Friday, January 25, 2008

Is it your SLart or his SLART(TM)?

Over the past weeks Vint Falken has been taking on Richard Minsky over his trademarking the term SLART® on her blog at I made a cheeky comment to Vint's blog post early and now find that he knew the term slart could be used to describe a fart from a SLut so I think that strengthens my argument about how we think of his trademark. Now in my typical fashion I will just ask three questions for those that want to fight him for the term rather them label/libel him with it:
SL art or SLART®?
  • Is the term descriptive and therefore not trademark-able
  • Does a space between L and a make a difference?
  • Was the trademark issued in error and should it be challenged?

Even Minsky uses the " phrase" SL art to describe works found in SL. I quote from his own web site and paper:

"Free Download: The Art World Market of Second Life® (PDF)
Paper on the Business of Art in SL
presented at SLCC August 25, 2007
Over 6,000 downloads of this paper since then.
"Artists, collectors, curators, dealers and critics have established an art world in Second Life (SL)that has several characteristics that differentiate it from real life (RL)."
"Plagiarism: A significant issue that is developing in SL is the creation of new works that are very similar to existing SL art works. New entrants [newbies, or noobs] look around, get ideas, and have instant exhibitions that are similar to work created by other SL artists. In some cases the artists know they are copying someone’s work, but others are simply absorbing the culture in which they are immersed. This will be sorted out in time as SL art criticism and SL art history develop."

To be fair here is a link to Minsky's blog and a clip for his side of the story:

Infringement of the SLART™ Trademark

"Various bloggers and others have been using SLART to purposefully create a controversy over my use of SLART as a trademark for certain projects and activities that I have pursued since first using that name in 2006. The facts have been distorted. I am not trying to control freedom of speech or restrain trade. I did NOT “demand payment” from individuals who used the term slart ........."

This will be interesting now the legal minds of SL have piped in:

Posted to as a Guest Commentary
January 25th, 2008
by Thayer Preece, a San Francisco Bay Area attorney specializing in trademark and copyright law, particularly as applied to the internet.

"Outrage recently erupted among Second Life users, particularly those involved in the art scene, regarding the fact that artist Richard Minsky (Second Life’s ‘ArtWorld Market’) has registered the trademark “SLART” with the U.S. Patent and trademark Office. (See Vint Falken and Massively, among others.) ....."


"When Minsky filed his application for SLART, the trademark examiner assigned to the case actually did issue a refusal based on descriptiveness. Minsky responded that his mark was not descriptive because common use of the term “SL Art” included a space. He also argued that the term SLART has other meanings, cited from, and largely involving combinations of the terms “slut, “tart,” and “fart,” and finally, that his publications are not restricted to Second Life, but address art from any virtual world.

Let’s examine each of Minsky’s arguments in turn. First, the fact that common use of "SL Art” may contain a space does not change the fact that the title of his work has the meaning “Second Life Art,” which is descriptive of its content."

Anyway you cut it. the SL ART community is generally outraged and he has alienated the very artists and patrons he needs to survive and prosper, that is unless has a plan to market and or publish his SLART(TM) without the very artists he wishes to represent and receive rights from.

I quote from:

Second Life Art News
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

SLart Warfare

"In a move guaranteed to enrage the art community, someone named ArtWorld Market has trademarked "slart." The term has been around for a long time and is used by Second Life residents when they refer to inworld artwork. Since "SL" is commonly added to just about everything ("SLamazons, SLeek, SLiterary, SLesbians, SLarchitecture, SLawyer) it's obvious that the reason it was able to be trademarked was that the government body in charge of trademarks has not got clue one when it comes to SLingo. To them it was probably a novel and ungainly little made-up word. Actually it's a common, ungainly little word the use of which predates the trademarking and even the rezdate of the usurping avatar."

Vint Falken is fighting the good fight over at her blog.

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