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I just found Grace McDonough's insightful blog, Phasing Grace. In response to her thoughts about the Second Life trademark brou-ha-ha, I posted the following comment. Since it seems to stand alone okay, I offer it here for your thoughts:

Though my comment might be more well-placed on your March 26 post, I'm a johnny-come-lately to this discussion.

You are absolutely correct about the current situation reflecting a significant misunderstanding on the part of LL regarding the interdependence between themselves and the Second Life community. Following in Coca-Cola's legendary and infamous shoes, Linden Labs assume mistakenly that the brand equity of Second Life belongs to them alone. Coke learned, when it eliminated its storied formula for "New Coke", that the brand really belonged to the lovers of the brand. In order to recover from one of the in business history, Coke reinstated its original recipe as "Coca Cola Classic" and soon afterward allowed New Coke to slide into a deserved and unlamented death.

So the actual reasonableness of protecting the SL trademark can be said to be beside the point. SL provided the platform, but it has been the residents who added the value, creating the world to which so many are attracted every day, and the residents are just plumb mad as hell that LL is so clueless about that fact. It's the slap in the face that's creating the furor -- not the need to refrain from naming my blog "The Second Life Manual" or something like that.

Speaking for myself, I think it would be most effective to completely ignore all concerns in any case where it's not super-clear that our usage is improper. Let Linden Labs come after us. They won't start by exclusion -- they'll start by making a request. How many staff do you think they'll hire to police the entire web universe? Yeah, I don't think they'll get to most of us soon, either.


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