There's a legal battle brewing over the fuckingmachines.com domain. The robophilia site is one of many fetish domains managed by alt-porn company Kink.com (formerly Cybernet Entertainment LLC).
I've visited the studio where this site and other Kink.com properties are produced, and met some of the folks behind it (and in front of it, and on top of it, and -- ok ok sorry). They're the most health/safety-conscious porn biz people I've ever met, and many of the employees are very friendly, geeky hacker/maker/ex-dotcom folk. It's a cool space, and by all appearances, one of the most responsibly-run adult entertainment companies around.
Anyway, fuckingmachines launched in 2000. Five years later, the company behind it asked the United States Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the word "fuckingmachines," to protect their IP rights. According to a feature in the Orlando Weekly....
Cybernet’s request met the government’s most preliminary standard: No one else was using the word “fuckingmachines.” But it didn’t clear another, more important hurdle: The patent office believes the word “fuck” is “scandalous,” and won’t allow Cybernet owner Peter Acworth to trademark it, or any variation of it.
“Registration is refused because the proposed mark consists of or comprises immoral or scandalous matter,” wrote Michael Engel, the attorney who reviewed the case for the government. “The term ‘fucking’ is an offensive and vulgar reference to the act of sex. … A mark that is deemed scandalous ... is not registrable.”
In other words, the federal government decides which words are and are not scandalous, and “fuck” falls on the immoral side of that divide. It’s been that way since 1905, according to documents included in Cybernet’s trademark application case, when federal guidelines for trademarks were first spelled out. Times may have changed, but the trademark office’s standards haven’t.
(thanks, Susannah Breslin, via daze reader
Images: coupla phonecam snapshots I took on the kink.com set last year.
Related BB posts:
(NPR) Tech and Porn collide in Vegas
(NPR) Larry Flynt and Online Porn Crackdown
Reader comment: Marc J. Randazza says,
Here is a PDF link to the actual legal arguments in the case.
Enjoy Michael Mullany’s review of the Gartner Hype Cycle, with all the things tech predictors got right and all the things they got wrong: “we’re terrible at making predictions.” Lesson 6: Some technologies keep receding into the future There are some notable technologies that recur on the Hype Cycle and every time they appear they […]
Why we secretly love our cords. Tamara Warren: There’s a certain security in the cord. It’s the idea of connection, perhaps even dating back to our days in the womb. … A battery, no matter how sophisticated, is fleeting. When we have our cords with us, we are in constant pursuit of power, even when […]
The classic beatbox – not an expensive clone or a collection of cleverly-tweaked samples – is back. Roland’s TR-08 directly models the original machine’s analog circuits to recreate its sound as accurately as possible with modern digital technology, and joins revived versions of the TR-909[Amazon] and TB-202[Amazon] in the company’s lineup of boutique boxes. The […]
The Pry.Me Bottle Opener holds tens of thousands of times its own weight, and you can pick one up now from the Boing Boing Store.This remarkable keychain is considerably smaller than any of your keys, but don’t let that fool you: it can easily open any bottle, and could even tow a trailer full of […]
Guaranteeing your privacy online goes way beyond checking the “Do Not Track” option in your browser’s settings. To ensure that your internet activity is totally hidden from Internet Service Providers, advertisers, and other prying eyes, take a look at Windscribe’s VPN protection. It usually costs $7.50 per month, but you can get a 3-year subscription […]
This project management bundle will help you get organized and learn how to lead a team to success. You can pay what you want for these five courses when you pick them up from the Boing Boing Store.To help you become an invaluable asset for your company, this bundle includes a curated collection of professional […]