Tag Archives: Like

Crushing Dreams of Candy

Oh Internet, you’ve been providing us with ridiculousness for quite some time. I remember back when it was a really big deal to check on the hockey scores without having to wait for the top of the hour on the radio or the highlights on TV. We have apps for that now (thank goodness).

I remember back when, if you had to research something, you had to get up off your butt and go all the way to the library to look it up and then come all the way back home (uphill, again!) to type it up. How the local transit system and Liquid Paper are still in use is beyond me. Keep citing your sources though, and make sure they’re not all Wikipedia.

I remember when you were out at the bar and an argument broke out the result was often hours of yelling and debate sometimes followed by someone getting punched in the face. Those arguments seem to have tapered off with cries of “TO THE INTERNETS!” replacing violence. I think face punching still occurs, but it’s probably for old fashioned violations like hitting on someone’s girl or getting mind blowingly wasted.

Finally, I remember when the Internet was pure, and innocent, and wasn’t the easiest way for money sucking lawyers to bulk up on billable hours. Yesterday’s ambulance chasers are today’s trademark miners – and the Internet is the reason it’s so much easier than hopping in your car and hanging out near the busiest intersection in town waiting for the latest saga about the car that gets crushed in front of the candy store.

See what I did there?

Yes? Very good! Please keep reading.
No? It’s okay, it was subtle. Please keep reading.

As a content provider I am more in tune with copyright and intellectual property than I every thought I would be. Honestly, had I known I would be a photographer, blogger, and writer back in my youth I probably would not have spent so much time staring at my classmates test papers and assignments. In spite of those transgressions I do have a healthy respect for the creators of content and for the most part it’s a black-and-white discussion. I also understand that in some cases there are at least fifty shades of grey.

I’d like to think that the insanity started with Facebook and it’s ultimate desire to own every piece of information on the Internet. The day they filed for a trademark on the word “like” was a dark day for the Internet and a field day for lawyers. I’m sure other companies have marked singular, common words found in dictionaries everywhere but Facebook went the extra mile and added “face” and “book” to the list as well.

You know, I get it. I really do. Facebook doesn’t want people taking advantage of their popularity or sullying the brand, but to what extent do they have to go to ensure this doesn’t happen?

The answer to that apparently lies with the company King.com Limited, who on February 6, 2013 filed a trademark application for the word “candy”. Special thanks to the CBC for bringing this to our attention and digging up the application status (that would have been a chore for a person much more patient than me). In case you didn’t know, King.com makes the wildly popular app “Candy Crush Saga”.

If you read the filing you’ll see a laundry list of goods and services to which the trademark applies. To say that King.com Limited has cast a wide net would be the understatement of the year.

Some highlights:

  • “Calculating machines, Data processing equipment, namely, couplers”
  • “Microphones; Baby monitors; Battery performance monitors”
  • “Clothing… tights, trousers, under garments, underpants, underwear…”

And my personal favourite:

  • “Non-downloadable electronic publications in the nature of websites, e-books, online magazines, online newspapers, electronic journals, blogs, podcasts and mobile applications in the field of computer and video games” [emphasis mine]

What I can’t figure out is whether or not the bit “in the field of computer and video games” only applies to podcasts and mobile applications or if it applies to everything in that sentence. I suppose one way to find out is to just leave this post up and wait for my cease and desist letter to arrive in the mail. 

The good news is that while the application was approved on January 22 competitors still have until February 25 to oppose the trademark. Here’s hoping someone tips off the members of the 60’s band The Strangeloves before things get out of hand.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiiD8KeAFew]

~ Andrew

The Power of the Internet

I am fortunate enough to have experienced the creation of one of the greatest inventions of all time: the Internet. Granted, there were a whole lot of events that had to transpire over several decades before it became accessible outside of military or academic circles, but when it did… it’s hard to argue that it didn’t have a major impact on society.

Image Courtesy Wikipedia

Much like anything else it didn’t take long for the Internet to become commercialized. Rest assured (and if you read my last post this won’t come as a surprise) if there’s a newer/better/faster/easier way to sell you something then the people selling it are going take advantage.

Then something interesting happened. People started using the Internet for something that wasn’t commerce. Of course, traditional media outlets began (and continue) to use the Internet as a cheap and easy way to get your attention, driving you to their paid services and racking up page views to satisfy deep-pocketed advertisers, but ordinary people also started to use it to share their message. They quickly realized that there was the potential to reach a tremendous audience and in less than a decade the Internet became the greatest resource the world has ever seen.

As with anything that’s publicly available and unregulated you’re going to get quite a wide collection of individuals involved. The Internet user community is, unsurprisingly, just a reflection of society as a whole. One quick peak and you’ll find:

  • the innovators; 
  • the salespeople; 
  • the socially conscience; 
  • the clueless; 
  • the intellectual (and the intellectually deficient); 
  • the radicals; and of course, 
  • the liars and the cheats. 
If you need to put “fair & balanced” in your logo
I have news for you…

It’s not just corporations like FOX News that are in on the game either. Sometimes our cravings for attention and the insatiable need for our 15 minutes of fame take control, and sometimes the less honourable see an opportunity to take advantage of the good nature of others. If you’re on Facebook you have most certainly seen the posts. The ones where some tear-jerking picture is accompanied by some text that reads “If I get a million ‘likes’ then…” or “So and so or this and that needs your help!”

Some of these are undoubtedly true… and some most certainly are not. I choose to focus on the good. It takes a bit more energy but the end result is worth it (my favourite sources of truth are currently Snopes and Skeptophilia). With just a little bit of research and minimal digging the same Internet that brings you the lie also brings the lie and the people behind it to light. Just as easily, the Internet can be used to affect positive change, and as it turns out there are more people out there using their powers for good instead of evil.

I firmly believe in the power of the Internet and all of its social media sub-components. Aside from allowing everyday folks like myself to have a voice, it can bring people together and affect change like never before.

Just ask Egypt.

~ Andrew