A Failed Zcash Sticker Store Idea

The official Zcash Trademark Policy can be found here:

The TM policy itself is clearly written so I won’t be commenting further on this thread.

If you have questions regarding this policy I suggest contacting the Zcash Foundation directly.

contact@zfnd.org

CC @Alex_ZF @Dodger

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Hi @alexontelegram

Thank you for your perspective

Perhaps it is a good idea for the Zcash logo and software to be Trademarked. As you said, it’s meant to stop Zcash from splintering into a thousand little pieces and forks or other projects using Zcashs’ logo or name. Or malicious actors from hijacking Zcash.

Zcashs’ logo, name, software, code and other elements listed in the TM Policy should be protected.

That is of course reasonable.

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Fun thread to read.

It’s almost as if @JRGB could have just proceeded to ignore the TM and started selling their 250 stickers and probably never have heard a peep out of ECC for trademark infringement. :smirk:

250 stickers don’t really go a long way in terms of turning profit or being a good volume for marketing purposes.

I could go to moo.com, upload the Zcash logo and pocket 200 stickers myself for $30, stick them up around my city and maybe just confuse people with a logo they’ve never seen before.

It’s an interesting topic though.

IF there was the eventuality where Zcash was widely adopted as a payment method there would be thousands of business owners around the globe using (or misusing) the logo to say “We accept Zcash” or similar notes.

And really, I don’t think anyone promoting the use of the coin, no matter how much they bastardise the brand, will have the lawyers knocking on their door with a cease and desist.

The defence of the TM will be carefully chosen to target very specific cases because, well, legal fees. And the return needs to be worthwhile.

Shutting down a 250 sticker print run is not worthwhile. In fact, it’s probably cost ECC more money to have an employee read this thread than you’d make from selling 250 stickers.

You should’ve just sold the stickers. :joy:

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No, let’s not. I will come back to that tangent largely unrelated to Jay’s dilemma in a bit though, and harsh on you a bit later.

I’m sorry to hear that you think I was harshing on Jay, I wasn’t. I was merely being frank and methodically went through a few items of standar business practice as it may or may not have related to his really kewl endeavor.

By the way, the store is active and selling stickers now. Sadly, they’re NOT ZEC stickers, and that is arguably the foundation’s loss. But it’s good news for him and others in the cryptocurrency community, I’m very happy for him, and think we should all go and support him by making his store the first stop for lappy and fridge stickers :slight_smile:

Getting back where I left of with my first sentence, I don’t, and won’t, do Medium. That’s just not going to happen, IMNSHO it’s a great place to publish if you are NOT a FOSS proponent and endear yourself to predatory business practices by the likes of folks such as Twitter’s creator, Ev Williams. With Billions, comes a lot of influence to bury the general consensus of using copyright piracy to destroy the businesses you’ve destroyed through the embrace and execution of Evil.

I don’t know a single person from Hackernoon that will legitimize Medium with a visit, most FOSS and privacy advocates I know actively block it. There are plugins by the EFF to actively block it too.

Juxtaposing that in contrast with ECC’s mission to enable and promote privacy for everyone in commerce via FOSS, I feel it’s a gross irony to offer links there as well. So many good writers and small publishing companies had their business products litterally stolen or destroyed and are now defunct because of Williams’ insidious predatory business practices. I would have advised all of them, even prior to that, to self-host instead, whether they used proprietary closed source software or FOSS.

Graphic courtesy Terri DelCampo - from her article.

Nothing against whomever it was in this community that published the article you linked to, I’m quite aware that there are a myriad of considerations one makes when deciding on a platform to publish through, and also that most folks are completely unaware of the despicable and predatory practices that at least two of Williams’ privacy disrespecting monolithic silos continue to actively pursue. I’m sure I would really enjoy reading the article if ever it was to be published elsewhere.

Fortunately, I don’t need to read the article you linked to in order to respond accordingly. I think what you’re pointing out is basically apples and oranges.

Here’s the deal. First, Jay cited that indeed I did miss the main mark of his point, being that it was about a good guy, patriot if you will, expressing his patriotism for ZEC by going out of his way for the benefit of the community to help raise brand awareness of Zcash.

Such a good guy, that in his apparent naivety, he chose to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s and take it upon himself to contact the foundation for permission to use their registered service or trademark.

In defense of the foundation, they really had no choice but to offer him the licensing at their disposal at the time, once contact had been made. Let’s get this straight now, @JRGB is such a stand up guy that even after this thread had been posted, when asked if he could simply gift me a couple of stickers, he lamented that he could not even do that.

I thought that his response to my observations was well penned, and actually, even though I didn’t mention this to him, still feel that with a bit of retooling would provide some great discussion material as an Op-Ed article. I did let him know directly that I enjoyed reading it. He raised several significant points that I feel are worthy of contemplation, if not discussion and consideration.

The glaring hole in all of this, from my perspective, is that hiding behind the boilerplate license is kind of a dik move if you ask me, because he’s a small fry, just an all around advocate for ZEC who scraped up a few bucks that would never have generated any sort of relevant profit just to further the awareness and adoption of Zcash, and the foundation can at anytime, take it upon themselves to grant specific licenses whenever they choose to on an individual basis. But I won’t infer anything further than that. Jay was being a standup guy, still seeking only to do the right thing, when he said that since contacting them he can’t even give them away - those stickers are basically trash or duct tape I suppose.

Now, here’s where I harsh on you. I’d like to ask you not to take anything I say out of context in the future, twist my words, or materially misquote me. In other words, I’d appreciate it if you would refrain from putting words in my mouth:

That most certainly does not reflect what I said:

There’s a big difference between the substance of my words when you either

a.) purposefully omit the rest of the sentence, changing the context of what I was actually conveying, or

b.) conveniently neglect to include an ellipsis at the end (…) of my quoted text, when it was not the end of the sentence.

This is a big deal, and literally twists the meaning of what I actually said, which was NOT that he retain an attorney. To put it succinctly, just add the three little dots next time please, or lead with the ellipsis when the quote begins after the beginning of the sentence :wink:

Okay I’m done harshing on you Alex :slight_smile: No offense intended.

This isn’t about how much Jay or anyone else can make selling stickers as either a for profit business, as I interpreted you to mean, or a zealously enthusiastic proponent of Zcash who simply wants to contribute to the community through his own kindness.

It’s about how much someone stands to lose, if they proceed with a business process that runs afoul of many potential obstacles - in this case, it was the USPTO. The penalties can be steep.

Now, I’ve been in a similar situation a couple of times. Astonishingly enough, this is the gist of what two different attorneys related to me (paraphrased, with a little fiction, of course):

"Your just a minnow in the sea, pretty much insignificant in this undertaking no matter what you do, so just go ahead and print the stickers and sell them to your friends and stuff. Don't bother contacting them for a license if you don't want your signature on anything of theirs. If you run afoul of them for some reason, they'll simply send you a letter telling you to stop. If they do, then stop. No harm no foul. The problem though, is if you don't comply with their cease and desist letter, is you now get treated as one of the big boys, irrespective of the fact that you're not".

Once Jay actually contacted the foundation, it didn’t matter that he observed this same behavior by others that nothing is being done to. But it’s kinda just like if he had received the letter - so he’s not even at liberty to give away the stickers he printed up as a ZEC patriot.

There’s another way to look at this too, which might not be fair, but here it is anyway. The foundation is passively encouraging the co-opting of their service mark. The moment where everyone notices this “Emperor has no clothes” moment is when Jay asks something akin to, “What about all those other people out there getting all industrial and making serious cash with google ad-sense and faceplant ads and…?”

Okay now I’d like to get to the part about the DNS, domain registrations, and purchasing a registration with cryptocurrency - in the link above you say it’s (presumably shielded) ZEC. Since I haven’t read the article, and unless it’s posted elsewhere I won’t, I can only assume that it has something to do with anonymity and the registration of a domain name.

Now, I’ve been providing domain name registration services for more than three decades, longer actually than ICANN has been in existence. I worked on the development of OpenSRX and was one of the very first OpenSRS resellers when Tucows launched it under that moniker. prior to that, I ran my own registry software as a registry operator, and I’ve been doing DNS since 1985 when we first deployed it on the ARPANET/MILNET.

You can already get a domain registration under OpenTLD BV out of the Netherlands ‘delegated to you’ for free. Now, that’s a delegation or an ‘assignment’ as they call it, not an actual registration to you. Even then, this ‘assignment’ will require your serviceable contact information, just like a regular domain registration under any other domain according to ICANN’s rules. Those so-called assignments, are actually registered to OpenTLD (freenom), and then delegated to you, gratis, for SLDs under the .cf / .ga / .gq / .ml / and .tk TLDs.

It is conceivable that you can lie and say your name is Eddie Munster or Spongebob Squarepants, but the same serviceable contact information is required by Freenom as would be under ICANN any other domain registration. In this case, however, Freenom may not care what you put down for contact info even though their terms require that you put accurate information there. The actual registration of the domain itself is to them, i.e., the registrar themselves. This is in stark contrast to a regular registration where the domain is actually registered to you, and you affirm that your contact data is true and correct as per ICANN.

I’ve already mentioned privacy bureaus in my earlier post, that shield your identity through the use of an agent who can be served on your behalf. I myself accept Shielded ZEC, XLM, and a couple of other cryptocurrencies when someone registers a domain through me, but if someone provides bogus “Registrant” info I’ll delete their domain as soon as I find out, and do so regularly.

Back before ICANN was even a concept and Jon still ran IANA as a pseudonym for himself, by himself, in his office (No ARIN, no RIPE, no AFRINIC, etc.) those of us who were actual TLD registry operators would set our own policies regarding anonymity, but I’ve always required verifiable contact info for registrants. I was however, an early proponent for the use of “privacy bureaus” as I still call them, at the urging of Mikki Barry and Ellen Rony. Mikki still works as an attorney in data and privacy security out of the DC area to this day, and confided in me with some horrific particulars related to her personal experience as a stalker victim. That convinced me that I would never again be open to permitting anonymous domain registrations in the clearnet and so I supported adopt and help develop some of the first privacy bureaus.

Prior to that, I received a lot of hatemail for specifically disallowing any anonymous or unverifiable registrant contact information and fed it directly into my WHOIS databases.

Again, I haven’t read the article you linked to, but to me, there’s a huge difference between anonymity with respect to simple money transactions and actual publicly facing business operations. I advocate for the former and reject the latter.

If you’re truly interested in establishing a level of obfuscation approaching anonymity for online commerce I would recommend that you consider deploying services under the .ONION TLD. It enjoys official status with the IETF and is recognized by ICANN as such for about seven years now. Although it’s not an RFC, it does hold Draft RFC status that is current:
https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/rfc7686/

Setting up a .onion address is relatively simple. Whether you can get a merchant gateway to support transactions and how to do so would be another topic altogether, and out of scope for this forum which is focused on (Primarily Shielded) ZEC transactions, and that would be super easy to implement over a .onion TLD.

So for the tl;dr:

  • I didn’t feel I was being harsh toward Jay, I actually admired his initiative but pointed out some incongruencies as I saw them.

  • I did harsh on you, for taking what I said out of context. No offense intended.

  • AFAIC, no true advocates of privacy and intellectual property rights should ever publish, or patronize Medium, once they are apprised of just how evil it is. I recommend using the EFF plugin to block them.

  • Domain registrations are not anonymous and ZEC can be accepted by pretty much any online business who wants to (and they should).

  • To Approach maximum levels of privacy for online transactions as a merchant, combining Shielded ZEC with a .ONION address for the website is a good start. DNS itself and IP routing have other problematic issues beyond the scope of this forum that need to be addressed.

Graphic, courtesy Terri DelCampo - who wrote the article about her IP being stolen.

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Ok I have edited the post but I dont think I was taking your words out of context.

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all your comments and perspectives. I have been in contact with the ZF to see if there is a path for me to be able remain private and abide by the Trademark Policy. As I had anticipated, unfortunately there no solution. Probably never will be. The walls built are intentional.

I want to thank @Alex_ZF for the time and effort he put into this to try to find a solution.

I now have 250 Zcash stickers to give away. If anyone wants to get some stickers for free to hand out at a Zcash meetup, for a laptop or just to stick around town send a memo to

zs1cr9rqw2vv48y92kv2geu95g4n3njjls7qtf7c4fvqnucsgg6dzaf0jf07yhywlzvn79xzpayplv

or contact me on the Zcash community telegram.

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