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Family Trying To Claim Ownership Of 'Urban Homesteading' Caught Plagiarizing After Moralizing On Plagiarism

from the is-that-a-petard-i-see? dept

We recently mentioned the Dervaes Family, and its quixotic attempt to trademark “urban homesteading” and to get people to stop using the descriptive and generic phrase. The family has been lashing out (somewhat comically) on their blog, including a recent post by Justin Dervaes about plagiarism (which, it should be noted is an entirely different issue than trademark infringement — though it’s not clear the Dervaes understand this).

Either way, you had to know what was coming up next. Cathy Gellis points us to a report claiming that the Dervaes family blog plagiarized a number of items from another garden blogger, who methodically presents a variety of evidence to bolster his claim. He’s now asking the family for royalties (including late fees). Of course, I find it pretty silly (and kind of petty) to ask for royalties in such a situation, but you have to admit it looks even worse for the family to be moralizing about plagiarism while doing it themselves.

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Comments on “Family Trying To Claim Ownership Of 'Urban Homesteading' Caught Plagiarizing After Moralizing On Plagiarism”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Church's Law

Just ask the CRIA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Recording_Industry_Association#Legal_actions

That they failed to seek proper licensing and distribution agreements with the creators of the aforementioned works, instead placing the works on what is colloquially referred to as a “pending list” (i.e., any payments to be made for the use of the aforementioned works are reserved, pending an agreement with the artists who created the works).

Jackie (profile) says:

Can't plagarize book titles

Book titles aren’t copyrightable. Phrases short enough to be book titles aren’t copyrightable.

Look up ‘Urban Homesteading’ by the Urban National Coalition, published in 1974. Earliest use of the phrase in a book that I found by looking at the first page of the retrieval of books on google was ‘A treatise on homestead and exemption laws’ – 1878.

So much for the claims of modern plaintiffs.

Jackie (profile) says:

Can't trademark common terms...

They can’t trademark it. It’s a commonly used term.
See the “…treatise…” book first published in 1878.

Just because they may have been issued a trademark doesn’t mean it’s defensible. Trademarks are not examined before issue and no determination is made as to the validity of the claimant’s claim. That comes later.

The form they probably filed with Facebook is…Notice of Intellectual Property Infringement (Non-Copyright Claim).

There are several groups using the term and/or title “Urban Homesteading” on Facebook today. I guess it took a short time for the Facebook IP team to weigh in on the subject.

Jnevill (profile) says:

What makes a trademark?

When reading through the article mentioned above, I started thinking about the term urban homesteading, that they’ve claimed to trademark.

This term has been used since the 70’s to describe government programs, which seems to me like their trademark would be BS.

Check out Google’s ngram viewer (that search their huge books library for terms):


Irina (user link) says:

Urban Homesteading Trademark

Dervaes harmed people when they ordered to shut down our Facebook pages. Our local farmers market in Denver still suffers because our farmers lost their contacts with 2200 customers. Dervaes claims are completely unlawful and they don’t own the phrase “urban homesteading” because they registered only in Supplemental Register. We explain it on our new website that we created to provide public with informtation regarding this trademark issue. Our goal is to cancel this unwanted trademark. Let’s do it together – http://www.denverurbanhomesteading.org

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