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The sources for the CastA...Wote project are now back on-line. I took this decision after a lot of reflecting, and deciding that it would be preferable to offer the project sources to the BBS community that I was once a part of - and that the sysops there were all very friendly and helpful. It's the least I can do.

If you remember, I was sent an email instructing me to take down the project. Now there's an interesting little website that lists all UK registered trademarks, and guess what isn't there? I suspect they registered the domain name and thinks that gives them some sort of rights over the name...
I could argue, having not only being able to date my project back to 1994, but also it has been around, deployed, on-line. Frankly I am extremely surprised it took them this long to find that the name was already in use by somebody else. However, let's face it, I can't be assed. The first thing they are likely to do is get legal to protect their investment in their "brand", which means I would need to respond likewise. As I actually live in Europe and not in the UK, you can take the solicitor's fees and start adding zeroes to the ends. I said the project was killed, however to cut'n'paste my project to be called CastAWote took only an afternoon. It's far simpler that way - and if anybody is looking for CastAVote for the RISC OS BBS scene, it is this under a new name. If anybody is looking for the professional voting system, try it as a domain name - that's nothing to do with me, and likewise I'm nothing to do with that.

The project will, however, only be available as sources. Given the dial-up services all but died in the face of the Internet and local access POPs (nowadays 24/7 ADSL links for a flat fee), I do not really envisage there to be new SysOps entering the scene. The sources are primarily intended for those fixing bugs, tweaking, adding personal wish-lists...

Oh, and one final thing - Germanic pronunciation is encouraged! ☺


Cease and desist

This whole issue brings up a few interesting topics. If you should receive such a communication, if the communication originates in the UK then it is wise to check the listing of registered trademarks to see if is present. If it is not, you can argue, especially if you can document being there 'first'. Even if it is, you have an option to argue, to possibly take action against the company if you feel that you would have a viable claim on them "passing off" on your good name and established reputation. Yes, this can apply even if the other company has already registered the name in question as their trademark.
In all cases, it is not likely to be settled amicably, else you would never have received a cease-and-desist in the first place. It is extremely likely to end up in the realms of the legal profession. If you are running a business, you might be able to justify this. As a home programmer, I get to bitch about it on my b.log but going legal is not something I plan to do even with evidence on my side. Just think have many bars of chocolate you could buy for the cost of a solicitor writing a letter. Exactly! ☺

Domain names. Listen carefully for this is an oft-made mistake. When you register a domain name, you pay a third-party to set up an index where your domain name is associated with the IP address of the computer running your server. In other words, points to Glenn's server...

That is it!
Outside of the realms of my website, I have no special interests or claims in the name "HeyRick". Because I registered it as a domain does not mean that I own it as a trademark or company name, identity, etc etc. I do tend to use it for my software projects, but this is informal (a sort of "what do I call myself now that I'm no longer using the moniker "BudgieSoft"? (that too is used by somebody else, I can date my use of it back to the early '90s! - see how complicated this can get?!?)). All 'legal' uses of the name HeyRick are unrelated to the domain name registration. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that registering a domain name is perhaps the most tenuous bit of supporting evidence you could come up with, given that a competent Internet guy can set you up with the name of your choosing (if it doesn't already exist) in less time than it would take to zap him payment for his services... If I wanted, I know a great guy to call and I could have it set up and aliased to my site, well, phone call and his workload excepting, probably by the time you finish reading this document. So, in short, a domain name can be a business tool, it can be your online identity, it can be a political message, it can be obscure or funny or a bother to type in. But it doesn't grant you anything other than a name pointing to an IP address.

Anybody can register alternative HeyRicks. There is an estate agent (realtor) at, and you (yes, you!) could register or any of the other plethora of permutations. The only way I could prevent you from doing this is to register them all myself first - and as for the .com version, as it is his business I would imagine he's not going to want to sell his domain name. This isn't to say I want to claim all the HeyRicks, it's just an example that multiples can (and do) exist, which are totally independent of each other. Looking for property across the Atlantic? You'll want the dot-com one. Looking for nerdy ruminations of a guy that has no life? You're right here at the dot-co-dot-uk one! Looking for others? Go Google! ☺

Aside: This is part of the problem of "cybersquatting", where likely domains (perhaps something like if it isn't already claimed?) are registered and then offered for sale to the intended company at vastly inflated prices. Cybersquatting is not illegal, but it is certainly immoral.

Outside of domain names, in the real world, there is also the case of relativity. Could I create a fast food bar and call it McDonald's? Definitely not. Could I run a farm called McDonald's? Perhaps, though my defence would be that much stronger if that was actually my name. I could be a florist, called McDonald's (assuming there isn't already...), or a carpenter (ditto). Why? Because what we all associate with that name are burgers and fries (or salads if you are modern and trendy), not flowers or nails-in-wood. There is no connection between floristry and fast food.
You will, however, be on much dodgier ground if you wish to purloin a made-up name; when's the last time you heard of Exxon Car Rentals? Or Cif Conservatory Blinds? Or Microsoft Stuffed Animals?

The only big exception to all this is if you are handed notice by an American company. It doesn't do to trifle with a company based in a litigation-happy society with a legal system that bizarre. Many such notices are invalid because the company in question has the US rights and they just think that means "the entire world", but are you willing to take them on? I doubt I would!

As always - these are personal opinions. Seek legal advice, always. But know that you do have options.

And a tiny little message for that certain company, if Ian happens to be reading this stuff: If you are going to be that protective of your product's name, for God's sake register it as a trademark - lest somebody with a better argument and/or more cash to toss around decides to reply in a more confrontational manner!
That advice goes for anybody with an interest in a name that they have devised - register it!


Whoa, hot! Hot!

Today was a lovely day. Some might have you believe that you can only eat outdoors in August in this part of the world. I went outside for breakfast. A bowl of Special K with apple crumble flavour. I'm not on some sort of diet idea, I happen to like the taste of Special K. As if to confirm the non-diet, I had it with a mixture of milk (semi-skimmed) and crème anglais which is a sort of Frenchified custard. Miam-miam!

Got some mowing done, tidied up the edge of the stream. Mom did some mowing too, and weeding. A pleasant day, and very nice after the long winter.


The pastureland saga

I forgot to tell you... Back in December, early in the morning on the 12th, this massive machine came lumbering through the fog to cut and shred the corn (maize)...
Some of the maize was taken away, though I can't imagine why as it was mouldy by then. The rest was shredded to ribbons and sprayed across the field like a layer of insulation. That too went moudly, it's still there.
Thanks to the CAP getting rid of the idea of the "set-aside" (like, dumbasses, the birds and the bees will live where?) the marshy meadowland over the field is succumbing to the might and power of industrialised farming:
They are digging trenches for land drains (the yellow piping in the back of the truck).


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