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Opened 3 months ago

Closed 3 months ago

Last modified 3 months ago

#5939 closed enhancement (maybelater)

Plugin Directory: Trademark use of Meta

Reported by: Ipstenu Owned by:
Milestone: Priority: normal
Component: Plugin Directory Keywords: has-patch
Cc:

Description

Facebook is changing (has changed) their name to META. Like as not, they'll want us to prevent misuse.

This is somewhat problematic for a number of reasons, but generally because of the existing prevalent use of the term: Meta data, meta box, etc etc.

Adding in a block to plugin names for 'meta-' is easy, but the implications are greater since we would block people who want to name a plugin "Meta Data Designer" (which is a totally valid name).

On the one hand, while names like "Meta Data Designer" make sense, they aren't very good names. They are, as Otto would point out, a description more than a name.

On the other hand, naming things is hard! Frustrating well-meaning users in this manner is not kind of us, and may create anger in the developer community.

My gut says that we should block meta- and go no further, allowing people to use metabox, metadata, etc without question. It's simply too generic to properly manage.

Yes, this puts us under the 8-ball if Facebook gets mad, but I can't think of a perfect solution.

Attachments (2)

5939.diff (6.4 KB) - added by Ipstenu 3 months ago.
5939.2.diff (6.4 KB) - added by Ipstenu 3 months ago.

Download all attachments as: .zip

Change History (12)

@Ipstenu
3 months ago

#1 @sippis
3 months ago

Is the name change to Meta already approved by officials? Does it need to be approved by some other party than some US agency, like the EU? I'd expect some opposition to raise as like Ipstenu said, the new name is somewhat problematic, also outside the WordPress scene.

If the name change has not been yet approved by officials, can we put a hold on this and wait for the final verdict?

#2 @tobifjellner
3 months ago

Perhaps might be good to pre-emptively also block "metaverse"?

#3 @jorbin
3 months ago

Should this trac also be renamed?

#4 follow-up: @Ipstenu
3 months ago

@sippis I'm not a lawyer. Don't pretend to be one. My concern with waiting is that we may end up with a bunch of new plugins we have to close, since we have an established precedent of protecting trademarks and known-used-names. By that I mean we have some terms/names we block use of even without a trademark, as a sort of good-faith hand to smaller development groups. That may bite us in the butt.

On the flip side, we do have the ability to 'fix' a permalink and give it 'meta-' as a term during the review, so this is more an 'err on the side of caution' move to protect ourselves.

@tobifjellner Good call. :(

@jorbin I actually had a good giggle when I was making the ticket because of that.

@Ipstenu
3 months ago

#5 in reply to: ↑ 4 @sippis
3 months ago

Replying to Ipstenu:

@sippis I'm not a lawyer. Don't pretend to be one. My concern with waiting is that we may end up with a bunch of new plugins we have to close, since we have an established precedent of protecting trademarks and known-used-names. By that I mean we have some terms/names we block use of even without a trademark, as a sort of good-faith hand to smaller development groups. That may bite us in the butt.

On the flip side, we do have the ability to 'fix' a permalink and give it 'meta-' as a term during the review, so this is more an 'err on the side of caution' move to protect ourselves.

Not trying to pretend anything 🙅‍♂️ Just asking simply because of the problematics presented. Trying to figure out if there's a possibility, that this name change might not happen after all and we'd blocked the usage of "meta" unnecessarily. Ok well, in that case it's pretty easy to just revoke this change.

Your concern with waiting and the point of protecting ourselves are valid.

In any case, not against this and I do trust the Plugins team judgment. Just tried to provide some thoughts on this one.

Last edited 3 months ago by sippis (previous) (diff)

#6 @Ipstenu
3 months ago

Oh the lawyer comment is for everyone who's going to grab my comments here and put them in ill-advised blog posts about proof... of something. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

that this name change might not happen after all and we'd blocked the usage of "meta" unnecessarily

Very valid! Unlikely, given the press and my personal experience with the quality of their legal team (whom I cannot fathom wouldn't have done the legwork to ensure this was okay). But thankfully super easy to roll back as you noted.

#7 @Otto42
3 months ago

I suggest wontfix for this. The word meta is not trademarked afaik, and something we've used with its actual definition for many years. We're not going to stop using it, nor enforce their bad decisions for them.

If they have a problem with it, then Facebook can get stuffed. Just my 2¢.

#8 @Otto42
3 months ago

  • Resolution set to maybelater
  • Status changed from new to closed

Because of the fact that this is an existing word and we have not gotten any actual lawyer letters about it yet, I don't see the need for pre emptive action.

Until we actually need to do something, let's not anticipate trademark things.

Last edited 3 months ago by Otto42 (previous) (diff)

This ticket was mentioned in Slack in #core by joyously. View the logs.


3 months ago

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