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Microsoft demands http://linux.de removes slogan 163

Posted by sengan
from the I-own-the-English-Language dept.
The German branch of Microsoft has demanded that our collegues at the German Linux Web site remove their slogan "Where do you want to go tomorrow?". They have complied by blacking out their slogan, but Microsoft's legal position appears tenuous: A search on Altavista for that phrase produced over 400 hits, and ... this trademark is pending for Cybernet Systems Corporation of Michigan anyway..
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Microsoft demands http://linux.de removes slogan

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I second that suggestion, if everyone puts "Where do you want to go tommorow", or a similar permutation thereof on your web pages, their trademark starts becoming common parlace and much less enforceble. In fact, don't stop with web pages, add it to your .sig, etc. They can't go after so many people. This will surely annoy the hell of MS lawyers. hehe...

    It has happened before. I.e: "Let me make a xerox of that letter".

    PS. I already put it in my page!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I wondered why it has disappeared at least from CVS versions. Maybe they've been contacted from MS too?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There seems to be a lot of confusion about the
    differences between copyrights, patents, and
    trademarks. Here a few basics.

    "prior use" applies to patents, not trademarks.

    You can't copyright a title of something.

    A trademark applies only to the areas that it is
    applied for under. Violations only occur if you
    use that trademark to try and sell
    products/services using that name, in the same
    category.
    Also, a TM trademark is unregistered and a (R)
    trademark is registered.

    IANAL. YMMV.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Let's try to look at this from an unemotional perspective (which admittedly is difficult to do). It is obvious that one can't use the slogan

    Where do you want to go today?

    Even if this slogan is tied in with a clear parody of MS, one could get into trouble. What about...

    Where do you want to go tomorrow?
    Where do you want to be today?
    Where do we want to go today?

    Now these are slightly different. However, a reasonable person may confuse them to be the actual MS slogan. In this case, the argument will be made that you are benefiting (!?) from the viewers misperception that you are somehow related to MS. This argument is more applicable if you are in the same business field as MS. Now take the next two slogans.

    I sorry Dave, I can't go there today (but I promise you a service pack tomorrow, maybe).
    Where the fsck did you ever go yesterday or today?

    These are far enough displaced from the original that a reasonable person would not confuse it for the MS slogan. They might recognize the connection, but they would also know that it was not the exact MS slogan.

    As far as parody goes, you generally must make changes to the original slogan or trademark. The parody must be such that a normal person would recognize the difference. IIRC, the US Supreme Court has generally protected parody, and most courts use the perspective of how a reasonable person would view it. Finally, I think that everybody should put up "Where do you want to go tomorrow" on their own web site, and leave it up until MS comes barking.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    10) The Dot Com People
    9) Where will we tell you to go today?
    8) Go To Hell.
    7) GOTO Considered Harmful.
    6) Al Gore Invented Windows.
    5) Where Do You Want to Line Bill's Pocket's Today?
    4) We put the . in .com.
    3) Buggy Overpriced Software.
    2) Where do you want to get sued today?

    And the number 1 rejected slogan at Microsoft:

    1) That's a feature not a bug!
  • Another: - We've upped our standards. Up yours.
  • You may be right about the free speech in EU, but the real problem is, that most people wouldn't have enough money to go through the legal system to the heighest courts, and additional, if the case is not "important" enough, you may be unable to go higher than a specific court.
  • by Jordy (440)
    Microsoft really needs to change their official slogan to something like:

    "Microsoft, where can force you to go today?"

    These seems like the path MS is headed in. All these big name companies, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft always use these legal scare tactics to get what they want because they know they can afford to fight... whereas you can not.

    --
  • Put up the Slogan!!!

    ttyl
    Farrell
  • Parodies are indeed protected, but only to a point. Using a parody of a trademarked advertising slogan as your own advertising slogan may be a bit too far. I suppose that's for the courts to decide.
  • Posted by NJViking:

    when do you want to reboot today?

    Hmm.. that slogan assumes that you CAN control when you want to reboot! :)

    NJV

  • by gavinhall (33)
    Posted by NJViking:

    What is: "IANAL. YMMV." ??

    Just wondering.

    NJV
  • Nah, slashdot already has dotslash registered. :)

    I'd rather go to www.microsoftsucks.org anyway.
  • I'd suggest everyone put WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO TOMORROW??? on their web page as a protest.

    Alternatively, I've always liked the slogan "Where do you want Microsoft to go today?"

  • Windows: We put the blues in blue screens.

    Windows: You didn't want to save that, didja?

    Windiws: We're the "un" in unstable.

    Windows: Not just pain relief; productivity relief.

    Windows: Advertise on our GPF's. Call us to find out how. Seen by millions daily.

    Windows: Nothin' says lovin' like a good computer fsckin'

    Microsoft: Did somebody say "Linux"?

  • We've both been parodying ms for as long as I can remember. Satire and Parody are ripe for the attack. On another note, rememeber (cybernet, you should read this), you must prove that you have definitive prior art to defend a trademark, and MS -never- used the where do you want to go tomorrow in an advertisement or to sell product, no prior art, no case.

    Anyhow, we at VA aren't exactly bracing for the impact of such a lawsuit. Does anyone know how german law works on such things? That's the real question.

    Chris DiBona
    Evangelist, VA Research


    --
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    VP, SVLUG

  • I think the fear is that Microsoft, being the wonderful, ethical, and understanding company it is, would sue for libel against every Slashdot poster that ever said anything about the company.

    In short, it's (hopefully) going for a legal loophole; it's kinda like using "Froot Loops" in a competitor's ad and covering up the "Froot" portion of the name.
  • Seem to remember seeing ads recently that *do* use *real* products.

    The thing is, you can't make unsubstantiated, unresearched claims in an ad; otherwise, you have to make claims like "better than the leading brand." Otherwise, the FTC (in the US) gets ya...

    That is, perhaps, why advertising has become such a wasted effort in the US, save for product recognition and recall.
  • Coca-Cola doesn't have a "swoosh." Nike does. Coca-Cola has the "Dynamic Ribbon Device."
  • Phase 5, a popular Amiga and Mac 3rd party hardware maker use this slogan, as do alot of companies.

    Microsoft, your time is up. Exit stage left.

    ...I cleaned up the root partition and now there's LOTS of free space!
  • Very informative. I still fail to see what relevence this has to the case at hand. You assert that "most countries follow the Lanham Act" which I find extremely hard to believe. For example, the UK's copyright and trademark legislation predate that of the US considerably. Germany does not have a common law system - it uses a civil code. So I fail to see how you can even begin to draw analogies between the two systems.

    Until someone can provide us with some facts regarding German law in this area this is all speculation.

    Nick

  • How about: ``Do you wish to reboot your system?''
    ----------
  • Come on, isn't that stretching it just a bit? The point is that it's a parody. Even if not, it's not exactly the same as Microsoft's slogan. No, M$ is just trying to throw its weight around.
    ----------
  • I'm reading White's "The Once and Future King," which is a retelling of the Arthur legend. In his book, Arthur creates the knights of the round table to address the fuedal system's "might-makes-right" attitudes.

    So how do we go about fixing this in today's society? How do we fight "might-makes-right" and rescuing websites in distress? We should create a new "Knights of the Round Internet" to oppose injustice and stupidity everywhere.

    Lancelot, where are you? Sir Gawain? I'd settle for Don Quixote de la Mancha at the moment.

    Anyone want to prepare a FAQ on things to do when Ogres attack your freedom?
  • by WWWWolf (2428)
    MS finally woke up to realize that they're being parodied. Way to go. Who knows, within a few decades they might realize what the public opinion about them is...

  • My favorite was in one of Xach's GIMP tutorials. "How slow do you want to go today?"
  • Now if only I'd get my web page sorted out properly, I could put it on there too.

  • ...and what do they do? Throw a couple of gallons of gasoline onto that bonfire...
  • The Future, The Choice Is Yours.

    The Informed Choice.

    For Generation Xcellence.

    When Performence Matters.

    No BSOD's Here.

  • by jbc (3796)
    My favorite variation on this slogan is the one at lies.com:

    Just where the hell do you think you're going today? And what makes you think you can go there without Microsoft?

    http://www.lies.com/dec97/121897.html [lies.com]

  • I'll do that now! Great idea!
    :)
  • Ok. I think we should all step back a second and look at this. We need to evaluate whether it's fair to use this parady of the microsoft slogan or not. I would like to say that I don't see it as incringing upon microsoft as it's not that widly used. 400 searches on altavista is negligable. I think what has microsoft worked up is the intention of the parody. The intention is of couse to show linux's superiority to windows. We know of the superiority of Linux and this seems the easiest way to say it in few words. This is a Good thing(tm). Unfortunatly it has a nasty side effect as well. This side effect is that it TIES us to microsoft. By creating this sort of symbiotic realationship in the end are we not doing more harm then good?

    Would it not be better to come up with some slogan that could be used across the board and not bind us into a paradigm? In the end we need to ralize this is not about linux vs windows. this is about creating good, solid and reliable software. And the PR needs to be about that. Sure there will be comperisions it is the medias way. But do we have to fall into that and create the paradigm within our own community.


  • Atleast you told us what microsoft was going to do next. Beware DotSlash! (I'm being comical here but the sad part is I wouldn't put it past them though I doubt they would be that obvious about it.)
  • I've had a banner along those same lines up for a LONG time on my web page, and the no-fun gang from Redmond haven't said anything.

    http://www.io.com/~wwagner/pics/linux-ad2.gif [io.com]

  • The law for Me (Microsoft) and the law for you.

    Or..

    We reserve the right to take public standards, "innovate" on them by breaking them, leaving a closed proprietary clunky system.

    But you do not have the right to innovate on a fairly common english phrase that our propaganda department has invested so much time and effort on.

  • I think VA Research even used the "Where do you want to go tomorrow" slogan at one point in a Linux Journal ad. Perhaps this group should receive some award for being trite, but I doubt they will be sued over it, especially in Germany.

    Now how about an ad during the Superbowl where a penguin is running around New York and meets a chiuaua and says "Yo quiero Linux!"
  • I've got a VA T-shirt from LinuxExpo last year with this slogan on it. (Yes, I even wear it! :-)


    We've got a poster for our booth and literature that has Tux riding on a pocket watch with spinning hands. It says
    How Fast Do You Want to Get There?
    We had this made for Comdex 1997 and have displayed it at every show since. I wonder if we'll see any of the MS legal team in Chicago next week?


    --Kit

  • After i went away from the Office, i called a cab.
    The driver, named Bill, asked me Where do you want to go today?
    As i am a Explorer i just told in a single and strong Word home, while opening both Windows to get some fresh air in.


    Look ma, they are going to sue me for 6 words !!
    *guess bill is trademarked too by now -shrug-*






    Freaker / TuC
  • by fishbowl (7759)
    Next what?
    Next to be requested to change something,
    or next to brainlessly, spinelessly cave
    to the request?
  • Don't they realize that obeying this insane
    order gives credibility to Microsoft?

    Man, if the whole community is this soft and
    acquiescent, we'll never be able to overcome
    any REAL attacks.
  • Cybernet Systems Corporation has applied for a trademark on "Where do you want to go tomorrow?". But then, you're searching the wrong database (a US database) for a dispute that is taking place in Germany.

  • Downloaded the latest version yesterday. That slogan is still there as a tooltip.
  • I always liked "Where does Microsoft want you to go today?" better...
  • This was quoted on slashdot a few months back

    "first the ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". - Ghandi
    It looks like Linux vs Micros~1 has reached the third step.

    Microsoft: where do we want you to go today?

  • spectrecjr wrote:
    It wouldn't take an expensive lawyer to defend linux.de; in fact, if they hadn't backed down, M$ probably wouldn't have the balls to sue anyway--they'd lose.

    Actually, no, MS wouldn't lose. This is in fact trademark infringment. Also, that company in Michigan is using the trademark in a different field...

    Parody is a form of protected speech, so MS have no legal leg to stand on. By the way, the people who are trademarking the phrase put out a Linux distribution---they posted on this thread in fact. So they are not using the trademark in a different field; the field is operating systems distributions.... ;)

    And legal issues are sort of irrelevant. Post the slogan to your heart's content and watch MS look extremely foolish trying to send people legal threats, which they then post to their web pages.... ;)


  • This is silly. Law notwithstanding, nobody owns the sentence, "Where do you want to go tomorrow?" Certainly it's been in use commonly on the net for well over a year in reference to Linux, and Microsoft intimidation is sort of irrelevant. ;)

    Just use the slogan. Don't worry about it. ;)

  • Put up the slogan.

    Let them sue all of us. Hehe.
  • I can't tell you how many places I have seen that slogan. My god, look at VA Research, look at RedHat. Its everywhere. So what's m$ gonna due, sue everyone?
  • by cswiii (11061)
    What laws, if any, does Germany have regarding parody material?

    Nonetheless, this is just another example of Microsoft "might-makes-right" tactics, something that can't help the trial any, regardless of the geographic location of this division.
  • Thank you for posting that.

    --bricktoady
  • by finkployd (12902)
    Good question. Either really.

    Fink
  • Why should anybody think that Microsoft has endorsed the "where do you want to go tomorrow?" slogan? Of course MS hasn't endorsed it! Why should anybody imagine they had??? As I already said, "where do you want to go tomorrow" ridicules the MS slogan, and rightly so. Nobody wants nor needs Microsoft to "endorse" that!
    This isn't Microsoft's slogan, it's not what they trademarked, it's none of Microsoft's business. They don't like the ridicule, but there's no law against that in any democratic country I know about.
    TA
  • You haven't got it yet: The point about making a parody of the Microsoft slogan is that "where do you want to go today" is a completely braindead slogan! It's just pure sillyness. That's why everybody is so keen to ridicule it.
    TA
  • That analogy you presented was the worst piece of crap I've seen in a long, long time. Was that the best you could come up with?
    TA
  • Oh come on, it's not creating "confusion, mistakes or deception"! No way it is. It's crystal clear, everybody immediately remembers Microsoft's slogan, "where do you want to go today" and then they see the point. So where's the confusion, deception and mistakes?
    TA
  • The Gospel band Hope [allmusic.com] had a song "Where Do You Want to Go" in 1973.

    Doesn't that precede Microsoft's use of the term by more than 2 decades?

    Bravery, Kindness, Clarity, Honesty, Compassion, Generosity

  • Problem: paragraphs 1a and 1b require that the use be likely to cause confusion. In your example, the color scheme alone would be likely to cause confusion unless someone was specifically looking for the text. Nobody is likely to confuse Linux with Windows ( at least any more than they're likely to confuse a semi rig with a mid-sized car ), especially since that slogan typically begins with "Linux:" rather than "Microsoft:" ( I can't check the page in question because the site seems to have been slashdotted ).

    Further, if your argument were true under US law then we would not be seeing the ads on US television where one company will show an "unamed competitor's" store where uniforms, slogans, products and characteristic names are so close to a real competitor's that the competitor in question is readily recognizable.

    When you create a slogan or name, take-offs on it are one of the facts of life you accept.

  • Where is it trademark infringement? Last I checked MS had "Where do you want to go today?" trademarked, not the slogan in question. Sure they're similar, but the criteria for trademarks is "Is it's use likely to cause confusion between products?", and there's no way Linux will ever be confused with an MS product.

  • Why back down?

    Simple.

    They have more money than pretty much anyone.

  • The idea of aplying copyrights to the english language is stupid and will not work ...so tell mircosoft to go and play with them self and send me the slogan so I can put it up on my site.
  • I've had a banner along those same lines up for a LONG time on my web page, and the no-fun gang from Redmond haven't said anything.

    Well maybe it's because you're site isn't all that big or noticable. Hahahahaa...
  • How about this 100% explicit non-parody:

    Where do you want to go today?
    Away from Microsoft towards Linux! (or *BSD if you wish)

    This establishes quite clearly 100% non-affiliation between what Microsoft and free Unices stand for.

  • In honor of the MS way, press the save button and search for your data a few days:

    Do you know where your data went today?

    Think about it, it really fits MS!
  • bah... that's WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO TOMORROW enclosed in the H1 tag... the posting mechanism ate it even though I had it set to "Plain Old Text"... :-/
  • You should babelfish (babblefish?) the whole article:

    A well-known company with a aenlichen slogan requested us to remove our sub-title from the homepage. We fulfill this request naturally - however where do we want to go then tomorrow? -) We mean: There again a knackiger message must. For this reason we organize now a competition competition competition.

    Do you have a knackigen message in stock, which strikes others from the socks? Then ago with it!

    To win there is naturally also somewhat... which, that yet not betrayed. As much is said: the hauptgewinn is rather large and does not fit now really into a CD ROM drive ;-)

    As is the case for each competition there is also a selection: Your voice for the best Linux linux-Slogan delivers! Starting from 1 May the " wahlurnen " are open.

    Anyone got a slogan that "strikes others from the socks"? Because "as much is said: the hauptgewinn is rather large and does not fit now really into a CD ROM drive."

    I have to say that my hauptgewinn is getting too big for my CD drive.

    Mike
    --

  • Was it just straight off the linux.de homepage

    Almost...clicked on the full story link.

    Here's the reference to TECO you mentioned:

    This program takes a list of names on separate lines and sorts them.

    [1 J^P$L$$

    J <.-Z; .,(S,$ -D .)FX1 @F^B $K :L I $ G1 L>$$

    (where ^B means `Control-B' (ASCII 0000010) and $ is actually an alt or escape (ASCII 0011011) character).

    In fact, this very program was used to produce the second, sorted list from the first list. The first hack at it had a bug: GLS (the author) had accidentally omitted the @ in front of F^B, which as anyone can see is clearly the Wrong Thing. It worked fine the second time. There is no space to describe all the features of TECO, but it may be of interest that ^P means `sort' and J <.-Z; ... L> is an idiomatic series of commands for `do once for every line'.

    Almost as bad as INTERCAL.

    And /. is still doin' that thing with the < and >.

    Mike
    --

  • But I believe the law in question here is German. A German company is being sued by another German company (Microsoft's DE subsidiary). This case will be in German courts under German law. Our arguments either way so far have been irrelevant. Any Deutschlandere (Deutschlanderinnen) out there?

    Mike
    --

  • Hmm, somebody made a knockoff of this graphic:
    [microsoft.com]
    http://www.microsoft.com/questions/graphics/wd.g if

    which can be seen here (provided Xoom doesn't start whining):
    [xoom.com]
    http://members.xoom.com/_XOOM/hoffleman/wd2.gif
    If that takes you to a tosviol.gif, hit reload a few hundred times.

    (Derivative works of art are new works of art and so not covered by the original copyright. I think.)

    This reminds me of the whole " Toys R Gus [toysrgus.com]" thing a while back, where toys r us said they owned anything with an "r us" in it.

    But it's not like somebody is calling themselves "Microslobs" or "Microsloth" or "Micro$oft" or any of the other fun variants, they are using Microsoft's stupid tag line to poke fun at them. Microsoft is totally out of control. What's worse, they have no sense of humor.

    As if anybody going to www.linux.de is going to buy anything from them because they think they're at Microsoft's site! Hello? Anybody home? I think we should do what the guy in the other article [slashdot.org] is saying, abolish copyright. No artist is against MP3 that I've heard, and the ones that are for it (Tom Petty) get in trouble and are told not to distribute their songs anymore. How can people own words?

    I'm not talking about books here, or anybody's livelihood, but to own a sentence? Like "This way in." or "Where do you want to go today?" or "We make it your way." or "News for Nerds: Stuff that matters" er... scratch that last one. Anyway, you get the point.

    This is just a general rant after having tried to login to the old "renegade OLGA [olga.net] archive, which was down. I guess forever? Stupid money grubbing lawyers... like Pearl Jam or Eric Clapton or any guitarist cares if people can play their songs?? No by-ear transcriptions??? Ugh, it gets me so aggravated!!




    -Begin Evan's Dumb Signature.....

  • So. This is a real story, and not another brilliant hoax?

    Suuuuure.

    Why not another joke about getting sued for what's on Your site?

    Shall we all have a good laugh, now?

    Let's all hold our breath while Rob keeps us posted.

  • Now that was/is trademarked by a German company, I think Phase 5 Digital Products used to have it on their web site. Although it no longer seems to be there (neither does their A/Box product to which is was attached).


    __// `Thinking is an exercise to which all too few brains
  • Just like the guy with the pornographic Palm V advertisement parodies [news.com] should.

    For a good example, find the "Meat of the Loom" legal debacle.

    -Chris
  • What laws, if any, does Germany have regarding parody material?


    It doesn't matter what laws Germany has, because the EU's Laws take precedence (once you have fought your way through a member countries court system) and we do have freedom of speech (its under the European Court of Human Rights) so they are probably safe....but's that's just my opinion and i could be wrong ;-).


    tom.
  • What I think is funny is that Jason at 0sil8 [0sil8.com], who did the "Simply Porn" ads, took them down because of his cease and desist order from 3Com and then linked to every site that has a mirror of his work. Wonder what 3Com's take on that is? Fight the man is right.
  • First they laugh at you,
    then they ignore you,
    then they fight you. -- you are here
    Then you win.

    Hey, 3/4 of the way home!
  • however they have started a contest to find a new slogan. submit here [linux.de]!
  • Here... I seem to remember a time when ribbons and politic banners used to be fashionable.
    http://w3.to/silic0n


    Sun Tzu must have been running Linux...
    - Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. (Sun Tzu, The art of war)
  • prehensile.com [prehensile.com] has mirrored the "Simply Porn" ads, and serendipitously enough, is the site where the whole "Meat of the Loom" business was started.

  • M$ didn't sue Billy Graham back in '97 when his campaign ended up using this slogan. Why the preferential treatment for Billy G., other than the fact that he shares the same initials as Mr Gates himself, and that he's got friends upstairs?

    http://www.seattletimes.com/extra/browse/html97/ memo_092997.html
  • Will /. be sued for the Bill/Borg icon now?
  • No they probably bought it. How much did Bill pay the Stones for "~[#]Start me up"? ('scuse the feeble ascii-art windows logo)
  • In a broad Aussie accent (broader than mine) today is close to ``to-die''. Onya moite!
  • In the arrival hall A of the Munich airport, there is a large ad from Oracle asking:

    Where do you want to go tomorrow?

    I wonder if it is still there tomorrow morning. (I do hope so!)
  • Actually,
    Microsoft has the phrase
    "Where do you want to go today"
    registered

    oops, now the phrase is on slashdot.
    Watch out they may have to remove my post
    hehe.
  • I will actually defend Microsoft on this one. I don't defend them on much. The fact is that any computer site that uses the phrase "Where do you want to go Tommorow" is doing it as a Microsoft play. Microsoft has a right to protect itself. A company's rights do not go away when it becomes large. Microsoft is not the antichrist, just a company with bad products and good marketing. Even bad companies deserve fair treatment
  • mmm..and to think we all thought you were
    a Micro$~1 stooge being paid to post stuff
    up here...
    Guess we were mistaken. hehe.


    ... and to continue...

    At least I don't post as an anonymous coward (the way you seem to be doing), and I don't hide my affiliation.

    What's this Micro$~1 crap anyway? Doesn't apply to NT. Doesn't apply to Windows 98/95 unless you drop down to DOS.
  • Oh come on, it's not creating "confusion, mistakes or deception"! No way it is. It's crystal clear, everybody immediately remembers Microsoft's slogan, "where do you want to go today" and then they see the point. So where's the confusion, deception and mistakes?

    From my perspective (and I am not a lawyer), the confusion is (as I said) in whether or not Microsoft is seen as ENDORSING the use of their trademark in that way, and therefore endorsing that company.

    That's the confusion.
  • "...but Microsoft's position seems tenuous." Right, so why do most people back down? Why don't we sue Al Gore for using 'Open Source', and stand up for ourselves when M$ challenges a parody?

    As has been said on /. many times before, a parody is one of the most protected forms of speech. I don't know what German law is like, or whether German, US, or international laws apply, but the point is, we're wimping out on the slander issue.

    To harp on another favorite subject of ours, would a legal fund help us feel our backbone a little more? It wouldn't take an expensive lawyer to defend linux.de; in fact, if they hadn't backed down, M$ probably wouldn't have the balls to sue anyway--they'd lose.

  • by finkployd (12902)
    I seem to remember that same slogan popping up on the start button of KDE. I wonder if they are next?

    Fink
  • On the whole, that's probably good for Linux. Linux should stop being perceived as something that exists only in opposition to Microsoft.

    I use Linux because it works well for me, not because of anything having to do with Microsoft. I wouldn't care about Microsoft or their market share at all if it weren't for the fact that their policies affect the availability of content and drivers on other platforms.

  • Ok, so I can understand that copying a long sequence of words constitues plagarism, if the sequence is of publishable nature. You can't argue that copying a book, verbatim, is a violation - though interesting IP arguments are to be had about this. After all, information seeks freedom by it's very nature.

    And I can understand that a single, specific word, such as the name of a company, can be protected as a trademark. It serves as an identifier, a propoer noun, and in effect it names a specific entity and serves as a reference to the same. This extends to acronyms that present a lengthy name concisely, such as ACME. (I don't know either)

    But going rabid after a short phrase??
    Am I going to get sued for asking "Where do you want to go today?" if I drive a cab? Can M$ dictate how I phrase my questions to my girlfriend? Can a phrase be forbidden by a corporation, simply because some lawyer without enough to do happens to misconstrue the meaning of that phrase as implying superiority over Microsoft?

    I think that, with a name like Microsoft, somebody is simply overcompensating for their PC envy.
  • I'm sure I've seen this in their adverts. Come to think of it, their latest version says, "It is now safe to turn on your Linux computer," as a spoof of the Win95 shutdown message.
  • Why don't we sue Al Gore for using 'Open Source', and stand up for ourselves when M$ challenges a parody?
    Well, I'd say because M$ has a legal team larger than the army of some third world countries. Who needs to be right when you have money?

    And Al Gore... well, is just a moron, and none of us particularly care what he thinks.

  • VA Research? Nah... We have a thing called Free Speech over here in the States.

    Frankly, I can't believe that linux.de actually complied. Over here, you can't sue for parody (well, maybe you can sue, but you can't win). Things must be different in Germany, though.

    It's real sad to see that Microsoft's scare tactics actually worked in this case... :(

    I'd suggest everyone put
    WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO TOMORROW???
    on their web page as a protest. Yes, even if you're in Germany. Let's see what Microsoft has to say about that!
  • Let Microsoft divert attention away from it's legal problems all they want. While legally tenuous, if I came out with a fast food resturant featuring characters dubbed "The Burgerthief" and "Mayor McCheddar" how many people would have a problem with me getting a cease and desist from McDonalds? And what kind of hysterical fit would the majority of you throw if microsoft started the website "www.DotSlash.org:Stuff for nerds. News that matters."?????

    Maybe college would be good for teaching people perspective.
  • ROFL!

    Where'd you get that? Was it just straight off the linux.de homepage (that's where I got the bit above from)?

    Somewhere in the Jargon file (too lazy to find the exact reference right now) it says something about a popular past-time being to type your name in to TECO as a command and see what it comes up with...

    The equivalent past-time for the 90's should be to do the same with babelfish... that was just too funny!!
    --
    - Sean
  • Ow! Babelfish sure mangled that one!

    Ok... here's a human translation (admittedly by someone not quite fluent in German):

    We were requested recently by a well-known company with a similar slogan to our popular sub-title, "Where do you want to go tomorrow?" to remove it. Until we can finally clarify the legal situation we are fulfilling this request.

    How the legal process appears to deal with this parody, however, is not yet quite clear. More to follow?

    --
    - Sean
  • Yeah, and my mother was always asking me

    "Where have you been?"
  • Hasn't VA Research been using this slogan for some time, or did I fall asleep and they stopped using it?
  • Thanks for the citation, it was definitely informative (Where did you get it, btw?). Now my question is what did www.linux.de violate?

    The important phrases seem to be:
    "...in connection with the sale, offering for sale, distribution, or advertising of any goods or services or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive"

    and
    well, actually, the second one is a reprinting of the first in a different tense (corrent me if I'm wrong) in order to indicate those who make the infringement rather than those who use it.

    Anyhow, linux.de doesn't seem to qualify for:
    sale
    offering for sale
    distribution

    of any goods or services. Can they be called advertising for it? It looks like it, I guess. Is this the one that qualifies? Or do you say that it's the "likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to decieve" part?

    Btw, is "Where do you want to go tomorrow?" a "colorable imitation" of "Where do you want to go today?" What is the legal definition of colorable imitation? Do you know where it can be found? Can you find a dictionary definition of colorable imitation? I'm not used to that sort of language, so I'm curious to know what it means.

    Thanks for the info.


  • by spectecjr (31235) on Monday April 12, 1999 @03:33PM (#1938129) Homepage
    Where is it trademark infringement? Last I checked MS had "Where do you want to go today?" trademarked, not the slogan in question. Sure they're similar, but the criteria for trademarks is "Is it's use likely to cause confusion between products?", and there's no way Linux will ever be confused with an MS product.

    Look at it this way:

    If Pepsi had their cans EXACTLY as they are now, but put the Pepsi logo in the Coca Cola font (and I'm not talking about the swoosh here), it'd be no contest -- Coca Cola would win the ensuing lawsuit. But! You say, "It says PEPSI, not Coca-Cola! how can that be confusing"?

    Answer: Doesn't matter.

    Here's part of the reason:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/topics/trademark.html

    Under state common law, trademarks are protected as part of the common law of unfair competition and registration is not required. See Unfair Competition. States' statutory provisions on trademarks differ but most have adopted a version of the Model Trademark Bill (MTB) or the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA). The MTB provides for registration of trademarks while the UDTPA does not.

    ---

    And here's the kicker:


    The Lanham Act of 1946. ( http://www.law.cornell. edu/lanham/lanham.act.html#15usc1114 [cornell.edu])


    Sect. 1114. Remedies; infringement; innocent infringement by printers and publishers
    (1) Any person who shall, without the consent of the registrant--

    (a) use in commerce any reproduction, counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation of a registered mark in connection with the sale, offering for sale, distribution, or advertising of any goods or services on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive; or

    (b) reproduce, counterfeit, copy, or colorably imitate a registered mark and apply such reproduction, counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation to labels, signs, prints, packages, wrappers, receptacles or advertisements intended to be used in commerce upon or in connection with the sale, offering for sale, distribution, or advertising of goods or services on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive, shall be liable in a civil action by the registrant for the remedies hereinafter provided. Under subsection (b) hereof, the registrant shall not be entitled to recover profits or damages unless the acts have been committed with knowledge that such imitation is intended to be used to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive.

    (2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the remedies given to the owner of a right infringed under this Act or to a person bringing an action under section 43(a) [15 USCS Sect. 1125(a)] shall be limited as follows:

    (A) Where any infringer or violator is engaged solely in the business of printing the mark or violating matter for others and establishes that he or she was an innocent infringer or innocent violator, the owner of the right infringed or person bringing the action under section 43(a) [15 USCS Sect. 1125(a)] shall be entitled as against such infringer or violator only to an injunction against future printing.

    (B) Where the infringement or violation complained of is contained in or is part of paid advertising matter in a newspaper, magazine, or other similar periodical or in an electronic communication as defined in section 2510(12) of title 18, United States Code, the remedies of the owner of the right infringed or person bringing the action under section 43(a) [15 USCS Sect. 1125(a)] as against the publisher or distributor of such newspaper, magazine, or other similar periodical or electronic communication shall be limited to an injunction against the presentation of such advertising matter in future issues of such newspapers, magazines, or other similar periodicals or in future transmissions of such electronic communications. The limitations of this subparagraph shall apply only to innocent infringers and innocent violators.

    (C) Injunctive relief shall not be available to the owher of the right infringed or person bringing the action under section 43(a) [15 USCS Sect. 1125(a)] with respect to an issue of a newspaper, magazine, or other similar periodical or an electronic communication containing infringing matter or violating matter where restraining the dissemination of such infringing matter or violating matter in any particular issue of such periodical or in an electronic communication would delay the delivery of such issue or transmission of such electronic communication after the regular time for such delivery or transmission, and such delay would be due to the method by which publication and distribution of such periodical or transmission of such electronic communication is customarily conducted in accordance with sound business practice, and not due to any method or device adopted to evade this section or to prevent or delay the issuance of an injunction or restraining order with respect to such infringing matter or violating matter.

    (D) As used in this paragraph--

    (i) the term "violator" means a person who violates section 43(a) [15 USCS Sect. 1125(a)]; and

    (ii) the term "violating matter" means matter that is the subject of a violation under section 43(a) [15 USCS Sect. 1125(a)].


    So there you have it. Most other countries' trademark laws follow the Lanham Act; this was all settled down around the time of the Geneva Copyright Convention.

    According to the letter (and spirit) of the law, Linux.De was indeed infringing a trademark.

    Also, the Michigan guy who's trying to register Where Do You Want To Go Tomorrow? ... well, he's still waiting for the patent to file. And by the look of it, he ain't going to get it.

    Simon

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