November 20th, 2007

WSFS Logo

Good Luck With That Theory

Arnie Katz ran my entire letter regarding Worldcon and the 2007 Hugo Award trophy in Vegas Fandom Weekly #102. He choose not to give a straight answer most of the questions I raised, which is his right -- he's the editor and can evade the questions if he so chooses -- but in response to my explanation about why "Worldcon" is a registered service mark which WSFS must defend in order to maintain its rights, he wrote:
No group of fans, no matter how well-intentioned and serious-minded, owns “worldcon.” (Note lowercase “w.”) The word “worldcon” has been part of the fannish lexicon for nearly 70 years and, while the World Science Fiction Convention may want to trademark a “Worldcon” logo or the like, the use of “worldcon” in lower-case in a context unrelated to the World Science Fiction Convention or to any similar convention is part of every fans cultural heritage.
The short answer to that assertion is, "You're wrong."

The slightly longer answer involves suggesting he apply that theory to Coke, Kleenex, Xerox, and the Oscar and see how well it works out. Just because those registered marks belong to Big Corporations and Worldcon happens to belong to an unincorporated literary society whose roots trace back to the same corner of fandom of your own doesn't mean it's any less true.