Thursday, August 9th, 2007

Hot intellectual property!

LibraryThing has a small but dedicated cadre of author-picture adders. The most active, alibrarian, has uploaded more than 3,000 of them.* Today’s subject, DromJohn, has entered fewer—183 at last count—but almost all of them required permission. That is, he wrote to the author, agent or publisher and got permission to post the images on LibraryThing. I am awed by this.

DromJohn wrote to the McIlhenny Company, the people who make Tabasco. They’ve also published a few books under their company name, so they have an author page. Wouldn’t it be cool to have the Tabasco logo on that page? Here’s their reply:

Please be advised that McIlhenny Company hereby grants you permission to use the forthcoming “Brand Products” logo on the LibraryThing author page … for six months from the date of this email.

Any changes in your intended use of our Intellectual Property must be submitted to us for prior approval.

We will follow up with you at the end of the six month period to see if the logo is still being used.

Further, we note that “Tobasco” is misspelled on the author page. Please make the necessary revisions to the pages in which it is misspelled. It should read “TABASCO(r)” with an “A” and it should be in all caps with a superscript registered symbol.

I will review the page in a few days to ensure the necessary revisions have been made.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you and have a great day.

[NAME OMITTED]
Trademark and Licensing
McIlhenny Company

A couple of points:

  • The owner of one of their (not-so-popular) cookbooks is volunteering to promote them. This should be a call for celebration.
  • The “tobasco” spelling error came about because some loyal customer of theirs couldn’t find the book they published in any source, but was so insistent on including it on their virtual shelf that they cataloged it by hand. These are problems you want!
  • Neither Amazon nor the Library of Congress nor any other source I can find put the registration marks in. Personally, I’m glad.
  • A close of view of the front cover of the Tabasco Cookbook shows no registration mark either. So, LibraryThing is supposed to add it when the company doesn’t?
  • Good luck getting the Tabasco tag pages on Del.icio.us and Flikr to use the ® symbol.
  • “TABASCO®”? HASN’T ANYONE TOLD THEM THAT ALL CAPS IS SHOUTING?

I’ll bet you that, on today’s web, half the time you fire off an asinine letter like this to someone with a blog you get a post like this, and another 10, 100 or 1,000 people out there who think you’re clueless.

Of, I forgot: TABASCO®, the TABASCO® diamond logo, and the TABASCO® bottle design
are registered trademarks exclusively of McIlhenny Co., Avery Island, LA 70513.

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