November 18, 2005


Some of my readers may be aware of the fact that Charles Johnson of LGF and Roger Simon founded and launched a supposedly new, interactive media outlet, made of some 70 associated bloggers (and quite a few big names among them) with the clear intention of challenging the MainStream Media, and making lots of money in the process. This enterprise was called Pajamas Media, and on the day of its official launch in New York it was re-named Open Source Media. I never mentioned it before, because my interest in this whole thing is next to nothing. I am in no way part of PJM or OSM, just for clarity.

Something was already happening under the surface - like a superheated liquid just waiting for a tiny perturbation to erupt into boiling (also check earlier entries on Chizumatic). But things took a morbidly interesting turn on Nov 17th, the day after OSM's launch.

To put it bluntly (English style), those two chaps Charles and Roger totally cocked up, and chose a name for their enterprise that was already taken - entering a trademark infringement issue.
My knowledge of business is very scarce, but in chemical engineering this would be pretty much like designing and using a plant that is an almost exact copy of a patented one, and thus ending up with a patent infringement case.

Now, Charles is the guy who gave a determinant contribution to exposing CBS's fake TANG memo, and justly grilled Rather and Mapes, the "journalists" responsible for that mess. But now that his own company is a mess, what is he (well, the whole OSM staff) doing? Releasing lame-ass explanation and excuses. And even worse, editing these documents after they have been published on the website, in what is also known as "rewriting history", a sin that was believed to be exclusive of the MSM.

Steved says: "Charles Johnson, why are you acting like Dan Rather?"
And Dennis adds: "We'll just say Radio Open Source gave us permission..."

No matter how you try to spin or explain it away, this trademark thing is large-scale, Nimitz-class screwup. Why can't the folks at OSM just be upfront about it, admit they made a mistake and try to fix it? Isn't this how it is supposed to work in the untarnished world of blogs? (But probably admitting that they didn't even do a trademark search would cast them as unrealiable amateurs in the eyes of their potential advertisers).

I'm watching in morbid fascination, like it were the fresh wreckage of a train crash (and I've seen firsthand the wrecakge of a real, big, trainwreck). I'm also afraid that a failure of this blog-media will send powerful shockwaves around the blogosphere.

At Dennis's place I predicted the "OMS Screwup" will be a big thing, and indeed at 00:35 GMT of 19 November 2005, OSM is at the 6th place of Technorati Top Searches.

Update 19/11, 00:56 GMT: Gawd, this post already got 4 (possibly even more) hits. I suspect I opened the classical Can Of Worms - using an angle grinder.

Update 19/11, afternoon: SDB linked me, and I got almost 200 visits today (also M&A linked to my previous article). One of these is from "Palestinian Territory, Occupied", ISP Palestine Telecommunications Company. And how did he (I suppose) arrive here? Well, Googling in Arabic for Chiaki Kuriyama...


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