[SCA-Dance] Not a Known World Dance Seminar?

Mary Railing mrailing2 at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 24 13:03:58 EDT 2009

I've also been involved with the Known World Costume Symposium.  The reason that it stopped happening for a while is that the corporate A&S officer at the time took it out of the hands of the people who had been pushing it (mostly Mistress Audelinde), which meant that *no one* was encouraging bids or otherwise promoting the event.  (There *is* going to be one this October in Philadelphia.)  I'm convinced that these sorts of events run best when the people who really care about them are in charge. We might have a sympathetic Arts officer at the moment, but officers change regularly.  Our consensus method of deciding bids has served us well.  I think that a bureaucracy, whether from the corporation or a "dance council" devised by us, is just fixing something that ain't broke.  If people feel that the Known World name is important enough, then I guess we should just go on doing what we have been doing-- vetting bids ourselves and letting whoever wins go
 through the official corporate channels afterwards.  I was simply trying to ascertain whether we think that being a Known World event *is* important enough to folks on this list to be worth the hassle.


P.S., If people really want something more quantifiable than "a consensus among the usual suspects", then I suggest the method World Con uses-- attendees at the event vote on the next location.  (Wow, an excuse for bid parties...)

From: "billqs at aol.com" <billqs at aol.com>
To: sca-dance at sca-dance.org
Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 11:57:52 AM
Subject: Re: [SCA-Dance] Not a Known World Dance Seminar?

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.

Wm Redcape
the still mostly invisible...

-----Original Message-----
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...

                -- Justin
                   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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