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.


Blogger Nebulosus said...

Reposted comments I left elsewhere (with edits):

The "good" fight, or the heavily biased fight?

Several months ago, I had been asked to participate in a weekly SL art web show (which I later turned down, since I was unable to make the commitment). When it came time to brainstorm a name for it, "SLart" was one of the suggested names. I immediately shot that down because I knew of ArtWorld's blog, magazine, and group, and I didn't think it would be right to take the name that someone had already claimed. At the time, I had no idea he had trademarked the term "SLart"; I refrained from using the term out of professional courtesy.

In fact, I had no idea he had "SLart" trademarked until a couple of days ago.

Perhaps it does seem silly to trademark the term, but the fact is that he did pay money to legally own the rights to it, regardless of anyone's personal opinion of whether or not he "should" have done it. Would I have trademarked it if I had been him? Probably not, but I don't think he is an asshole for doing so.

When he started his SLart blog/magazine/group, "slart" was NOT a widely used term because the art scene in SL wasn't nearly as widespread as it is now, contrary to popular belief -- it has really exploded only in the past year. Of course, it does make sense that "slart" would become an obvious term in association with art created within SL, but he trademarked the name before it was widely used. That fact might be annoying to some people, but so what? Why make such a big deal over nothing? I personally prefer "SL Art"; I think the word "slart" sounds rather corny.

You might think he is a "SLasshole," but he has taken many strides to help get SL art recognized as a legitimate art form, which is something I am keen to see happen.

24 January, 2008 22:08  
Blogger Osprey said...

I don't disagree with many of your points, especially that the term SL art is prefererable.

For me, though, any made-up word starting with SL is just a common part of the lingo of SL and anyone trying to claim it as a personal possession is out of line.

It's very much like right of ways. "Everyone" uses a particular route (adding SL to words) but suddenly one portion of it is fenced off and someone says he owns it. "Pay me money to cross." If that part of the right of way is lost, it seems as though the rest is in jeopardy.

25 January, 2008 13:29  
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