[SCA-Dance] Not a Known World Dance Seminar?
billqs at aol.com
billqs at aol.com
Wed Jun 24 11:57:52 EDT 2009
Actually, I?am a lawyer now (one of the main reasons I had to go inactive for several years) and I can tell you that *legally* without a?valid trademark they couldn't prevent *anyone* from hosting an event called "Known World" anything.? Not from a legal standpoint.? As a matter of fact had they taken the time to procure a trademark and then not used the TM or R designation consistently?they could also?lose because you?can be considered to have abandoned your trademark if you do not actively display that it is a trademark and defend infringements on that trademark.
The caveat is that *legally* they cannot do anything to prevent it.? Within the SCA, however, they could pull sanction on the event which would deny the group hosting a KWDS coverage under the SCA's liability insurance.? That would most likely kill any local branch's willingness to host the event.? I imagine the SCA could demand that no constituent branch publish flyers on the event in their?newsletters (though as an ex-Chronicler, each local branch newletter [canton, shire, barony]?had to carry a disclaimer stating it is NOT an official publication of the SCA.)
While the dance community could host it ourselves "outside of normal SCA channels", I cannot stress enough how imprudent it would be to host a gathering of several hundred people, from parts all over the world, without having adequate liability insurance and some official business organizational status to keep liability from falling fully on the head of the Event Steward.? (Not to mention the tremendous help that local branches have been to the successful running of the KWDS over the years.)
It irks me to no end to have to ask for permission from SCA Corp and go through arduous amounts of paperwork and timetables- all?to host an event we created and continue to run ourselves.? And as I said earlier, I don't think their argument for restricting the number of "Known World" events has much merit as the overlap of Known World Speciality Events is small.
Perhaps, Guiseppe can help us "through the mire" and offer some suggestions.? Guiseppe was involved in KWDS in its infancy and actively helped to put the first KWDS together.?
If nothing else can be found and if we are turned down for hosting KWDS perhaps we could get a local group to host an event called "The Grande Ball" or something like that.
the still mostly invisible...
From: Jane & Mark Waks <waks at comcast.net>
To: sca-dance at sca-dance.org
Sent: Wed, Jun 24, 2009 9:04 am
Subject: Re: [SCA-Dance] Not a Known World Dance Seminar?
David Learmonth wrote:
> Now like I say, this was when we were looking at options of running it as
> something else, but assuming that the KW level was to be rejected. (but
> still trying to use the acronym, since we didn't want to change the website,
> and keeping the spirit of the event). Here was what was said:
> "yes - the concept of a KW event is owned by Sca Inc and therefore subject
> to intellectual copywrite. You may not use the acronym as it would
> misrepresent the event as a KW event."
Hmm. Sounds to me like an officer blowing smoke. Names are covered by
trademark, not copyright, and claiming that they can sue over "the
concept of a KW event" -- well, admittedly I'm not a lawyer, but I'm
fairly sure that would have been promptly laughed out of court. Even by
the fishy standards of IP law, that sounds awfully weak. (And I doubt
that the current Corporate officers would have tried -- they're mostly
more sensible than that.)
They *could* certainly have made trouble -- an angry bureaucracy can be
quite a bull in the china shop. But it sounds to me like the claims of
lawsuits were nothing but bluster from an officer who didn't have a clue
what they were talking about. The American legal system may be a pain in
the ass, but it does have rules, and I don't think the above has much to
do with them.
On the idea of having the A&S office officially delegate the job to us
in some fashion, which a couple of people suggested, I'm of mixed minds.
On the one hand, it's a rather nice piece of bureaucratic judo, and it
does have the potential to work.
OTOH, though, I have to caution folks that it's likely to not be that
easy. The KWDS has, in practice, been run by community consensus --
that's a large part of its spirit. Things have always been pretty
informal, deliberately. But the SCA, Inc is *intensely* bureaucratic,
and growing ever moreso. Bureaucracies, by and large, dislike informal
mechanisms, and delegating to a "community" tends to rankle them.
(Certainly, some bureaucratic brains
would explode at the notion of
deciding which bid wins via a galliard-off.)
So if folks decide to go that route, understand that it's entering
choppy waters. It *is* possible that, if Giuseppe were to go to bat for
the idea, and Garraed was at least willing, it might succeed. And if it
*does* succeed, it might well be the easiest way to get what we want,
which is basically to let the community run its event without having to
jump through pointless hoops. But keep in mind that there are plenty of
people up the chain who could throw a spanner in the works simply by
demanding, "Who is in *charge* there?", and trying to answer that
question stands a very good chance of wrecking the spirit of consensus...
Who is mostly kibitzing here, mind --
I haven't been seriously involved
in KWDS since the Carolingian one,
so this shouldn't be taken as more
than minor opinion...
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