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News - December 1996

Southern Calif. Gay Wired vs. Wired Magazine - "David vs. Goliath?"

In a move that may prove to send shock waves throughout the online Internet community, Wired Ventures, parent company of Wired Magazine and their online website, Hotwired, are legally threatening Southern California Gay Wired, an online website dedicated to providing information, products and services to the gay and lesbian community, to immediately cease using the name "Wired" on their website business. They believe that they have exclusive rights to the word "Wired" pertaining to a website providing information online, and as such, feel that they are justified in bullying Southern California Gay Wired (http://www.gaywired.com/) into changing their name.

By pursuing Southern California Gay Wired, they have opened a whole "Pandora's Box" of issues pertaining both to the worldwide Gay and Lesbian community, and to the Internet business community at large.

The concern by the Gay and Lesbian community is that Southern California Gay Wired has uncovered and contacted over 120 different organizations using some form of the word "Wired" in their online Internet business name, and from all the responses they have received from these organizations, Southern California Gay Wired is the only organization being pursued. Why is unclear at this time, but it is definitely a cause for concern.

For the Internet business community, the idea that the word Wired, used so often and so generically online and in thousands of print magazine and newspaper stories can be considered the intellectual property of just one company is ludicrous, to say the least. It has the same general meaning as the words "Web" and "Net" and on the Internet, you will find many, many business names utilizing these combinations of words. Businesses using the word "Wired" are just as varied, including everything from Hollywood Wired to AT&T's UnWired, as well as a whole host of others, like Alive Wired - Arts and Entertainment of Columbus Ohio, Financially Wired, Audio Wired, Wired Law and Virtually Wired, just to name a few. To date, none of these companies have been pursued!

The use of the word "Wired" in general use is much more widespread, and has been used with the general meaning of a "community, businessor individual connecting to the Internet." Examples are numerous, coming from sources such as the US News and World Report article about "Getting Wired" (July 8, 1996 - P. 66), US News and World Report article titled "Monticello, Wired" (May 13, 1996), Internet World "As the world becomes wired, . . . ." (June 1996, P. 30), and even Wired Magazine itself, in an article entitled "Why They'd Get Wired", showing a chart about the top 10 reasons a person would connect to the Internet. And this list goes on!

Is this a case of "David and Goliath?" It seems to be! The legal precedence set forth if Southern California Gay Wired is sued and beaten in court would be that Wired Magazine would have absolute impunity in pursuing the rest of the users of the word "Wired" with a vengeance. Whether this is the case, or if they have simply selected Southern California Gay Wired for other reasons, remains unclear at this point. What is crystal clear, however, is that Wired Ventures wants the word "Wired" for its own, private business use, and may stop at nothing to achieve this!

©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.