Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Unintellectual Property Theft

or: Come Up With Your Own Name, Dammit

See, here's the thing: I first became active on the Internet back in 1993, when I was a Physics student at university. At the time, there was no Interweb, or at least we people in Oz only had the "must know how to use computers to use it" version of the net: FTP, TELNET, and all those wonderful things that took three hours to do anything with.

It was fun, it was a new way of communicating, and back then the content was 90% good stuff and 10% shite (or thereabouts... these figures weren't arrived at by scientific analysis). Anyway, everyone had a nick(name), or two. I had two, and they were unique (yes, I'm aware of the inherent irony that could be derived from that sentence).

I was the only person known as Goldenmane, and the only person known as Shadowstreak. (Hey, I was in my teen angst phase. I came into it late. They were names for 'personalities' that reflected my mood at the given time. I'm not going to explain the nauseatingly trite division between them. Stay on track.)

So, I've been Goldenmane and/or Shadowstreak since 1993.

I've taken a couple of sabbaticals from teh Interw3b over the years. And every time I've done so, I've come back and there's been new software. Online stuff. Like MSN, or Yahoo, or Blogger... and, let me make my point entirely clear: every time I try to register as Goldenmane or Shadowstreak, some other fucker seems to have done so first.

Okay, I don't remember ever trying to register on Yahoo, but nevermind.

Now, obviously this could be seen as rather a juvenile thing to bitch about. It really isn't, though. Breakthrough media, first on scene, nom de plume... I was here first, dammit, with those names, and a whole bunch of fuckers have seen fit to steal them. A great deal of stuff that has seen light on the web is archived or otherwise preserved in strange little corners, including in wetware.

I've written some contentious stuff over the years, some of which I would now look back on and recognise as not representative of my current thoughts; what the hell, every writer has their juvenilia, so why be ashamed of mine? But some of it was good, and none of it I'm ashamed of. Much of it was "published" under an online nickname, and that is what is pissing me off.

I sound like grandad on the back verandah, but back in the day we would never have used a name that someone else had been identified with to identify ourself. I would never have called myself George Orwell, Raoul Duke, HPL, or whatever. I'd have tried to be original, and frankly it ain't that hard to find out if you're the original or a copy.

Unless someone can provide some evidence to contradict my claim that I was (and remain) the owner of the non de plumes (or nom de nets?) that I came up with, I remain snarlingly disgruntled over people stealing them. Get your own fucking name.

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