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May 27, 2006

Web Sue.0

Point 1: The term "Web 2.0" was originally coined by O'Reilly - the computing book people - in this article. Since then, they've tried to obtain a "service mark" (trademark) on the term.

Point 2: The term "Web 2.0" is used throughout the web. In this sense, it is clear that O'Reilly cannot pretend to exercise "ownership" over the term, in the same way that "Hoover" and "Linoleum" are valueless trademarks. (Although my father still calls it a "vacuum cleaner").

Point 3: CMP Media Ltd., on behalf on O'Reilly, have sent a cease-and-desist notice to a not-for-profit company, IT@Cork, who are organising a half-day Web 2.0 Conference. Apparently O'Reilly have decided to pull the plug on the Web 2.0 term; they own it and the rest of us can go to hell.

This post contains a good summary of the events.

Result: The whole blogosphere has erupted. There's tales of people cancelling contracts with O'Reilly and binning their books. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the matter, much of the anger is for one reason. Web 2.0 is all about collaboration and community building. O'Reilly have just spat on that ideal.


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