back to article Python-lovers sling 'death threats' at UK ISP in trademark row

UK webhosting outfit Veber has called the police after fending off abuse in the wake of its attempt to trademark "python" in Europe. The small biz said it came under fire from fans of the popular Python programming language. The firestorm appeared to have been ignited by a Python Software Foundation (PSF) blog post on 14 …

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jai
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bad advertising

they're an ISP but they're taken out by a DDoS

suggests that any sites they host aren't going to be very well protected against DoS's either.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: bad advertising

They are also supposed to be a hosting and backup site but it took less 30GB traffic to knock them out.

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FAIL

OF COURSE they should've expected this.

They're an ISP, ISP implies a knowledge of the internet.

Even back when they first registered the pyrhon.co,uk domain, python had quite a presence on the net.

Beggers belief they even tried registering python, let alone leaving it idle for 15 years before finally deciding to use it. and THEN having the cluelessness to try to trademark the name when they knew full well python the language was much much bigger than they'll ever be.

That did they expect, hugs and fairy cakes?

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FAIL

Re: OF COURSE they should've expected this.

"That did they expect, hugs and fairy cakes?"

Really? Death threats? They should have expected death threats?

Remember, we aren't talking about someone annoying some troll group, but supposed intelligent python programmers, but yeah, threatening phone calls, including death threats, Nice one.

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Big Brother

Re: OF COURSE they should've expected this.

Remember to account for exaggeration and hyperbole when reading accounts of internet death threats!

True story: back in the hey-day of the dot-com boom, a girlfriend was one of Yahoo's email support team leads, and had to handle complaints about "death threats", including gems like this:

"He told me to go jump in the lake AND HE KNOWS I CAN'T SWIM!!!"

Apparently, that's a death threat...

Now, I'm in no position to comment on the objective nastiness of The Idiot Poultney's correspondence, but given the disingenuous tone of some of his other remarks ("we're not a multinational with lawyers"... but the lawyers that he claims he doesn't have tried to contact PSF nine times), I would at least entertain the idea that there is some exaggeration for effect going on.

[ My personal view is that the most sensible solution to have advanced "during the initial flurry of emails" would have been the MOU/Covenant approach, where Veber gets the mark for servers and services, and grants the PSF the right in perpetuity to use the mark for software, possibly even with exclusivity, which would achieve the effect of severing the mark's use for hardware and services from the mark's use for software. If the situation is really as Poultney claims, that would have avoided the whole mess AND possibly opened the door to the PSF paying some of the fees to maintain the mark! ]

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Thumb Up

Re: OF COURSE they should've expected this.

"Remember to account for exaggeration and hyperbole when reading accounts of internet death threats!...."

:-)

Fair point, but a few people here have been saying 'they should expect things like that' rather than saying that maybe the story is exaggerated somewhat!

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Stop

Re: OF COURSE they should've expected this.

DAMN! I am fed up of some commenters here generating hysteria around use of the word "expect"!

"Veber should have expected this response" =/= "It is perfectly OK for a small minority of idiots in the Python community to send abusive e-mails and make abusive phone calls"

Jamie Jones and others: those of us who used the word "expect" simply EXPECTED that you had the intelligence to see that we were merely pointing out that anyone with a modicum of net savvy could have seen this coming, not that it is in any way justified.

Let me guess: you're applying for a position at the Daily Wail?

</pointless_rant>

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WAAAH!

"We wanted to claim the name of a well-established programming language and we are totally surprised that that makes people cross"

I must admit that actual phone calls and death threats (if true...could be a play for more sympathy) are a surprise; but I would have been AMAZED if they hadn't been immediately DDoS'd into oblivion. A webhosting company (by definition a sitting target) is the last business on the planet that wants to be pissing off a large community of programmers. I foresee no more happy hosting for them unless and until they stop with the silly trademark crap.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WAAAH! @moiety

"(if true...could be a play for more sympathy)"

Don't be pathetic.

"but I would have been AMAZED if they hadn't been immediately DDoS'd into oblivion."

Says a guy with a silver posting badge on a site populated by FOSS fanatics. Mob mentality, step forward please.

"A webhosting company (by definition a sitting target) is the last business on the planet that wants to be pissing off a large community of programmers."

Apparently true, if that community are sad nutters. Do you think any reasonable person on the outside would look at this backlash or the apologists here and give them any support? And IT people are amazed they're held in such contempt.

Buffoon.

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Mushroom

Re: WAAAH! @moiety

> And IT people are amazed they're held in such contempt.

Hmm why for having a job even in the worst recession in generations? I would think IT people tend to be thought of a bit better by the public than bankers or likely in your case some middle management ass kissing yes man. Get back to work in your stuffy worn suit, those power point slides with nothing but worthless buzz words won't make itself.

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Re: WAAAH! @Anonymous Coward

To address your points:

"(if true...could be a play for more sympathy)"

I was expressing doubts of the veracity of the claims. DDoS, sure, that's how the internet reacts to asshat moves (such as attempting to force an established programming language to rebrand). Death threats? By phone? Seems considerably less likely.

"Says a guy with a silver posting badge on a site populated by FOSS fanatics. Mob mentality, step forward please."

IT. IT fanatics, enthusiasts, and even the odd professional. The whole spectrum; not just FOSS.

"Apparently true, if that community are sad nutters. Do you think any reasonable person on the outside would look at this backlash or the apologists here and give them any support? And IT people are amazed they're held in such contempt.

Buffoon."

In any sufficiently large community there are going to be extremists. 150 messages an hour and a DDoS could be easily arranged by one sufficiently motivated person; and yet you write off the entire community of Python programmers (and me for pointing out how totally unsurprising is the fact that trademark trolls seem to be getting a hard time from the internet). Not to mention everyone working in the IT industry. And that's "..held in contempt by stupid people until their printer needs fixing". Fixed that for you. You're welcome.

Cocksheath.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WAAAH! @Anonymous Coward

"(such as attempting to force an established programming language to rebrand)"

...which the company in question did not do. They applied for a trademark - according to them, a trademark unrelated to programming languages. They didn't even *receive it*, let alone *attempt to use it to force a name change*.

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Re: WAAAH! @Anonymous Coward

This trademark:

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/tmcase/Results/4/EU010848208

...and the sections they were applying for would have put a serious crimp in the operations of a programming language. Don't know why it's all blowing up now though...are they having another go possibly?

EDIT: AHA! Just found a post on page 2: " PSF applied for a trade mark on the 6th February 2013 for classes 09, 42 and 16 (packaging). It's being "examined". That explains the 'why now?' part. Also might mean that Veber aren't necessarily the aggressors in this.

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Re: WAAAH! @Anonymous Coward

@ David W.

I quite agree, there's been an awful lot of frothing at the mouth here, generally by people who really haven't checked their facts.

I was also under the impression that Python is the name of a programming language, not a "Brand".

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Vic
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Re: WAAAH! @Anonymous Coward

> according to them, a trademark unrelated to programming languages

They lied.

Vic.

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Holmes

If I can't have it, nobody can...

So if I'm reading it correctly, it looks like so many people are already using the term "Python" in various trademarks all around the world, chances are no one will end up with exclusive use for it, and the world will carry on as before?

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Re: If I can't have it, nobody can...

So say we all.

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Re: If I can't have it, nobody can...

Well Python (Monty) Pictures Ltd owns this trademark http://www.ipo.gov.uk/tmcase/Results/4/EU008495368 for for a whole list of different things, starting with "non-medicated toilet preparations"

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Re: If I can't have it, nobody can...

If I have this straight, it's not the name; but the application as well. So I could trademark 'Python' for a range of hosepipes...no problem. However, the ISP is claiming "the exclusive right to use 'Python' for software, servers, and web services"...and that could definitely put a stick through the PSF's front wheel.

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Bronze badge

Re: If I can't have it, nobody can...

US Trademark law is different. The PSF would have a prior claim--what gets called a "common law trademark"--that would protect them against a claim such as this one. It's a term that was used by Games Workshop too.

The European system doesn't have that.

The lawyers seem almost incompetent to this non-lawyer. Don't they realise that the differences matter?

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Coat

Meanwhile over at ipo.gov.uk...

I just spent a very interesting 5 minutes looking at the trade mark database. From which I learned:

There are 13 entries with Python in relating to class 09 (...computers, computer software...) of which 7 are "registered" and one "protected". No, I don't know the difference.

• PO Box hosting (aka Veber) applied for a trade mark including their logo on 30th April 2012 and it was published May 2012. The application has been "opposed". It's for class 09 (...computers, computer software...) and class 42 (..web services...)

• PSF applied for a trade mark on the 6th February 2013 for classes 09, 42 and 16 (packaging). It's being "examined".

It's interesting that the furies were only released this week.

Meanwhile "Monty Python" is trademarked for classes 03 06 09 14 16 18 21 24 25 26 28 35 38 41 ( you can look them yourself).

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Re: Meanwhile over at ipo.gov.uk...

according to PSF application, class 16 as used there is for Printed publications concerning computer programs, computer software and computer programming language. .

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Re: Meanwhile over at ipo.gov.uk...

I just spent a very interesting ...

(Me too, but then I stopped to have my tea.)

The "Monty Python" trademark has expired.

Class 9 covers all goods technical and scientific, while class 42 is for technical and scientific services.

Trademarks exist by being used and commonly recognised; they do not have to be registered. However in the case of a dispute, registration is very useful.

POBox Hosting only filed for their logo NOT the name (text) Python.

The name Python is registered to Seagate in these categories; specifically relating to computers, but not snakes.

The PSF have requested to register the name (text) "Python" for anything related to computer programming or software. Surprisingly they have not asked to register their logo.

These different uses of the name do not seem to me to necessarily exclude each other.

The uproar seems to have been generated solely in response to the PSF's blog. However if the blog was in fact written by a lawyer, then my natural instinct is to treat it as most likely specious. In my experience lawyers, politicians, and other such shysters have a rhetorical concept of truth; whereas engineers, scientists, and technical folk favour a more mathematical or logical distinction between true and false.

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Re: Meanwhile over at ipo.gov.uk...

"Surprisingly they have not asked to register their logo."

Probably because it was nicked off the side of some Mesoamerican pyramid or stele. It sure looks like it.

The endless grinding Monty Python "jokes", "references", explanations of the "jokes" in case you were so shirt thick you didn't get the point and expansions of the "references" cross indexing them to the "jokes" - all instead of getting on with showing me the bloody language - was what made me ignore this eminently ignorable language for years. I figured if the people behind the language couldn't even write a fucking manual that was readable there was little hope for the language itself being a write-home affair. I only started looking at it again because I bought a Pi.

I think it's funny that a modern language has significant whitespace. I thought everyone knew that was a Bad Idea by 1978, the year I got started in IT.

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significant whitespace

>I think it's funny that a modern language has significant whitespace.

>I thought everyone knew that was a Bad Idea by 1978, the year I got started in IT.

1978 was a year in which everyone knew that having significant whitespace was a Good idea.

And implicit declarations where a Bad idea:

DO 100 I = 1.100

Which is why all languages (C, C++, Lisp, Java, Forth etc ) after FORTRAN have syntactically significant whitespace, and many required explicit declarations

1978 was a year in which everybody knew that FIXED FORMAT was a bad idea, but even so, it turns out the 80-column text wasn't such a bad idea after all (count the characters here, brother)

*If I remember correctly, that FORTRAN snippit implicitly declares a variable DO100I of type Double, and assigns the value 1.1 to it. The programmers intention was to have a loop construct.

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Facepalm

Duplicitous or naive?

"Poultney claims he’s only interested in the trademark on the servers. “We are not interested in the trademark on the language,” Poultney told The Reg."

So, what does someone mean when they say "I have a Python web app"? Do they mean it's written in Python? Do they mean that it's hosted on the Python web servers? Hell, what does a Python web server mean? Do they mean something like Tornado which is a web server written in Python or do they mean a web server hosted by these guys?

Something doesn't sit right here. These guys are either being very duplicitous or naive.

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Re: Duplicitous or naive?

I've never met anyone who has declaimed "I have a Python web app" (presumably followed by breathing on their knuckles and polishing them on their Christmas cardie) has anyone else here?

PS If, when someone exclaims "I have a Python web app" & you are unable to immediately ascertain, from the choices/options you mention, what the FTG means - try asking - he'll surely explain in excruciating detail.

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Facepalm

Why is this important?

It's a programming language, not a bloody religion. Imagine if people who use C were to get steamed up in the same way. They'd be spamming disk drive manufacturers and digging up the former head of the Secret Service.

I use several programming languages, and frankly I couldn't give a stuff who trademarks any of their names. These people should get a life.

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FAIL

Re: Why is this important?

Google "powered by python", for a start. Presto, about 84 900 webpages that need rewriting. Of course the language will need to change name also, as surely distributing "computer software" that has a name in violation of a trademark is a no-no.

"Imagine if people who use C were to get steamed up in the same way. They'd be spamming disk drive manufacturers and digging up the former head of the Secret Service."

Ridiculous claim. I didn't see Seagate trademarking the name "C" for computer programs. Does the former head of the Secret service hold such a trademark? I didn't think so.

"I use several programming languages, and frankly I couldn't give a stuff who trademarks any of their names."

That's because you do not understand the implications.

"These people should get a life."

You should get a clue

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WTF?

Re: Why is this important?

> ...and frankly I couldn't give a stuff who trademarks any of their names.

That will be great for you until the websites that these languages use are forced off the net by legal force.

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Linux

Re: Why is this important?

Theft is theft. These j*ck*sses are trying to take ownership of something that is not theirs to take. The fact that it might not be anyone's to take at all just makes the situation WORSE. This is the worst kind of virtual land grab. If it is allowed to stand then all manner of people and corporations will be subject to bogus litigation and completely unecessary extra costs.

Taking from the public domain is as much theft as "piracy". More so even.

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Joke

Nasty, very very nasty

Those French and German silent calls are so nasty.

I received a silent call a while ago and still recall that moment when I chillingly realised there was a mute mainland European on the other end. There was a harrowing Franco-Germanic malevolence in the utter silence.

It was weeks before I could suffer a moment of sobriety after that.

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Re: Nasty, very very nasty

It was weeks before I could suffer a moment of sobriety after that.

What's sobriety and is it contagious?

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Pint

Re: Nasty, very very nasty

"What's sobriety and is it contagious?"

It's a terrible affliction, highly contagious and I'm going to patent the cure...

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Anonymous Coward

Friends don't let friends....

Allow their marketing group to select the name for products BY THEMSELVES.

It wouldn't be the first time that I have had to explain to the marketing group why their particular product name of choice is going to make several highly paid lawyers (I mean large companies) froth at them.

This seems like the company having already spent their change on PYTHON didn't bother talking to their IT people..whom are probably familiar with python.

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Unhappy

Disappointing all round

The idiots attacking these numpties with DDOS and threatening calls are just giving all of the rest of us a bad name. No winners here.

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FAIL

sad all around

I don't know what is worse with modern society, the complete breakdown in civility towards each other or the massive virtual land grab where everyone is a brand and has to own everything including other's genes, math solutions often written by others (software concepts for example), and even common words people have often used for centuries.

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Re: sad all around

The complete breakdown in civility is a direct result of anger and rage at the insatiable greed behind the massive virtual land grab you refer to. The two are related; civility fails when greed prevails.

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Re: sad all around

If you do something bad then YOU are bad. Claiming that you did something bad because someone else did so first is not acceptable. It's understandable if you are less than about 5 but still not acceptable.

It's what being civilised means.

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Coat

Good God!

I actually prefer spellin pedants compared to this...Please! You There! Help Our Nouns?

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Poor slobs.

Here we have another sad tale of two groups that forgot that it's "Pillage *then* burn."

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Holmes

DDOS?

I wonder if it's a confirmed DDOS or just all the traffic they attracted with the worldwide press coverage.. I know I spent awhile looking around their sites trying to find out if their dedicated hosting listed python-the-language as being included, so at least a few hundred K is my fault..

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Confused

I dont get this bit....

" claiming the exclusive right to use 'Python' for software, servers, and web services - everywhere in Europe.”

Why do they want such overreaching rights? they dont appear to be in the software biz, just web hosting, so why try and grab the software rights as well?, am i missing something here or is this just a nasty land grab?

And I think the guys lying about the death threats and phone calls, I cant believe anyones pathetic enough to do that over something like a programming language name.

One wonders why they waited until now to do this as well considering the url has laid fallow since the 90`s.

Python is a programming language in the context of I.T. Hopefully common sense will prevail and this hosting company will fail in its endevour and never be heard of again.

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Stop

intellectual property lawyer for Texan legal firm, and describes himself as PSF's counsel

Does he even have a UK lawyers operating papers.

Some Americans think just because they meet US requirements they can practice anywhere.

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WTF?

And now for something completely different...

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/02/130219-florida-pythons-hunting-animals-snakes-invasive-science/

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The CEO is a moron

Veber is an ISP, ie a technology led business, it's not a newsagent or hairdresser, but the CEO freely admits that he didn't bother involving the technology people in his business in this startlingly dumb decision.

His unfitness to run a business is that he thinks he is running a business, he's not, he's doing a job.

Doing any job properly means that that you get others to cover the holes that we alll have in our understanding, but he doesn't understand that his job should involve involving people who understand things in decision making, not just chat with his accountant and sales people. He would not try and get the tax authorities angry at him because as someone who thinks he "runs a business" he understands that to be irrational, but because he didn't involve technologists in "business" decisions he pissed of the tech community and as the DDos et al show unlike the HMRC some of them don't regard the law as a boundary.

Python supporters shouldn't DDoS him, though if he'd bothered to lower himself and actually talk to a a techie they'd have told him that this would happen and worse.

If I was a shareholder of Veber, I would be looking for a new CEO, if he is so reluctant to talk to his own staff on this matter, it would tell me that there were other important issues that he could not manage because of his reluctance to talk to IT people.

If I was a customer, I'd be looking for a new ISP, not to support the Python people, because the CEO is making decisions that he doesn't understand and I would not want to be sucked into the consequences.

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