January 19, 2004

Here’s a New One [12:52 pm]

Sorry — I’m facing some deadlines; but I couldn’t resist posting this one — a look at the humor-impaired (not to mention a tragic conflation of copyright and trademark): Mike may be Rowe, but ’soft’ is trouble

Mike Rowe knew he needed a catchy name for his Web-site design company.

“Since my name is Mike Rowe, I thought it would be funny to add ’soft’ to the end of it,” said Rowe, a 17-year-old computer geek and 12th-grade student in Victoria, B.C.

[...] Rowe registered the name in August. In November, he received a letter from Microsoft’s Canadian lawyers, Smart & Biggar, informing him he was committing copyright infringement.

He was advised to transfer the name to the Redmond-based corporation.

“I didn’t think they would get all their high-priced lawyers to come after me,” Rowe said.

He wrote back asking to be compensated for giving up his name. Microsoft’s lawyers offered him $10 in U.S. funds. Then he asked for $1,000.

[...] “I never even thought of getting anything out of them,” he said, adding that he asked for the $1,000 only because he was “sort of mad at them for only offering 10 bucks.”

Slashdot: Microsoft to sue Mike Rowe for Copyrights; a Slashot comment with all the news

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