Simplify footer notice in prosilver

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EXreaction
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Re: Simplify footer notice in prosilver

Post by EXreaction » Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:32 am

"Powered by phpBB" sounds good to me.

The copyright symbol is not required to receive copyright protection, all content automatically receives copyright protection.

The copyright symbol is on the actual php code files anyways, the stuff which phpBB actually owns copyright of, not the content of the website the "© phpBB Group" is displayed on, so if anything I would argue that it is more confusing to someone who is aware of copyright (they may assume that "phpBB Group" owns the website, which it does not).

Also, I do not believe copyright pertains to company names, so I do not think that copyright alone can give you the ability to shut down other sites pretending to be from the phpBB Group (although trademark is another thing).

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Re: Simplify footer notice in prosilver

Post by Marshalrusty » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:49 am

The "Forum Software" was added to distinguish what exactly is powered by phpBB, as it otherwise sounds like we are the administrators of the site. In fact, the number of people contacting us with questions/complaints about 3rd party sites using phpBB (which is quite a lot) has considerably dropped off since the clarification was added.
KnocksX wrote:As for protecting the brand, filing UDRPs against the scammers that own phpbb.net and phpbb.org would go a much longer way than having extra words in the footer.
This makes it sound like you are confusing trademark and copyright?

Essentially, the footer as it currently exists combines the advice of our lawyers with a clear credit to the project as the maintainers of the forum software (and not the site or something else). I'm all for simplification, but in this case, what is says is exactly what it means to say.

On the other hand, if you are intimately familiar with UDRPs, then I would be interested in speaking with you.

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Re: Simplify footer notice in prosilver

Post by KnocksX » Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:59 pm

I surely get things mixed up occasionally, but copyright and trademark would be hard for me to confuse. The sentence you're quoting was a response to a person who suggested that the footer text was protecting the brand.

The lawyers who handled your trademark matters are incidentally just down the street from me. I'm sure they did a fine job with filing the trademark (it isn't an awfully complex job), but I disagree with their advice to place the copyright symbol and the words phpBB Group in the footer of other people's forums. That misleads visitors into thinking that the contents of sites published by other people are somehow copyrighted by phpBB Group, and if anything creates additional liability issues. In fact, that may be the very reason uneducated people are emailing phpBB with complaints about 3rd party forum contents--because phpBB claims it owns the contents.

Regarding the words "Forum Software," I just think it's a weaker marketing message and makes the branding less effective, if anything else. Who does the "powered by" message target? It targets aspiring forum owners or existing forum owners considering other packages. People who are looking at the footer to find out what powers it are usually smart enough to figure out what "powered by" means, especially if it comes with a link. I wouldn't enjoy WordPress nearly as much if their footer said "Proudly powered by WordPress blogging software and content management platform."

None of the above constitutes legal advice or establishes an attorney-client relationship, etc.

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imkingdavid
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Re: Simplify footer notice in prosilver

Post by imkingdavid » Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:18 pm

Placing the copyright/brand in the footer of distributed software is not uncommon. In fact, many software companies require their clients to pay an extra fee to legally be allowed to remove it.

Perhaps if it was just © phpBB Group then it would make it seem to some like every phpBB installation is copyrighted to the phpBB Group, but especially being coupled with "Powered by", I personally think that it adequately describes the situation: this section of the website you are on uses the phpBB Forum Software, which is copyright to the phpBB Group.

It does not appear to me to suggest that the website itself or any of its content is copyrighted to the phpBB group.
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Re: Simplify footer notice in prosilver

Post by Pony99CA » Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:23 pm

KnocksX wrote:In fact, that may be the very reason uneducated people are emailing phpBB with complaints about 3rd party forum contents--because phpBB claims it owns the contents.
Yuriy said that the wording change caused those complaints to drop off. I suspect that many of the remaining ones are sent because there's no simple link to contact the board owner, so people click the link that is there -- the "Powered by" link -- and complain at phpBB.com. If I'm correct, the Contact Page RFC should help a lot.

And, really, how many people look at the footer that often? I do it for two reasons -- to see what software a site is using and for a contact link if I need to contact the board owner. That usually happens once or twice when I first start using a site and then never again. I don't know that I've ever said, "Wow, that footer is too verbose or misleading."

Steve

P.S. On the other hand, I have laughed at sites with "Terms & Conditions" links in the footer where clicking the link says something like "Using this site means you accept these terms." Those seem completely unenforceable as there was no "meeting of the minds". (Note: I don't have a problem with Terms & Conditions links in the footer, but just so people can easily reference them, not because they carry any legal weight without explicit agreement.)

Fortunately phpBB doesn't have that -- you read the terms when you register (although guests don't have to, so there is a loophole). There was some discussion about this in the Legal Terms Changes RFC.
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Re: Simplify footer notice in prosilver

Post by ephemeraboy » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:02 am

I like
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
changed into
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group
My Idea, My Mind and My Continuation of The Dreams on
http://www.bonatius.com
An Industrial Engineer from Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB)

Marshalrusty
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Re: Simplify footer notice in prosilver

Post by Marshalrusty » Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:44 pm

ephemeraboy wrote:I like
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
changed into
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group
Do you mind justifying this position given what I said here?

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nextgen
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Re: Simplify footer notice in prosilver

Post by nextgen » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:07 pm

To my I like like this. :)

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group

There is no need to change it.
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Re: Simplify footer notice in prosilver

Post by KnocksX » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:28 pm

imkingdavid wrote:Placing the copyright/brand in the footer of distributed software is not uncommon. In fact, many software companies require their clients to pay an extra fee to legally be allowed to remove it.
Many software companies do a lot of stupid things--that doesn't make it a good business practice or that others should follow them. All original code is copyrighted, but that doesn't mean a copyright warning belongs on the products that the code powers. Putting a copyright notice at the bottom of another person's page is misleading and wrong.

Anyway, people are starting to get confused by this proposal because there are several ideas mixed in here. I proposed three things here:

1) Getting rid of the copyright portion of the notice, because it's misguided and incorrect; and

2) Simplifying the remaining portion for marketing reasons, the reason being that simple branding is more attractive and more effective.

3) The reason for 2) also applies to the registered trademark symbol. phpBB is a short word and looks better without it. Yes, phpBB is a registered trademark, but for some reason that hasn't stopped scammers from running sketchy sites like phpbb.org, etc. So a much better way to take advantage of your expensive trademark registration would be to file UDRPs against the owners of those domains. Having a trademark symbol because it looks pretty doesn't do anyone any good.

I can understand Marshalrusty's objection to part 2 if having the words "forum software" did in fact reduce the number of complaints from 3rd party site visitors. But I'm not sure the cause and effect are established here, because the copyright notice may very well be the culprit of people emailing phpBB with complaints. How many people do you think email WordPress with complaints about blog contents (unless it's hosted on a wordpress domain)?

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Re: Simplify footer notice in prosilver

Post by Marshalrusty » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:46 pm

KnocksX wrote:I can understand Marshalrusty's objection to part 2 if having the words "forum software" did in fact reduce the number of complaints from 3rd party site visitors. But I'm not sure the cause and effect are established here, because the copyright notice may very well be the culprit of people emailing phpBB with complaints. How many people do you think email WordPress with complaints about blog contents (unless it's hosted on a wordpress domain)?
People look for a "contact us" link, which is typically in the footer. They do not find one, but instead see a link to phpBB.com, which claims to "power" the site they wish to complain about. In fact, a variation of the word "power" appears in the first sentence of many emails sent in this regard. In fact, even our hosting company receives a fair bit of complaints about 3rd party websites running phpBB. As such, I would imagine that Wordpress has to deal with the exact same thing.

It is quite true that copyright and trademark is assigned automatically. Yet despite it being "optional", trademark registrations are at an all-time high and nearly everyone chooses to assert their rights in every way possible. The simple reasoning being that intellectual properly law is a complete mess with absolutely no clear and correct answers to anything. When "international" is mixed into the issue, the most concrete answer I've been able to get out of any lawyer (in different countries, mind) is "yeah, probably, maybe, hmm...". So to address the rest of your point, we are not going to be mavericks when it comes to this. It is just not worthwhile to continue spending time on this benign issue.
KnocksX wrote:So a much better way to take advantage of your expensive trademark registration would be to file UDRPs against the owners of those domains.
Yes, precisely.
Marshalrusty wrote:On the other hand, if you are intimately familiar with UDRPs, then I would be interested in speaking with you.

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