Dear Catherine Linden,

following up on your post on the Official Linden Blog on the Brand Center, I turn to you today in my quest for an instance able to certify that the measures I have taken on my blog do indeed make it conform to the new trademark policy of Linden Research. Not wishing to incur costly legal disputes, I have made the following amends:

  • All mentions of Linden Research’s trademark ‘Second Life’ have been replaced by ‘You-Know-Where’ throughout all posts, pages and comments.
  • All mentions of Linden Research’s trademark ‘SL’ have been replaced by ‘Y-K-W’ throughout all posts, pages and comments.
  • All mentions of Linden Research’s trademark ‘grid’ have been replaced by ‘you know where’ throughout all posts, pages and comments.
  • Common derivative terms have been adapted as fitted this  ‘Second Lifers’ for instance has been replaced by ‘You-Know-Where denizens’ throughout all posts, pages and comments, ‘SLURL’ by ‘Y-K-WURL’, etc.
  • Related uses of Linden Research trademarks have been corrected likewise: the subtitle of the blog now reads ‘Rheta Shan’s You-Know-Where blog’, and posts relating to the trademarked product are now tagged ‘you-know-where’.
  • The Disclaimer page has also been amended to conform to the required form.
  • Finally, all errant ‘s’ appended to Linden Lab have been removed throughout all posts, pages and comments.

I have left these edits documented for inspection, and will do so for the length of the grace period generously offered by Linden Research, or until a crack team of censors trademark lawyers from your office signifies the all-clear for this measure, preferably with an official seal of approval (a large watermark ‘TM’ might be fitting). I must however preemptively beg your leniency as to an issue that is bugging me: the title of the post Second Life Guess, which, as any expert you care to consult will probably be able to explain to you, is a pun, or play on words – I’d appreciate a proposal on how to handle the translation into the new terminology in this case. I also must apologize for not having converted the incriminated trademarked terms to the new form in URLs, as I have not found a solution to do so this without breaking the link to the targeted page. On this matter too, advice would be greatly welcome.

Once approval is given, I will extend this corrections to all other statements on the web I have made, as far as I have editorial rights to these (I am very much afraid there is not much I can do about old Twitter posts, barring deleting them all. Would that be the suggested course?).

If I may, I would urge you to accede to my request in a timely fashion, allowing me to turn this blog into a shiny example for the entire Second LifeYou-Know-Where-related blogosphere. I can promise that, once your and the censors’ trademark lawyers’ approval has been given, I will use my influence in blogger circles for the blogosphere to follow my example and conform to your expectations.

Do not hesitate to contact me, in-world or here, in case of questions.
Cordially yours
Rheta Shan (avatar)

10 thoughts on “Dear Catherine Linden,

  1. The more you pay attention to these hippie homeless people, the more often they will bother you.
    Second LifeYou-Know-Where jumped the shark long ago. And Linden Lab is the single most inefficient assembly of propped-up silicon valley narcissists in the world.
    What they have managed to develop is a “virtual world” that is filled with some of the most frighteningly solipsistic and fanatically loyal strangers I’ve ever had the displeasure to meet.
    After spending a little more than two years with it, and watching LL’s incredibly moronic “customer service” deteriorate into corporate servitude, and the rise of a yuppified FEC centered around nonexistent “real estate” and digital winkies…it became painfully evident that SLY-K-W is the biggest joke and waste of server space on the whole intarwebz.

  2. Awww, ta so much for the praise, everybody, you’re just too sweet, the lot of you.

    @Kit: of course I did. What point would there be if I didn’t? Miss Linden would have every reason not to consider my request serious had I shied back from acting 🙂

    @Otenth: both are entirely valid if you ask me – I see you know your classics.

  3. I understand that the new logo is ugly and that they really haven’t thought through how this affects the website URL’s and Domains that have been legally running for years that now are against policy…

    … But, did I read the rules wrong or doesn’t it just say we have to use the little registered TM symbol the first or most prominent time in our materials and then when that term is used again it is not necessary? I don’t think that every single time in every blog post or article is required by the new rules.

    Here’s the very first part of the section called:
    Guidelines for Proper Reference to Linden Lab’s Brand Names in Text

    Follow these guidelines when referring to a Linden Lab word mark or brand name:

    1. Notice Symbol. In the United States, always use a trademark notice symbol for your first or most prominent reference to a Linden Lab brand name….——


  4. Alicia, it’s not about the trademark symbol. That is an ugly convention US residents have grown used to, and one that I, as a European, could quite happily ignore (even if LL had not stated so in their guidelines; to my knowledge, US trademarks notices and disclaimers do simply not apply outside of the US). Was that all there is, it would simply be a cosmetic concern for US residents writing about, well, you know, and a royal pain in patookus to convert existing texts into a non-infringing form.

    The bad thing is: that’s not all there is about it. Far from it. The guidelines go much further than the part you quote. For instance, take this:

    Always follow a Linden Lab brand name with an appropriate generic noun for at least your first reference to the brand name. A “generic noun” is a common noun and not a proper noun, trademark, or brand name. […] After the first reference, use an appropriate generic noun after the Linden Lab brand name as often as possible. Never use the brand name as a generic noun or verb, and never use it in the plural or possessive form. […] When providing your Second Life contact information, use an appropriate generic noun after the Second Life or SL brand names […] Always capitalize and spell Linden Lab’s brand names exactly as they are shown here, and do not abbreviate them or alter their spelling, spacing, hyphenation, or punctuation.

    and this:

    Do not use any Linden Lab brand name in your […] second-level domain name

    And though Kit Meredith rightly pointed out that US law provides for something called ‘nominative use’ of a product name (basically exempting general ‘talking of’ from branding guidelines), and although non-US citizens normally could ignore all of this, all residents are under the Damocles sword of Clause 4.4 of the Terms of Service, binding them to observance of the branding guidelines, lest they get kicked out (and please, nobody object LL have always reserved the right to kick out residents ‘for no reason’. Clause 2.6 was bad enough before, even if nobody cared, relying on the laissez-faire mentality of you know who).

    Effectively, Linden Research, Inc. have abrogated themselves the right to dictate the way residents speak of their product down to the exact phrasing, potentially even if we do not infringe their rights according to US laws (nominative use), or would not even have to worry about it due to local legislation (non-US citizens), and they have set an ultimatum to shut down numerous fansites, blogs, forums and other sites within 90 days (provided they contain ‘sl’ or ‘secondlife’ in their URL), making all efforts of their most dedicated evangelists null and void and snubbing the very people who have brought them where they are by providing them with an inordinate, unpaid amount of publicity and exposure. Never mind they are reversing standing policy from one day to the next, or the fact that the strength of their dearly branded product is to be perceived as a place, not a commodity

    The only terms I have for this behaviour are censorship, contempt and stupidity. Sorry.

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