wasting bandwidth since 1999

Maybe Not So Open Source

There is something rather hypocritical about this latest intellectual property legal dust up.

O’Reilly, the publishing company run by Tim O’Reilly, is claiming a trademark on the term “Web 2.0” and is using its lawyers to force a not-for-profit company to drop it from the name of a conference.

If you read O’Reilly’s definition of Web 2.0, the whole concept is based on web applications using open standards and largely open source software to harness the “collective intelligence” of everyone on the internet.

In other words, they believe all of this stuff is supposed to be freely available to anyone who wants to use it. Except the name.

web 2.0, trademark, o’reilly


  1. Tom Hoffman

    The term “Web 2.0” was created as the name of a conference. It is perfectly reasonable to not want other people to subsequently make up their own “Web 2.0” conferences. Just like I couldn’t hold a “NECC” or “LinuxWorld” conference.

    As far as I know, virtually nobody is against trademark, not Tim O’Reilly, not Lessig, not even Richard Stallman.

    This is a perfectly reasonable move by O’Reilly.

  2. Tim

    I see your point, Tom. But it still doesn’t stop the feeling of hypocracy about the whole thing.

    This is another example of “oreillyism”, a term Dave Cormier borrowed to describe “the tendency of very good, socially construted ideas to be ‘owned’ by someone once they become successful and their usage/meaning enters the mainstream”.

  3. Tom Hoffman

    Well yeah, slagging on O’Reilly in this case does have a ring of truthiness to it.

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