Monday, January 02, 2006

Trademarking the Commons

This rumor -- or maybe inkling is a better word – that someone has a desire to trademark barcamp is unsettling. Especially to those of us who like to create things and exchange ideas with our peers – even our competitors -- to see what the next person might make of them.

There's a lot of acreage between careful brand building and 'giving away the farm. Of course we need to build smart businesses that support the teams and individuals who make them go. At the same time, we have to contribute meaningful creations that move the whole industry forward. Things like Barcamp and Torcamp and CESCamp don't 'belong' to anyone. That’s why they work. As business owners, we can help organize them, sponsor them, encourage them, support them, attend them -- but trademark them? Yikes, that seems counterproductive to say the least.

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