If you’re just arriving, there have been some new developments since we posted this. They’re explained in the following two posts:
They posted to their own site yesterday under the title “About Our Name,” then pulled the post off again. Since that explanation — that lived so briefly — was the only response to our emailed inquiry, we went ahead and examined it. Much of it was either untrue or strangely argued. Read The Name Problem, Part II
This morning they posted new and different text under the same title, “About Our Name.” It is still strangely argued, but now they are claiming that we’ve “graciously agreed” to something. This is impossible, since we’ve had no contact with them at all, and certainly haven’t agreed to anything, graciously or not. Read The Name Problem, Part III
In May we named our show “Open Source” and we named our non-profit production company “Open Source Media.” In fact, this used to be our URL until we decide to scrap the “net” and look for an “org.” But here’s the actual legal-type description of what we are:
A joint production of Open Source Media Inc. and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Open Source is presented by WGBH Radio Boston and distributed by Public Radio International (PRI).
What this means is that we are seven people in a rented office with, incidentally, a rather bold mouse who does not yet have a name. We make a radio show four times a week that uses bloggers as local and topical experts; this show is distributed to public radio stations by Public Radio International, and to truckers and early adopters by XM satellite radio.
So this morning I got an email from a listener with the following subject header:
did someone steal your name?
Hm. A company that used to call itself Pajamas Media now calls itself Open Source Media, which is — scroll down to our legal notice — kind of exactly what we call ourselves. They’ve collected $3.5 million in venture capital, and, to celebrate their re-naming of our already-named name, they’re holding an event at the Rainbow Room.
So what to do. A couple of blogs — Atrios, Stephen den Beste, Dennis the Peasant, Begging to Differ, Homocon — have picked up on this already, unprompted, perhaps because if you Google “open source media”, we’re the third result. Presumably the new “Open Source Media” Googled their new name before they settled on it?
Don’t get us wrong; we didn’t invent the idea of working with bloggers to make media, we certainly didn’t invent the concept “open source,” and there’s plenty of room for everyone to do what we’ve been doing. But they chose the same name that we established in May and, seeing as how we work in the same industry, people might find that a little confusing. And that has us puzzled.
The Talent Show and Daily Kos point out that the original idea behind “open source” — the software concept, not the radio show — was that you borrow from the work of others, then release your own work back out to be borrowed in turn. To that end, we made a priority from the very beginning of putting a Creative Commons license on our site and all of the mp3 files of our broadcasts.