Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

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A Christmas Present from Torcon 3

As most of you know, I'm Chairman of the WSFS Mark Protection Committee. This week, I've been corresponding with Larry Hancock of Torcon 3. (I know that some of you on the T3 board are reading this.) T3 is ready to pay its "traditional donation" to the MPC.

The WSFS MPC has no independent funding mechanism of its own. Like the Continental Congress -- the original government of the USA -- the MPC must go hat-in-hand to Worldcon committees when it needs money. Since the committee was formed back in the 1980s, most Worldcon committees that can afford it have made a "traditional donation" of US$1 per site selection voter. This amount hasn't changed in 20 years, although the site selection advance supporting membership (voting) fee has doubled during that time. An attempt to make this fee mandatory was rejected in 1984 as a "WSFS tax," but since then nearly every Worldcon committee has made a donation. This money goes to pay the operating costs of the committee, which are mostly related to filing service mark registrations, renewing them, and paying for the time of our attorney when we need her.

WSFS tries to spend MPC money from non-US Worldcons in the countries where it is, to avoid currency-conversion charges. For example, Interaction paid to renew a couple of the WSFS marks that were up for renewal this past year.

There are six WSFS marks (including NASFiC) that WSFS maintains. It is WSFS policy to pursue mark registration in those countries that have hosted two or more Worldcons, with priority being roughly inversely proportional to the number of Worldcons that country has hosted. Thus the priority list is US (lots), UK (6), Canada (4) and Australia (3).

According to Ken Smookler, the MPC appointee from Torcon 3, registering a service mark in Canada costs C$500 each. I asked Larry if T3 might be interested in donating more than their traditional donation, in order to fund the registration of all six WSFS marks. A few days later, he came back and said the T3 Board was interested.

This is excellent news. I'm now working with T3 and Ken Smookler (whose appointment to the MPC lapsed last year but who we've made "Agent for Canada" so he can represent the MPC's interests) to get the money issued. Ken says he'll be able to work on the mark filings early next year.

I'm grateful that T3 is going to help WSFS like this.
Tags: torcon, worldcon
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