples of famous trademarks having a different slang meaning include... TEFLON, used to describe President Reagan" - SPAM's message [spam.com]

    That has to be the best veiled political statements in corporate america's history...

  • The company Rollerblade, for example, did a pretty good job getting people to use the phrase "in-line skating" instead of "rollerblading" to protect its brand name. Xerox has also been vigilant in preventing publications from using the word "xerox" as a generic synonym for photocopy.

    I just don't get it. It's bad for you company that everybody says "go rollerblading" or "xerox that" ? I would just say that's the best kind of publicity. Your trademark is in the dictionary, for crying out loud! Of course it's different with spam, nobody would like to be associated with that. But still I would say that adds rather than substracts from the value of your trademark. In the case of Xerox and Rollerblade , it's beyond my comprehension. (Oops, sorry, I forgot, a Trademark is an adjective so in the case of Xerox copiers and Rollerblade in-line-skates...)

  • I agree. SpamCop [spamcop.net] should partner with The Hunger Site [thehungersite.com] in this endeavor.

    THANK YOU for your donation of 1.0 slice(s) of human meat to a hungry person, paid for by: Hormel.

    --

  • "Now if only they would send infinite supplies of can-cooked spiced pink meat to the nasty kind of spammers"
    Why not send all the spammers to Hormel to make Spam out of? We could feed the world....
  • Spam! in my inbox all day
    It's the best.
    Thinking about bandwidth,
    sending angry emails now.
    Spam! Filtering it out,
    keep it a-way from me!
    The Internet is there
    to send you Spam now.
    The Spam is there to make you say "ow!"
    Reading all my spam-mail, wondering if I'm a
    junkie now. Spam!

    With apologies to Weird Al Yankovic.

The world is no nursery. - Sigmund Freud

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