May 9, 2012
Well, if you've been checking out Misfit's Index of Viewers and the comments, you will have seen that the developer of the Cool VL Viewer, Henri Beauchamp, has taken issue with my non-inclusion of the word "Viewer" in the name of his viewer in the listing. In short, he demands that I use the complete name of the viewer or don't list it at all.
Obviously, I have issues with that. The Index is my work and nobody can tell me what to do with what I create. But, we live in a time of copyright trolls and litigation at the drop of a hat so I thought I'd cover my bases and talked with my advocate about this issue.
And what a meeting! We talked about a number of things and it was really positive, but here's what came about regarding this dispute.
When I explained to Henri Beauchamp that shortening the name for an unofficial list like this is a common practice, he responded by saying that people don't call the Tower of London anything else but that. Although, from what I understand, many people in London call it The Tower, but I could be wrong as confirmed by at least one commentor. More importantly, he used buildings as examples, not products. One of those apples and oranges situations.
Consider the two major beverage companies, Coca-cola and Pepsi-cola. When they first introduced their products to the general public, it wasn't long before people were calling the soft drinks Coke and Pepsi. Did the owners start demanding that people call the drinks by their full proper names? No, they didn't. Instead, they registered those shortened names as trademarks and brand names and took ownership. And so we have a precedent for the practice.
That brings us to another point. One that is extremely important. My advocate searched the US, Canadian and WIPO databases for a Cool VL Viewer trademark, brand name or copyright. He also searched for obvious variations, such as Cool Viewer and CoolVL, Cool VL, etc. None were found. This means that I am under no legal obligation to comply with Henri Beauchamp's demand.
Just to clear up any other potential legal issues, I receive no compensation for this. I make no guarantees of accuracy, though I will strive to keep the information as accurate and up to date as I can. I make absolutely no claims on any of the viewers. Misfit's Index of Viewers has no other purpose than to inform users of the features of the various viewers available so that they can make the best possible choice to meet their needs. Misfit's Index of Viewers is nothing more than an informal list created and maintained by a knowledgeable amateur.
Now, a little explanation for why I have laid out the MIV the way I did, which is a major factor in this issue.
When I began working on the Index, I had to make choices on how to organize it. That meant getting the priorities straight. The biggest priority is to include information in as much detail as possible, yet keep it balanced with conciseness and ease of understanding. Consider one of the entries I use, under the TP heading, which says "calls up World Map". "Opens World Map for teleporting" is certainly detailed and just as easy to understand, but it does take up a lot of space. The entry I have used is detailed, easy to understand and concise. That is why I have not used the word "Viewer" with all the viewer names. Not including the word saves space, which is a major factor of the layout. I'm also going to point out that each viewer does include "Viewer" as part of the name. This can be easily verified by visiting a viewer's home page. This also means that the entry for the Cool VL Viewer has been treated the same way as the other viewers.
That's another priority, to treat each viewer the same, without any bias. That is why I have not included any highlighting of various features. That is because different people have different needs. For me, a builder, having nanoprims to 3 decimal places and showing the build axis on the root prim are very important. But a machinamist will have lighting and shadows as their priority while scripters will want OSSL funcionality. That is why none of the entries are italicized, or bold or underlined. Besides, if I were to do so, that would turn the MIV into a consumer review, not a list. And that is all it is, an unofficial list of viewers and their features.
And when it comes to priorities, it seems to me that the average user will hold the features of a viewer as the higher priority over the name of the viewer. So, when it comes to the layout of the tables, space is given to the details of the features before it is given to the details of the names. If I enter the full and complete name of one viewer, I have to do it for all of them. And that entails a complete change to the layout.
Now we come to the personal issues that are involved.
The MIV is my creation. I do welcome and encourage input, both positive and negative. But, the layout, wording, prioritizing, everything is my decision and nobody else's. If anyone is going to demand that I change something I don't want to change, they will need to do one of two things. Convince me that it is a reasonable change. Or serve me with a court order.
I am sure that by now that you're getting an inkling of my decision about Henri Beachamp's demand. But to be absolutely clear about it …
I will not change Misfit's Index of Viewers except at my discretion.
This does not mean that I won't include the word "Viewer" as part of the names in the future. It does mean that such a change will happen only if the layout and priorities allow it, not because someone demands it.