UPDATED, 10:50 P.M. Those dingbat Dervaeses won't give up. Rather than take their licking and apologize to the authors, bloggers, and libraries who dared use the term "urban homestead" or "urban homesteading," they're still blogging and trying to justify the unjustifiable: the cutthroat capitalism that the supposedly progressive family is employing.
They've gone as far as to sanctimoniously lecture the world on their website (you'll have to look it up, because no way in hell I'm linking to them) since the controversy broke about the intricacies of trademark law to, as they put it, "cut through the mob of misinformation...of course, urban homesteading is 'old' but we used it in a new and unique way and that is what is registered."
Actually, no. The Dervaeses aren't just going after people who have ripped off their writings (a perfectly legitimate legal move, mind you) but ANYONE using the terms "urban homestead" and "urban homesteading."
Meanwhile, a Facebook group called "Take Back Urban Home-Steading(s)" has already found 639 members (and counting), all outraged that the dingbat Dervaeses dared trademarked their philosophy of living. They are posting pictures of chicken coops and jars of preserves--LOVE IT. Congrats, Dervaeses--you have inspired a new movement, devoted to laughing at you!
Last update on this thread--new, original reporting mañana. I need to take care of my Apartment Homestead® with my chica.
More updates--and for those who don't know what the hell is going on, the full story--after the jump.
UPDATED, 3:39 P.M.: The Dervaeses have responded by saying this controversy is really just a conspiracy by critics. "It's a false, made up claim that people are jumping over themselves to make us look bad," blogs Anais Dervaes, before giving everyone the courtesy of publishing the cease-and-desist letter they're sending around to bloggers and libraries. The letter actually has suggestions for people to stop using the terms "urban homestead" and "urban homesteading"!
"If your use of one of these phrases is not to specifically identify products or services from the Dervaes Institute, then it would be proper to use generic terms to replace the registered trademark you are using," the letter states. "For example, when discussing general homesteading or other people's projects, they should be referred to using terms such as 'modern homesteading,' 'urban sustainability projects,' or similar descriptions."
Nice--not only are they faux hippies, but now they want to play the Though Police. WEAK SAUCE.
UPDATED, 2:15 P.M.: Harriet Ells, producer for KCRW-FM 89.9's Good Food With Evan Kleiman (for which I contribute) just tweeted that the Dervaeses sent them a cease-and-desist letter because they used the term in a blog post. The irony of this, of course, is that Kleiman joined the family for a meal last summer as part of an episode for Private Chefs of Beverly Hills. They also sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Santa Monica Public Library because the library hosted a free event on urban homesteading. What douches!
ORIGINAL POST, 12:27 P.M.: For the past couple of years, the Dervaes family has garnered national attention for turning its Pasadena home into a veritable Garden of Eden, using every square inch to grow food. It has become an icon in the slow-food movement--but the family is now being vilified, and rightfully so.
In October of last year, the Dervaeses successfully registered the terms "Urban Homestead" and "Urban Homesteading" with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. But only in the past couple of weeks have they been sending cease-and-desist letters to organizations and blogs using the terms without their permission, successfully asking Facebook to shut down groups using those terms as their name. Just yesterday, they knocked down the Facebook page of the Institute of Urban Homesteading, an Oakland-based workshop that teaches people how to can and preserve.
The issue is starting to rile up urban homesteaders, and the Dervaeses are already equipped for haters--but with rather ridiculous logic. On their website, they answer critics by claiming they're actually saving the term from evil capitalists. "You tell us. . . . Who would you rather own the trademarks? Us or a big business corporation?"
And for you bloggers who want to use the terms as a noun or a verb? According to their website:
If you aren't using it to make money and are simply documenting your life or sharing your information, this would only require that you update your websites and articles to properly cite our works and properly acknowledge if used. When using these trademarked terms, the proper way to go about it is as follows:
Proper trademark usage should include the proper trademark notice [®], use the protected phrase in all capital letters, and note in close proximity that the term is a protected trademark of Dervaes Institute.
Real from-the-land there, Dervaeses. Tools.
The term "urban homestead" has been documented in newspaper reports since at least the 1980s.
But the Dervaes family didn’t stop at the letter. After receiving the letter, Blume logged onto Facebook to find that her access to the institute’s page had been blocked. And she was not alone: all pages that used the terms had removed from Facebook, including the 2,000+ member page of Denver Urban Homesteading, another small, local business which seemed to pose no clear competition to the Dervaes’ operation.
On the phone this afternoon Jules Dervaes acknowledged sending the letter to 16 organizationsand businesses (including two publishers), and requesting that the Fabecook pages be taken down. He did want to clarify that – contrary to some rumors – he has not gone after blogs or individuals. “They're all commercial ventures that rival us,” he said. Because the Dervaeses travel often for workshops and talks, he says, the trademark is applicable outside of their hometown of Los Angeles.
Mr. Dervaes is concerned that his intent has been blown out of proportion by challengers, and says “We didn’t come up the name but we came up with the application.” He says his family spent three years convincing the United States Patent and Trademark Office that their use of the term was unique, and had to appeal several times because it was so similar to “urban home,” a previously trademarked term.
“If someone else would have done it first, all my work of ten years would be in jeopardy,” he adds. “We didn’t mean to bully anyone. These marks are what people do to make sure no one infringes on their ideas – they’re to give people who develop something protection. That’s why people like Apple and Nike do it. We did what other normal people would have done.”
Jami McBride wrote:
Did you sign this petition? They only need a few more
Robert Ray wrote:
Quick!!! Permastead doesn't appear to be copyrighted.
Mr. Dervaes is concerned that his intent has been blown out of proportion by challengers, and says “We didn’t come up the name but we came up with the application.” He says his family spent three years convincing the United States Patent and Trademark Office that their use of the term was unique, and had to appeal several times because was so similar to “urban home,” a previously trademarked term.
travis laduke wrote:
I guess they should have waited until they obtained full permaculture demigod status before they tried to enforce their intellectual property .
Anyway, the irony of these folks claiming to have invented, and now own, the concept of self-sufficiency is just too blatant even to comment on. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going out to my backyard™ where I'm planning to build a chicken coop™ so I can have some eggs™ .
How ridiculous would it be if they plagerized another author to describe what it is that they even do?
That's exactly what happened though. The original author is asking for this to be passed around so feel free to repost it everywhere.
If you have a bad day in October, have a slice of banana cream pie. And this tiny ad:
September-October Homestead Skills Jamboree 2019https://permies.com/wiki/118704/permaculture-projects/September-October-Homestead-Skills-Jamboree