Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dear Mr. OpEd - Follow Up

When I read the letter I received yesterday I must admit I was already primed to overreact. During the last twelve months I've been aware of Autodesk's effort to police their trademarks. My initial reaction was a single tweet last night, a Facebook status remark and this morning's previous blog post. I also wrote a letter (very late last night) in response (to Autodesk) explaining how each site is used, why I created them to begin with and how I think they fit Fair Use.

This morning I spoke with Jennifer (an Autodesk Attorney) and she assured me that as far as Revit OpEd is concerned there was never any worry about it not being an example of Fair Use. Unfortunately Revit Inside (the domain redirect is currently broken (by GoDaddy)) and Revit JOBS were not as clear cut to them. They really wanted to know more about them. In my opinion the letter didn't really say that, at least not in a way that got through to my thick head.

In my defense I said that whenever you get a letter from a lawyer it isn't usually good news, not a "hey let's chat sort of message". I suggested that future communication with people start off more conversational when that's the goal. To be fair I went on the offensive quickly, I didn't give them a chance to respond, to explain their email more fully. As I mentioned before, I didn't read the message as open to conversation in the same way it was intended. Email is such a poor means for communication at times.

This morning I've described each blog's purpose and it appears that we are in agreement that each of the three domains meet their criteria for Fair Use.

I now understand that it is not necessary to offer or have a Fair Use Agreement in place to demonstrate Fair Use compliance. My three blogs carry a disclaimer at the top right column that meets their requirements, and that is sufficient. Advertising can be an issue when it is in poor taste, focused on competing products or reflects badly on Autodesk (Fwiw, it would reflect badly on me too). I only let Google Ads run on Revit Inside and Revit JOBS and I don't really have much control over what Google puts there.

I'm overwhelmed by the emails that I received in support, thank you! I'm sorry I got you all fired up, ultimately it was really a fairly minor issue. Thanks to Jennifer for talking me through it this morning!

1 comment:

Brian Beck said...

Whew! glad that's over.