Friday, September 14, 2012

Addendum To The Cosplay Wordmark Brouhaha

.:In Response To The Official Statement:. has released an official statement, as I intimated in yesterday's post. Well, that came faster than I expected it to, based on my conversation with Tanya yesterday.

I'll say this much. Given the nature of legal issues, they were well within their rights to act vigilantly and pre-emptively by wordmarking "cosplay." I'm sure there are a few people worried that would selectively enforce its trademark against people they don't get along with, but at this point, that will probably result in actual legal action, and that will make or break the trademark in practice.

The argument they are making is a "necessary evil" argument, and to be fair, given what they have explained in their statement, it isn't a very far-fetched thing for them to do.

It seems unfortunate that we have a perfectly plausible situation that forces a necessary evil, especially since no matter how much good will there may be for, no consensus-building was reached to give them this responsibility. Value judgments aside, the political process, as unsavory as it is, was still bypassed and the responsibility was assumed by on their own accord.

Now, whether this is a case of Messianic complex or simply a matter of course is all a matter of opinion. I can assume all the goodness I want about, but I'm just one person. I can't speak for everyone else, which is exactly what the critics of this move are worried is now capable of, by default.

Sure, they have not enforced their trademark, but they are not legally obliged not to. That is enough cause for concern because on legal matters, "take my word for it" means absolutely nothing, and if you don't know who, or if you don't get along with them, then of course you'd be worried.

Sure, they enjoy the trust of a lot of people, but what people don't realize is that this sets a precedent. They protected their brand. Well and good. What if, say, Best Of Anime decided to protect theirs by registering "anime," hypothetically? How about "otaku?" The worries of people may seem like fear-mongering, but when something big like this happens this secretively and it took a year for it to come to light, could you blame them?

So for now, there is no practical problem, even if a legal snag undeniably does exist. There are valid reasons for to want and to hold onto the wordmark at this point, but the fact that we know the people behind and we personally like them should not be one of those reasons. When it comes to matters like these, personal feelings on parties involved should be put aside, and people have to stick to the issues alone.

I believe doing anything else would be a huge disservice to everyone concerned.

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