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The Frustrating Part of Internetizens: Everyone’s a Lawyer

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A little brouhaha went down over the past week within the Young Adult author community. When this was first sent to me, my immediate reaction was “thank goodness it’s not us this time.” Then I went to read. Another friend of mine commented that the internet makes it so easy for people to make themselves look bad.

Exhibit 1 would have to be Young Adult author Rosanne Parry’s “cease and desist” letter (a definition I use in the broadest terms as C&D letters go).

The backstory, as far as I understand, is as follows. Author Jackson Pearce had some problems with how Class2k9 was being run. Class2k9 is a limited membership organization for young adult authors. The group is primarily a group marketing effort that started with Class 2k7 and was then succeeded by Class 2k8 and so on. It claims to be “well known by authors, publishers, booksellers, librarians, and teachers.” Class2k9 is purportedly a trademark owned by author and lawyer Greg R Fishbone. One problem, though, the trademark is not a federally registered one.

Jackson Pearce looked it up on the federal trademark database and found nothing. Believing that she was not violating any right, she apparently set up a livejournal with the same name. Tempers flared. Rights were asserted. Threats were handed out like candy at Halloween.

Rosanna Parry is apparently the co-president of class of 2k9′s. Emboldened by her faint knowledge of common law trademarks and her prestigious position, Parry went forth and posted on closed yahoo groups about how Jackson Pearce was trying to co-opt the 2k9′s marketing effort (only in not very nice terms).

The truth behind Pearce’s motives is probably only known to Pearce herself, but Parry’s attempts to shut down Pearce’s livejournal did not leave this reader with a very good impression of Parry. First, if Parry’s writing skills are evinced in her letter to Pearce, I have grave concerns about Parry’s book.

Jackson, one of the most common illusions that comes from the frequent use of the internet is that because much information is instantly available; therefore, all information is instantly available.

Wow, awkward phrasing much? But it’s not just the text that is jarring, it’s the context. The letter is full of embarrassing condescension.

You are not old enough to be a patent lawyer. You are old enough to be held legally and financially responsible for violating another person’s intellectual property.

There isn’t any age limit to taking the patent bar so Pearce (whose age I know not) could be old enough to be a patent lawyer. She would have to have some kind of scientific/technical background to be eligible to sit for the patent bar but is not required to be of any particular age.

I wish to the core of my heart that you had taken my repeated warnings to change your 2k9 site on livejournal seriously.

I am glad that Parry wrote this sentence because I cannot take any warnings seriously unless they come from the core of someone’s heart as opposed to “depth of my heart” or other such cliched reference to the heart, mind, soul.

Parry does recognize that online activity as an author can have an impact and worries that Pearce’s lack of a mentor will be her downfall. (Srsly? Lack of mentor?).

However, as an author you are a more public person than you have been and your words and actions must be weighed with more care. Do you have a mentor? Is there anyone in your life, besides your livejournal group, who is in a position to give you solid council about conducting yourself in a professional manner? I would hate for this lapse in judgement to have a negative effect on the reception of your writing.

Parry graciously offers to counsel other members in the Class 2k9 to say nice things about Pearce if Pearce does what Parry wants but threatens cautions her on how to comport herself in the future.

I would strongly caution you to be judicious in how you talk about the 2K classes even in a closed journal community.

I am no trademark expert but the whole C&D struck me wrong. The use of the word trademark appeared inaccurate based on my limited knowledge so I did a spot of research.

It is true that unregistered trademarks have protection, but it generally isn’t protected afforded by federal law. The Lanham Act does allow for protection of some unregistered marks but most case law involving unregistered marks is on the state level where the state’s unfair competition laws either formally (legislatively enacted) or informally (judicially adopted) enforce the owner of unregistered mark’s legal rights.

Technically, the type of mark that Class 2k9 would be is a “collective mark” not a “trademark.” Trademarks are for things of a tangible nature: goods and products. Trademarks are not for services like marketing or advertising. The legal designation of Class 2k9 is probably a service “collective mark” :

The term "collective mark" means a trademark or service mark–
(1) used by the members of a cooperative, an association, or other collective group or organization, or
(2) which such cooperative, association, or other collective group or organization has a bona fide intention to use in commerce and applies to register on the principal register established by this chapter,
and includes marks indicating membership in a union, an association, or other organization.

15 U.S.C.A.  § 1127.

I wonder, too, whether Class 2K9 can even be protected. I venture to guess that any number of students, secondary and post secondary, will be using that phrase to emblazon their yearbooks, tshirts, and so forth. Service marks fall into four different categories, with each category afforded different levels of protection. A descriptive mark, as opposed to a fictitious or fanciful mark, is protected only when a “secondary meaning” is shown. Class 2k9 looks to me to be a descriptive mark and therefore would need to have a commonly understood secondary meaning in order for Fishbone to successfully prevent its use by others.

There are generic terms which “communicate information about the nature or class of an article or service” which are never afforded protection. It might be that the use of Class2k9 as a marketing tool toward publishing insiders might be confusing, but as a general blog to readers on the internet? Probably something the court would have to decide.

Also, I wonder about the validity of the C&D letters. If the cease and desist letters came from Parry and not Fishbone who is ostensibly the owner of the collective mark, Parry does not have the legal right to challenge the misuse of a mark she does not own. Simply because she has the right to use the mark with permission of Fishbone does not give her the right to challenge others’ uses. That right belongs to Fishbone.

I think Parry’s ” lapse in judgement” might “have a negative effect on the reception of [her] writing. See, the Foot in Mouth Disease? It is spreading.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

51 Comments

  1. (Jān)
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 04:44:37

    Oh God, the drama. Parry has put herself on quite the pedestal, hasn’t she?

    (Those bears are so cute!)

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  2. Lynne
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 08:47:15

    ::rolls eyes::

    Heh. Like my Do-Not-Buy list really needed more entries.

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  3. Angela James
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 08:55:36

    Class 2k9 looks to me to be a descriptive mark and therefore would need to have a commonly understood secondary meaning in order for Fishbone to successfully prevent its use by others.

    So they’d have to prove that people who see 2k9 associate it with this young adult community? Do they have to prove that people outside their community recognize it? Or does it have to be common across the community.

    If I saw 2k9 somewhere, I wouldn’t have suspected it meant anything having to do with young adult writers, but on the other hand, if I see the Nike swoosh mark, without Nike written anywhere remotely near, I know it means Nike. Is that the kind of thing we’re talking about here?

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  4. Jane
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 09:09:17

    Marks, particularly ones that are unregistered, often have geographic limitations although with the internet, I can see that changing, but it may very well be that secondary meaning could be limited to the YA publishing industry but also limited in scope. I.e., if Class 2k9 sells t-shirts and highschool A sells t-shirts with the same name on it, I think Class 2k9 might be more difficult to defend that useage.

    I thought that there was a case that said Y2k, by itself, could not be a protected mark but Y2k with something else could be. Y2K Publishing, for example. I just don’t know that “Class 2k9″ could be distinctive enough to gain protection. Additionally, you have to use the mark significantly to have protection and I don’t think that Class2k8 or Class 2k7 usage could be sufficient since those are each different marks. Again, not a trademark expert so I am just going off the top of my head here.

    It might be one of those ethical situations. I.e., should Jackson Pearce have started a livejournal with exactly the same name of the group that she left?

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  5. Diana Peterfreund
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 10:08:40

    “It might be one of those ethical situations. I.e., should Jackson Pearce have started a livejournal with exactly the same name of the group that she left?’

    Well, it wasn’t exact (2k9 vs. Class of 2k9) but I still don’t think it should be used. But I don’t think there’s a legal issue, either. Even if the prior classes (“Class of 2k7,” so on) had established common law trademark through commerce, the Class of 2k9 hadn’t really gotten rolling yet. It’s a different group and a different name. And the whole timeline of setting up community/withdrawing from “official” Class is rather complex. My understanding is that Pearce set up the community prior and even asked 2k8 if she could.

    But whatever my feelings on the ethics of the matter, that letter was… wow. Had I been a member of Parry’s group, I would have left, not being interested in being represented in that manner.

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  6. Jane
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 10:33:52

    Thanks for the clarification. The timing of usage makes slot of difference. I question whether 2k9 can even be protected. I should dig out the rulings on y2k.

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  7. stephanie feagan
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 10:46:04

    Another strange thing happened last week, one of those Internet things that blew up and several people could scarcely talk around the foot in their mouth. What struck me most bizarre is that they had no clue their foot was anywhere in the vicinity of their mouth. (I guess this is a classic symptom of this disease?) Legalese was tossed about, insults hurled, assumptions made, and in a matter of moments, all hell broke loose. I’ve seen some awful shit go down on loops and lists and blogs, etc., but this…

    I resigned from the organization. Life’s too short for that kind of stress. My only New Years resolution is to be more positive, which entails walking away from train wrecks I can’t fix. I second Diana’s post. There are, I’m convinced, toxic people in this world and nothing one does will change that. Sometimes, the only solution is to walk away. Sometimes, as in Monty Python, “Run Away!!! Run! Away!”

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  8. Diana Peterfreund
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 10:49:30

    To me it’s a “come on, don’t be a jerk, you know we’re using this name” issue. It would be NICE for Pearce to step aside. But threatening and condescending to someone is probably not the way to get it done.

    Now, it’s devolving into a question of trademark and whether or not it’s been established.

    (Oops, posted before I saw Steph’s comment. A big ol’ me too! Just to clarify: though I’ve got my first YA out in ’09, it’s not a debut so I’m not eligible for the group. I don’t think I would have joined.)

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  9. DS
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 10:56:33

    My Internet Lawyers Can Beat Up Your Internet Lawyers

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  10. AJD
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 11:38:08

    Ms. Parry’s actions are disturbing to me on several levels. First, as an attorney, I think the group’s legal position is not nearly as strong as they present it to be, for the reasons listed in this post, and also because I don’t believe that use of the marks “class of 2k7″ and “class of 2k8,” assuming they can be trademarked in the first place, automatically gives you rights in the mark “class of 2k9.” My understanding is that Ms. Pearce set up her Class of 2k9, for reasons foul or fair, prior to the organization of the “official” group, and therefore it seems to me that she has the priority in time. But regardless of that, I agree with Diana that it’s an issue of “c’mon, that’s ours, don’t be a jerk about it.” My understanding is that, well before Ms. Parry’s ill-conceived letter, Ms. Pearce had changed her LJ group in compliance with that request, leaving only the address, which was simply “2k9,” to rankle people, which seems rather silly for people who have yet to threaten the holders of the LJ communities “2k7″ or “2k8.”

    All the legal junk aside, the absolute most disturbing part of Ms. Parry’s letter, to me, was the fact that she sent it to all the authors in Class of 2k8 and more or less threatened Ms. Pearce that all of those authors, who are supposedly quite well known and respected among librarians and booksellers, would “remember her name.” The clear implication there was that a group of well known authors would go out and use their connections to undermine the sales of Ms. Pearce’s book. If anything in this little melodrama is worthy of legal action, I think that’s it. And even to this moment, not a single member of Class of 2k8 or Class of 2k9 has stepped up to say that threat was wrong.

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  11. snarkhunter
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 11:54:06

    Internet lawyer is internet lawyering. (Not you, Jane. Obviously.)

    There’s a cat macro with that caption. Seems apropos here.

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  12. HelenKay Dimon
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 13:31:07

    This makes me happy I’m not practicing law at the moment. Still, I cringe whenever non-lawyers use legal phrases out of context or to prove some point. Makes me want to poke my eye out with a pen.

    After watching the intelligence derailment from earlier this week that Stef talked about, it would seem the bigger problem is that some folks have no sense of self or understaning about how they come off in these online debates. Maybe the rule should be this: when you’re angry and ready to spew hate and threats into an email or onto a loop, step away from the computer.

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  13. Jennifer McKenzie
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 13:49:43

    Is it bad that I’m just glad it isn’t the romance genre this time?

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  14. Robin
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 13:52:45

    I think there are two issues here. First there’s the IMO clear lack of respect Rosanne Parry showed in that letter to Jackson Pearce and the incredible irony of Parry wielding thinly veiled threats to Pearce’s reputation while chiding her for imperiling the reputation of the 2k9 group. Then there’s the legal high ground Parry’s trying to claim, which I think accounts for some of the condescension in her tone. Now, I have no idea if Parry thinks she’s on solid ground in her letter (although I’m wondering if she knows the difference between trademark, copyright, and patent law — as they are distinct specialties), but I definitely think she has this sense that she’s entitled to protection for something over which she *feels* ownership. And that really seems to be the crux of many of these online blow-ups.

    I really do understand how authors want to feel ownership over something they believe they have created as unique or uniquely identified. And with all the talk of branding these days, perhaps those feelings are magnified. But the reality is that not everything someone comes up with is eligible for legal protection, and in many cases, I think the protections available are much, much weaker than people believe they are. Which, perhaps, adds to the sense of desperation and defensiveness some have in trying to assert these rights to which they feel morally, if not legally, entitled (and sometimes the moral entitlements are suspect, as well, IMO).

    When I first read Parry’s letter and then Fishbone’s explanation, my first thought was that if the claim to trademark is so strong here, why NOT file for federal registration, especially if the apparent owner of the mark is an atty? Yeah it costs a few hundred bucks and some time and effort, but there are definite protections afforded by federal registration. But, as Jane points out, perhaps the mark wouldn’t be so easy to register — I don’t know. In any case, if the whole problem was that Parry and Fishbone wanted Pearce to change her blog name to avoid commercial confusion (the test for trademark infringement), then why not just ask her respectfully and politely? Why the extremity, especially when IMO it makes Parry look waaayyyyy worse than Pearce.

    Again, I understand the impulse to “own” what the mind creates, but the reality is that not everything can be owned, and even among those things that have certain ownership privileges, they may not be as all-encompassing as people think. And there are very good reasons for that — reasons that have to do with the public good, with providing incentive to further creation, with acknowledgment of the sheer number of people creating at the same time, and with the understanding that creativity is inherently communal, whether literally or in the sense that one person’s imagination is often stirred by the fruits of someone else’s imagination. I don’t know whether it’s the nature of the Internet or human nature or other forces, but there seems to be a basic confusion between actual rights and a basic sense of what’s right. They’re not always the same thing, and people don’t always have both of them on their side at the same time.

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  15. Robin
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 14:00:39

    I don't believe that use of the marks “class of 2k7″ and “class of 2k8,” assuming they can be trademarked in the first place, automatically gives you rights in the mark “class of 2k9.” My understanding is that Ms. Pearce set up her Class of 2k9, for reasons foul or fair, prior to the organization of the “official” group, and therefore it seems to me that she has the priority in time. But regardless of that, I agree with Diana that it's an issue of “c'mon, that's ours, don't be a jerk about it.” My understanding is that, well before Ms. Parry's ill-conceived letter, Ms. Pearce had changed her LJ group in compliance with that request, leaving only the address, which was simply “2k9,” to rankle people, which seems rather silly for people who have yet to threaten the holders of the LJ communities “2k7″ or “2k8.”

    I think sometimes that people try hardest to defend those rights and privileges about which they feel the greatest sense of insecurity. Like if they can get someone else to believe what they say it will magically become true.

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  16. Chrissy
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 14:01:09

    No phrase that is considered commonly used can be trademarked or copyrighted or in any way OWNED. I don’t think Parry would survive five seconds of legal scrutiny there. It’s colloquial.

    And I hope her sales reflect the gut response nearly everyone who has weighed in on my own loops had toward her snotty-arsed tirade. Anyone who is that condescending shouldn’t be allowed NEAR kids, much less write for them.

    I suspect that perhaps the reason they never tried to trademark the next several 2k_whatevers may have something to do with SOMEBODY having looked into it only to be told you can’t trademark a phrase already being used in the colloquial vocabulary. It would be nice if you could. I’d trademark “wicked awesome” and make a good living slapping lawsuits on everyone in New England.

    bwahahahaha

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  17. Jane
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 14:17:46

    I actually think there’s some irony in Parry beating down Pearce for some perceived wrongdoing and Parry herself in engaging in some sketchy lawyering (ie is she engaged in the unauthorized practice of law sending a C&D on behalf of Fishbone?).

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  18. Melissa Marr
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 14:31:35

    Thank you for addressing this. I was a member of 2k7, and I am appalled to see a group that was begun to share the new author path & pool resources spawn this sort of mindset.

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  19. Leslie Kelly
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 14:52:02

    I sense we’re now talking about two different incidents, one addressed openly by Jane. The other Stephanie & Helenkay mentioned is something I’ve only heard rumors about. Not sure how bad it was, but I can honestly say I’m glad I’m not a member of either organization.

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  20. katiebabs
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 15:02:32

    “You are not old enough to be a patent lawyer”

    So, when is someone old enough to be considered a lawyer?
    Please such snarky snark. Sigh

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  21. Jeaniene Frost
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 15:06:07

    Just wow. It’s unbelievable that Parry would use her position at Y2K to threaten blackballing another author, damaging her career before it even began. Talk about a breach of ethics. I think Parry owes Ms. Pearce an apology at the very least.

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  22. Young atty
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 15:07:13

    Go figure, I was an IP lawyer at Jackson’s age. I guess I’m glad no one told me I was too young!

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  23. Teddypig
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 15:17:21

    You are not old enough to be a patent lawyer. You are old enough to be held legally and financially responsible for violating another person's intellectual property.

    No Grasshopper, you fail! Age does not equate to career choice.

    Let us check our handy dandy Snark Helper for the appropriate snark.

    Snark Helper says “Age equates to readership.” So the correct snark in this case would be…

    I know you write Young Adult books, but must you act as one by appropriating the name of a group you are no longer involved in?

    There, fixed that for you. Now follow my hand movements… Snark on, Snark off.

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  24. Sarah Prineas
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 15:31:28

    And even to this moment, not a single member of Class of 2k8 or Class of 2k9 has stepped up to say that threat was wrong.

    Well, Melissa’s resigned from 2K7 over this. And I’m a member of 2K8 and I’m stepping up to say it’s very wrong, that Parry does not speak for me, and …

    excuse me, I have an email to write.

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  25. Greg R. Fishbone
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 15:40:48

    Hi, Jane.

    I’d like to step forward and take full responsibility for this situation and to apologize to everyone whose feelings got swept up into this drama. The 2k-Classes were an idea I had early in 2006, as a way for debut authors to share information, pool resources, and get the word out more effectively as a group than any one of us could ever do alone. We started with the Class of 2k7, of which I was a proud member, and continued with the Class of 2k8, the Class of 2k9, and so on.

    In order to make our groups as effective as possible, we had to limit their scope and membership. Realizing that this would leave a lot of authors unserved, we have always encouraged authors to form similar groups of their own–and members of the Class of 2k7 have delivered workshops to groups of authors across the country on how to do exactly that. We support all of these groups and their activities but we do discourage them from using a name that’s confusingly similar to that of an already-established group, including our own. This is where the trademark discussion came in.

    The common law trademarks in our 2k-Class group names have been earned through continual use within the publishing industry and are well known by authors, publishers, booksellers, librarians, and teachers. Examples of use can be found easily through any Internet search engine.

    This type of trademark, established by use, is usually denoted by a little “TM” symbol, as opposed to the registered trademarks that carry a Circled-R. A search of the Federal trademark registry will turn up only Circled-R trademarks, but “TM” trademarks like ours are also recognized and enforceable as a matter of law.

    I feel bad that the tone of this discussion had to become so contentious, since the only real issue here is a desire to keep our two groups from being confused with each other. This is an issue that never came up with the Class of 2k7 and Class of 2k8, and the Class of 2k9 is still at the start of a steep learning curve, so I should have given them more guidance in how to resolve this situation with the proper civility and respect that our groups have always had for fellow authors. My only excuse for delegating the matter is that I’ve been preoccupied with the imminent birth of my first child whose due date was, literally, yesterday.

    If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me at gfishbone at gmail. We really do wish the 2009 Debutantes nothing but success for their group and all of their books.

    –Greg R. Fishbone

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  26. Jane
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 15:48:32

    Mr. Fishbone, I appreciate your post. I am curious as to why you keep referring to the 2k Class group names as a trademark. Wouldn’t you agree that it is, at the least, a service mark, but more accurately a collective mark as trademark is only applicable to “goods”? I am also curious how 2k9 causes commercial confusion with Class 2k9. I have some doubts as to whether 2k9 can be protected. The Class 2k9 is, at best, a descriptive mark and simply the use of part of the unregistered mark (i.e., 2k9 v the entirety) is not, in and of itself, commercially confusing. I.e., if a group of YA authors set up a blog with “Class” instead of “2k9″ I wonder about its enforceability. I also don’t see how you can have a rolling trademark. I.e., unregistered trademarks depend upon showing that it has a secondary meaning and if it not being used, how can it have a secondary meaning.

    Of course, you don’t have to answer the questions. I am just kind of wondering aloud. As I said earlier, I don’t think that Y2K was a protected term but there were over 2000 filings for various y2k permutations.

    Edited to add: I did do a google search of the term 2k9 and the first 19 entries refer to sporting related instances.

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  27. Teddypig
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 16:30:07

    Well someone had better inform these guys

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  28. Greg R. Fishbone
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 16:33:45

    Thanks, Jane.

    You’re absolutely right that if I were to write a brief on this matter, what I’d be asserting is a service mark, which offers trademark-like protections to providers of services. The 2k-Classes offer marketing and publicity services to children’s and YA authors, and author-booking and book-information services to booksellers, librarians, and teachers.

    You are also correct that “Y2k” trademarks and service marks, registered and unregistered, have been found to be enforceable for a wide variety of products and services. Back in the good ol’ premillennial days when such a thing was in vogue, you could have offered a service to debug computers for people. You could have called it Class of Y2K Debugging and used that as your service mark. And if somebody else started up a debugging service with a confusingly similar name, you’d have cause for an action against them to protect your reputation and the integrity of the marketplace.

    Of course, legal recourse was never contemplated with this whole Class of 2k9 fiasco–you’ll have to take my word of honor on that because otherwise I’d have surely insisted in being the front-man from the start.

    Rosanne’s personal email to Jackson was flawed in many ways but correct in pointing out that the public policy interests of trademarks and service marks are valid concerns here. Similar names in unrelated industries are usually not much of a concern, but two author groups in the tiny world of children’s and YA books should avoid having confusingly similar names. Booksellers and librarians who are familiar with the Class of 2k7 and Class of 2k8 would reasonably assume that a group of children’s and YA authors with 2k9 in the name is somehow related to the well-established groups that have come before, and that’s where we have a potential for harm that we’d prefer to avoid.

    The tone Rosanne used in her email was improper and doesn’t represent any of the 2k-Class groups, or any members other than herself. We do not threaten, bully, or undermine anybody else. That’s just not what we’re all about, and I can’t begin to express how sorry I am if that impression was given.

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  29. Saundra Mitchell
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 16:48:17

    I would just like to say that as a member of the group- our LJ url was 2k9.livejournal.com. (2k8 and 2k7 appear to belong to random people, classof2k7 is how the semi-official lj group appears.) The first time Ms. Parry said anything about changing the name, Jackson changed out the title, then the description, absolutely everything she could find, and still got *this* letter. It wasn’t until Jackson showed it to us to try to figure out what Ms Parry meant, that anyone realized she wanted the URL back. Jackson and Ms. Parry should have probably washed their hands of each other a long time ago, but if the demand had been clearer, we would have fixed it (which we did- I bought the rename token as soon as we realized what she wanted.)

    We never wanted to have a marketing group; we wanted to have a place to talk to other authors coming out in 2009. One of our big topics of conversation was who’s going to do 2k9, what have the other classes done- most of us were very eager for applications to open. In retrospect, it’s quite sad, because Jackson has been the one all along to draw a very clear line between our chat group and the marketing Class of 2k9, and emphasized repeatedly that the group is for chat, not for competition. She should have tried to contact someone else when it was clear that she and Ms. Parry’s styles of communication just do not mesh, but Jack’s all along been just as interested in letting Class of 2k9 keep their identity as apparently Ms. Parry is.

    (Edited for clarity!)

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  30. Jennifer Bradbury
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 17:09:17

    As a member of the 2k8 group, I want to join in and say how upsetting I find this. Roseanne did not speak for us as as a group or for me as an individual. I wish Jackson and all the 2k9 authors the best.
    Jen Bradbury

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  31. stephanie feagan
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 17:37:44

    It appears to be a case of one bad apple. Amazing how just one, only one, can derail even the best intentions and make everyone want to go take a shower.
    Much work ensues, entailing fire extinguishers, anxiety, and in the end, feeling as though it wasn’t enough, that the organization is forever cursed with a black eye.

    All because of one person’s…what? Ego? Arrogance? What is it that leads a person to believe they have the right to speak for the whole, without ever asking the group?

    I don’t know details, but I do see other members of various Y2K groups posting here in an attempt to explain what happened – and perhaps put all possible distance between them – and I admire that. Or maybe I sympathize with it. Cleaning up messes made by others is a bummer.

    And, as usual, I’m left wondering what is so difficult about being civil? Also pondering the thought process behind insulting someone and expecting them to hop to. I’ve never tried it. Does it work?

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  32. Ellen Booraem
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 17:41:00

    As another 2k8er, I completely agree with Jen. The hallmark of the “Class of” groups so far has been an absolutely supportive spirit among authors who might have been competitors under other circumstances. It saddens me to see that spirit tarnished in any way. Whether we’re in a 2k class or not, we’re all first-time authors and we’re all in this together.

    Thanks for your efforts to clarify things, Greg. Especially at such a special time in your life!

    Ellen Booraem

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  33. bethany griffin
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 18:22:37

    I think this was a big ugly misunderstanding. Pearce has been a member of a message board I frequent and as an author who has a promising career in front of her, I’m sure she wasn’t trying to upset anyone. In fact she seems to be an innocent party.

    I was a member of the class of 2k8 and had to drop out due to time constraints, and I was like, was there someone in the group who was hateful? I looked up Parry in my email archives and found all communication from her to be friendly and supportive. I think this just must’ve been a bad timing issue or something. Having a bad day or whatever Pearce said came across wrong, or something. Pearce thought she had done what Parry had asked, Parry thought Pearce hadn’t done anything or was refusing to cooperate (since the url was still up).

    It’s unfortunate because I know these are two nice people with books coming out in the same year! I hope everything works out.

    Oh and Greg congrats on the new baby!

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  34. Michael M Jones
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 18:43:27

    All I can say is that I’m really disturbed by Rosanne Parry’s behavior and phrasing.

    On the bright side, she’s got at least a year to smooth things over and hope people have forgotten about her lousy attitude by the time her book comes out.

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  35. Chrissy
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 18:46:42

    I’m still not satisfied that the 2k thing can ever be owned in any capacity. It’s common usage. That’s it. No leg to stand on. They have t-shirts in every town in America down at the local novelty shop with the 2k stuff on them. Have had them since 2k. Move along here, nothing to see…

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  36. Ellen Booraem
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 18:48:10

    I’d like to add that I wouldn’t want Roseanne to come out of this characterized as a “bad apple.” I haven’t encountered anyone in the 2k8 process who would fit that description. I deeply, deeply regret that she wrote what she did, that’s all.

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  37. Jackson Pearce
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 18:49:35

    Hi Jane!

    I just wanted to thank you (and the commenters) for “highlighting” the fact that blackballing/threats/condescension in the writing world aren’t cool. It’s nice to know some good can come from drama :)

    -Jackson Pearce
    http://www.jacksonpearce.com

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  38. Greg R. Fishbone
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 19:09:14

    Here’s my blog entry on the whole 2k9trovercy, as founder and President of the Class of 2k7 and advisor for the Classes of 2k8 and 2k9.

    http://tem2.livejournal.com/120472.html

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  39. daphne grab
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 19:17:26

    another 2k8er posting to say that i am really uncomfortable with this letter and it definitely doesn’t speak for me.

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  40. As a female writer
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 19:53:05

    As a female writer, I find it somewhat demeaning that Greg things this was a bunch of hurt feelings. That makes it sound like it was just a bunch of girls with PMS who got a little pissy rather than what it truly was: one author threatening to harm another author’s career. It’s not about hurt feelings, it’s about the law and business and what is appropriate.

    Second, I still find a lack of apology from Rosanne Parry herself to be upsetting.

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  41. Nancy
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 20:36:09

    What a mess. I respect Jackson for her success as a soon-to-be published author, and I think all parties involved (including myself, a 2k8-er) have allowed this to spin out of control. I sincerely hope fences can be mended here, and we can get back to the task at hand: novel writing.

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  42. azteclady
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 20:45:56

    Not an author, simply a reader/train wreck spectator.

    Greg R Fishbourne said,

    We do not threaten, bully, or undermine anybody else. That's just not what we're all about, and I can't begin to express how sorry I am if that impression was given.

    I find the “if” in that last sentence a bit… out of place. I don’t think there’s any other way to read that email but as a threat. No if anywhere in sight.

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  43. Greg R. Fishbone
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 20:55:57

    I find the “if” in that last sentence a bit… out of place.

    There are editors everywhere!

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  44. azteclady
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 21:23:53

    No kidding.

    Best wishes for the baby and its parents.

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  45. Julia
    Feb 10, 2008 @ 22:38:11

    Greg, you may not threaten anybody. However, Ms. Parry most certainly did, and she made those threats as a representative of your organization. You are not addressing this very important point.

    Also, your clarification of the argument that using “2k9″ in the context of a marketing coalition of writers for young adults might be deemed to constitute an infringement of a collective service mark is QUITE DIFFERENT from Ms. Parry’s claim that “2k9″ was your organization’s “legal trademark”–and, for that matter, substantively different from your earlier remarks in support of that claim.

    You need to do better in future (perhaps when you have had a chance to welcome your new child and catch up on your sleep!) And I think that Ms. Parry should resign from your organization if she really wants to help it move past this regrettable incident.

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  46. Debbie Reed Fischer
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 00:07:58

    I’m also a member of the 2k8 group, and I want to express my regret at how this has been handled. To quote fellow classmate Jen Bradbury above: Roseanne did not speak for us as as a group or for me as an individual. I just want to say that I wish the best for Jackson, as well as all authors with books debuting in 2k9 and beyond. We authors need to support each other, not tear each other down. In that vein, while I still think the letter to Jackson was wrong on many levels, I also think it’s wrong to vilify another author in our community. Maybe Rosanne Parry made a mistake and reacted impulsively – and it was a big, ugly mistake – but author-bashing isn’t what our writing community should be about.

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  47. Katherine
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 01:06:30

    Wow. I’m not sure it’s enough to say I’m appalled.

    As an aspiring adult and YA urban fantasy author myself, I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by how close knit the communities of authors seems to be for both genres. That an author could even begin to think about making that type of threat against a fellow author’s career is just disgusting.

    Jackson Pearce’s book was already on my books-to-buy-in-the-future list, but has just been bumped up to buy-on-the-day-of-release list. Her levelheaded response in the face of such an inflammatory email is enough to garner more respect from me. On the other hand, I will never buy a book written by Roseanne Perry. I wonder how much harm she has done her career by threatening someone else’s.

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  48. M.P. Barker
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 07:56:00

    The letter Jackson received does not speak for me or the rest of the Class of 2k8. I wasn’t aware until a couple days ago that there was all this turmoil going on–I feel heartsick about it and very sad to see how a misunderstanding turned into such a big ugly mess.

    The whole idea of the “Class of 2k–” was to be supportive, not only of our fellow class members, but also of other writers. Being a debut author is tough enough already–we need to help each other any way we can. I hope we can put this mess behind us and get on with doing great writing and supporting others who do the same.

    Michele

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  49. Deborah
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 13:29:41

    You are not old enough to be a patent lawyer

    Not sure what being a patent lawyer has to do with a trade-mark issue.

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  50. The Class of 2k8
    Feb 11, 2008 @ 18:15:17

    The children’s writing community is known for its supportiveness and friendliness. Recently, misunderstandings about the “Class of 2K” label have caused rifts in part of our community.

    We, the Class of 2k8, are troubled by these misunderstandings. What threatens one writer threatens us all, and we should have voiced our concerns about these issues earlier. We regret that we did not. As first-time children’s novelists, we are learning as we go. However, we wish to be clear now: We fully support Jackson Pearce, the 2009 Debutantes, and all other authors with books debuting in 2008, 2009, and beyond.

    We are not only members of the Class of 2k8; we are also part of the larger children’s writing community, and we value and respect that community and its members. We look forward, especially, to sharing the thrill of becoming first-time children's novelists with other debut authors.

    The Class of 2k8
    Marissa Doyle, Jody Feldman, Lisa Schroeder, Jenny Meyerhoff, Nina Nelson, Sarah Prineas, Barrie Summy, Laurel Snyder, Debbie Reed Fischer, Nancy Viau, Kristin Tubb, PJ Hoover, Elizabeth Bunce, Jen Bradbury, Courtney Sheinmel, Regina Scott, Daphne Grab, Ellen Booraem, Donna Freitas, Terri Clark, Liz Gallagher, Teri Brown, Michele Barker, Brooke Taylor, Stacy Nyikos

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  51. Greg R. Fishbone
    Feb 12, 2008 @ 15:11:29

    I’ve just posted Rosanne’s apology to my blog, as she doesn’t yet have a blog of her own. Also I’d like to point out that Rosanne is only the acting co-president during until the Class of 2k9 has a full membership and can vote for their permanent leadership. Please let everyone know and I hope folks aren’t too dissuaded from joining.

    http://tem2.livejournal.com/120735.html

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