Yahoo for terms of service (now with edits)

Because, as you know, everything on the Internet containing the words “stitch” and “bitch” is bound to be an infringement of the US-registered STITCH & BITCH CAFE trademark (yes, that’s sarcasm) and no ISP wants to get blamed for it, Yahoo! has asked some stitching and bitching group owners to change their names pursuant to Yahoo’s terms of service.

More ranting on LJ, but keep in mind that Deb Stoller does not have a trademark registration although she might arguably have common law rights in STITCH ‘N BITCH. Anyway, advising everyone to use “Stitch ‘n Bitch” in a group name on the assumption that it’s Deb Stoller’s trademark… (a) doesn’t protect you from the depredations of a certain other trademark owner–if that owner sees no difference between “&” and “and”, then why would it see a difference between “&” and “‘n”? and (b), seems to assume that in the event Stoller has rights in that name, she would be willing to have its distinctiveness frittered away by sales of t-shirts, etc. Maybe she is, and maybe she’s licensing all these groups. I don’t know.

This recent activity strangely coincides with Stoller’s Monday deadline to file a response with the USPTO about the non-registrability of her trademarks (due to confusion with STITCH & BITCH CAFE, as you might recall). If she misses it, that’s okay, a response can be filed a bit late, although the USPTO database may show her application as “dead” in the meantime.

The prior history, in reverse chron: here, here, here (just a little background info), here, here, and finally here.

Wow, that’s a lot. The “useful arts” category was supposed to be about craft-related patents. I need to make up a new category.

Edit: A missive from Deb Stoller to all those affected is reproduced here, as well as in the comments to this post. She’s recommending the prefix SNB. This reminds me of the time that an agent of the LSD made the amusing claim that even using the intials AS was somehow an incursion into A Somebody’s trademark rights.

Oh, and the forum on SFSE’s website now has a section where individuals can help each other find a SNB group. The heading: “Stitch and Bitch Group” and the description, “If you want to find a group, post here.” Currently no posts. Is this a way for SFSE to find other unsuitably-named groups?

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8 Responses to Yahoo for terms of service (now with edits)

  1. j. says:

    Because of an excess of spam, I’ve closed comments on this post. If you have a comment to leave please find another, more recent post in the stitch v bitch category and leave your comment there.

  2. george says:

    The term “stitch ‘n bitch” has been around many a year, long before Sew Fast So Easy came up with the stitch ‘n bitch “cafe”. The domain name is up for sale on ebay right now and I invite anyone to make a bid and use the domain freely. I have found hundreds of stitch ‘n bitch sites, groups and blogs on the net. I wonder if she intends to move her wrath over the web to anyone group or peson attempting to use the term. I blame Yahoo.

  3. Marissa says:

    I wasn’t given any notice and yahoo just deleted our group, just like that. So I’m pretty pissed. And the name of our group was SNB Western ‘burbs. I wish there was a class action lawsuit pending or something. Stupid Yahoo!

  4. Elabeth says:

    The SFSE “Find A Stitch And Bitch” area has nothing but angry remarks. They seem to be leaving everything there so far unless you include a url pointing to or your yahoo group. If you do that they’ll go in and edit your post so that the url points back to their “stitch and bitch cafe”. (as though that isn’t obviously tampered with. geez)

  5. Zabet says:

    We got the “nastygram” as well. However, our official Yahoo!Group(tm) name is SNB-Lex. So it’s likely that using “SNB” won’t protect you. In the interim, we’ve changed our name to “Sew-Fast-Sew-Easy-Kiss-Our-Butt”. Granted, it’s not mature, and it probably falls into the same infringement category, but why call yourself a Bitch if you’re aren’t going to act like one?

    Should Debbie be allowed to trademark SNB? I don’t know enough law to comment. But according to the Red Hat eligible contingent in our group, the term has been around for decades. How long has SNB Cafe been around, I wonder?

  6. Jenifer says:

    I was the recipient of a nastygram by Yahoo, and how did I miss this whole story unfolding??? Thanks for the links! We changed our name to SNB. Hopefully SNB won’t be copyrighted by Sew Crass/Sew Sleazy as well.

  7. Elabeth says:

    I run the Arkansas Stitch N Bitch Yahoo Group. Debbie sent the following email to all the groups suggesting we use SNB then the state or city etc. Yahoo doesn’t seem to care one way or the other. They’ll just delete everything to keep themselves out of the fray. I contacted SFSE asking if we could put a disclaimer on our main page saying we are not affiliated with them and provide a link to their site for in case anyone WAS confused as to what we’re about. They weren’t receptive to that idea either.

    Dear Stitchers ‘n Bitchers:

    It has come to my attention that the moderators of a number of Stitch ‘n
    Bitch groups who host their mailing lists using Yahoo Groups’ free mailing
    list services have received notices from Yahoo advising them that they must
    delete the wording STITCH N BITCH from their Yahoo!Group URL and any
    references to STITCH N BITCH in the GROUP itself. This notice is a result of
    a objection filed by Sew Fast Sew Easy Inc., a New York company, who is
    claiming rights to this wording.

    A number of you have been emailing me asking what to do. I have spoken about
    this matter with my attorneys. First of all, please realize that you are not
    being asked in this notice to change the name of your actual knitting group,
    just the group designation you use on the Yahoo group and Yahoo URL, if you
    want to keep using their free email services. Unfortunately, there is no
    immediate recourse with Yahoo other than to make the change at this time.
    They require this as soon as anybody makes any kind of claim–they do not
    evaluate the merits of the claim. This being the case, one idea is to simply
    change any references to STITCH n BITCH in your Yahoo Group name to some
    alternative such as SNB (i.e, StitchnBitch-NYC would become SNB-NYC. Easier
    to type, too!) Your group moderator can easily make this change via the
    Yahoogroups control panel.

    I know how much we value these lists as a way to communicate with our
    groups, and I think we should all try to avoid the possible loss of our
    group lists if Yahoo proceeds with a shut down. Also, I’d like you to remind
    you that the group moderator can export the members list at any time (just
    go to “members” then “export”), and save it somewhere special.

    Finally, if you decide to change your Yahoo Groups name or move your list,
    please be sure to have some one from your group let Brenda know so she can
    change it on her site.


    Debbie Stoller

  8. Janice in Ga says:

    Hmmm..I suppose just SnB would be a little too uninformative though, huh.