This morning on @bbcbreakfast (8.20am), the story was broadcast re Mark Coop’s (successful, so far) attempt to trademark ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ within the EU (as applied to the items he sells: t-shirts, mugs, etc.).
Mark Cooper owns keepcalmandcarryon.com, which as you can see has capitalised hugely on the slogan:
On TV this morning he said:
Having quit the day job, and put my life and soul into this, and build it up, and then rely on it for my livelihood, I have to protect my own interests, you know, and faced with the risk of losing everything that you’ve worked for, I’d find it hard that other people wouldn’t do the same thing.
Apparently someone has to provide “evidence of use”…. He then said, and the bit that gets to me:
Had I not built this up, they probably would have never have heard of it, you know, they would never have, you know, even seen it, so I think they are jumping on the back of essentially what I came up with
Note that even on his site (yes, he was the first to register the domain name, and that’s his entrepreneurialism…), he (has had to) recognise that the history of it is taken from my 1997 undergraduate dissertation (and I then wrote more on it in my PhD, which I have made available under Creative Commons attribution licence):
Now bring into the argument that Barter Books were the ones to ‘discover’ the poster in a box in 2000, starting the first reprints in 2001, and the first to start producing facsimile posters/t-shirts, etc., and that (as far as I am aware) Mark Coop doesn’t own an original of the poster:
Keepcalmandcarryon.com for years carried the information that I had written for my dissertation on the site with no credit, but Barter Books have always credited my information:
Note that this information emerged from several years of research, which have involved my research time, my intellectual capacity (such as it may be), and costs for e.g. travel to the archives/photocopies/laptop to record data/web hosting costs, etc. (believe me research is not cheap, and is usually only repaid in terms of ‘reputation building’ which creates job opportunities). I have been featured in a number of press articles talking about the poster, but have not sought to capitalise financially upon this (although any items with the slogan or derivatives upon it welcomed for my collection!!), although I thought about a t-shirt/hoodie with the history written on the back. This is partly because I DON’T own an original of the poster, and am unclear about the legal status of the design. The design is Crown Copyright, which only lasts for 50 years (the @I_W_M administers this, so could tell us more), but as I understand it, you need an original to produce copies (the parodies are another matter)…
Morally and ethically, however, I think this stinks, big time.. as noted by the New York Times!! There are people with a much better claim to trademarking this, including the IWM, Barter Books, and me, but I, at least, am far too interested in the story!! We’re in a Web 2.0 world, where collaboration, acknowledgement, etc. are all-important, and this flies in the face of all this…
To note also… the Wikipedia page on this… which took me four attempts to register any information. Someone else (one of the newspapers… see also Nigel Rees used my information without attribution), had taken my information (one of the times I’m thankful to the Daily Express for alerting me) without credit, and I had to delve in amongst my research for ‘new’ information (I think I may have some more, but I need to earn a living (@bigbible @digitalfprint, @blwinch), so this gets a little neglected…
My Twitter and my Facebook has certainly been busy with people contacting me this morning, and #Keepcalmandcarryon and ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ are both quite busy!
Wonder what else I’ll think of to post, as soon as this blog post goes live… comments welcomed, people!!
Mass Communications Academic, @MMUBS. British Home Front Propaganda posters as researched for a PhD completed 2004. In 1997, unwittingly wrote the first history of the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, which she now follows with interest.