Tuesday, February 26, 2013

PDA 1, ronfstop 0 (rant follows)

Stand by for a rant.

After several weeks of dithering about whether to grant me a trademark license for my "Regular Customer" book, the PDA agreed that they would consider granting me a no-cost, no-royalty license for a first printing of my book.  (Good)

However, they have to take that proposal to a subcommittee (are you beginning to get nervous) for approval.  (Bad)

Then, if the subcommittee approves they must take it to their full governing council (are you more nervous yet) for approval next month.  (Badder)

After I retired from a prominent aerospace company formerly headquartered in Seattle I was cheerful at the prospect of never again dealing with a bureaucracy larded up with one-size-fits-all policies. (sigh).  Is this really an issue that should take up the time of their entire governing council?

Moreover, the  fine print tells me that, if the license is granted, I have to indemnify the PDA to the tune of $1,000,000 (count the zeros, that's right: 6 of 'em) in case (and I quote) somebody gets hurt in any way related to the book or sues the PDA in any way related to the book. Since there is no time limit I would be required to maintain the liability insurance, well, forever.  (Baddest)

Having looked up the "fair and nominative use" clause in the trademark law I proposed to my buds at the PDA that the book is clearly a fair use and doesn't require a license anyway.  All they have to do is send me a letter saying that they agree.  Considering the track record I suspect it is not a good idea to go forward without their agreeing unless I am prepared to engage an very expensive intellectual property attorney to go to court for me when they sue.

I have no idea how this will fly even though I know that somewhere in their den there is a person with the authority to say "yes." (But, again like the prominent aerospace company, it takes a whole gob of bureaucrats to say "yes" but only one to say "no".)

Plan B is to go through the text of the book and replace all offending phrases with neutral terms:  "Pike Place Market" == "Seattle's downtown farmer's market" and the like.  Then I don't need a license, they have no exposure to liability and I press on.

On a lighter note, the final edit of the book is going very well.  I'm over halfway through it and it's looking good.


  1. i cannot busk at the pike place market, because of a PDA decree that no busking shall be done at the pike place market using instruments made out of brass... yes, that includes saxophones. 8/

    apparently, some time ago, there was a REALLY BAD busker who played trumpet and wouldn't stop... instead of banning playing in certain areas, or by certain people, the PDA decided to ban ALL instruments made outta brass.

    which, of course, means that if you play horrendous fiddle, or awful clarinet you're okay, but if you play a brass instrument REALLY WELL and can control the volume to quieter than most people can THINK, you might as well forget about it, because you play one of the BANNED instruments... 8/

    it's okay, though... you can busk with whatever you like in the park at the north end of the market, and there's nothing the PDA can do about it.

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    Consumer Product Licensing & Event Merchandising