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After a less than stellar lunch, aside from seeing JWT's David Eastman and Kenneth Hein, it was time for panels. Here is the first recap:
Panel: Your Business + Social Mission = Happiness + Ka-Ching
Attended by: Reena Leone
Executive Producer Superstars Alice and Erin and I joined the conversation on social good during the “Your Business + Social Mission = Happiness + Ka-Ching” panel. It was pretty much what you’d expect; people talking about their favorite social good campaigns and/or social good their company has done. Many people pointed out that their biggest struggle in getting a social good campaign going within their company is the company itself buying into it. Most companies need to see a benefit in order to invest, but usually companies who participate in some sort of social mission are more profitable. Other interesting points that were brought up:
- People trust brands more than the government
- The brands we work for will be the brands that bring social change.
- Truth is in and is cool. Example: The Dominos campaign
- Brands create culture, not just product.
Also, what defines an act of social good vs. just being nice? The thing everyone really seemed to focus upon is that if you want to do it, do it. Don’t wait for the CEO to start something up. Start with you, then your department and build from there. There was nothing too revolutionary, but it was nice to be in a room full of people who really believe in doing good.
Panel: Help Save SXSW from Marketer Douchebaggery
Attended by: Tom Siebert
Wow! SXSWi kicks off with TWO panels that drop the word "douchebag"! I passed on "How Not to be a Doucehbag at SXSW" (think I've got that one covered; I'm as charming and delightful company as I am humble and self-effacing). Picked instead "Help Save SXSW from Marketer Douchebaggery," which is apparently not a pressing concern for many here, as the giant ballroom F was probably about 10% full.
Note to everyone involved: If you're going to give your panel such a provocative title, don't fill it with people who are so gosh-darned NICE! You'd expect snark at something like this, instead we got earnest and helpful. One panelist actually said marketers should "Add value and provide a good experience." I'll take another cup o' bland, please!
Meanwhile, behind them, about 1/3 of the SXSW banner hoisted behind them was festooned with about a dozen event sponsors, while another panelist lamented how supersaturation has pretty much pushed most start ups out of the picture -- so what's wrong with this one?
Panel: Why Everything is Amazing and Nobody is Happy
Attended by: Tom Siebert
Man, let's hope my panel picking gets better. "Why Everything is Amazing and Nobody is Happy," might have been a very funny and mildly insightful comedy routine by Louis CK, but the panel that swiped its name for SXSWi was neither. In fact, it pretty much betrayed the central point of CK's bit, which (if I understand him correctly) is that technology has spoiled us and you're never going to find happiness through material objects. Instead, two man bland who tried to connect with the SRO meeting room as it experienced a sustained exodus that left it roughly half full mostly tried to get audience members to suggest technologies that made them happy, made them better people.
There were backhanded acknowledgments of technological impatience and superficiality, but the core question that the panel title suggests was never seriously broached. Nobody even suggested that maybe there's a difference between lasting happiness and superficial pleasure, that technology mostly speeds us up to ADD levels, and that perhaps everyone at their core understands that technology isn't going to save us from the deeper, unsettling problems that aren't being addressed -- massive worldwide debt, global warming, increased discrepancies of haves and have nots, etc. -- and, in fact, may be making them worse.
Panel: David vs. Goliath: Lessons learned from Lamebook vs. Facebook
Attended by: Reena Leone
If you follow the social media world at all, you already knew that the website Lamebook.com was being sued by Facebook. While the panel highlighted a lot of copyright and trademark law, I felt the panel was too soon -- they haven’t even come to an agreement or ruling on the case yet so there was only so much they could say.
The story behind Lamebook is a pretty simple one; we know a lot of lame people in our college. They post silly/stupid things on Facebook. Let’s collect those all on a blog.
The site started out as funny things the creators saw but now they post content to what they know their readers like. They do not post revenge posts though and made a point of telling us it is “not a site for vendettas”. They also briefly explained that they have a “remove” link and a process if something you posted on Facebook ends up on there. When someone contacts them, they simply take the post down.
In March 2010, Facebook accused Lamebook of trademark infringement. Their grounds for the lawsuit were that people could potentially get Lamebook mixed up with Facebook, thought Facebook was making fun of itself or was associated with Lamebook.
However, Lamebook defines itself as a parody. Because of this, the claims against them – Strength of Trademark, Similarity Between the Marks, and the Defendants’ Intent, among others, are not valid:
- Strength of trademark- Lamebook is not weakening Facebook’s trademark. Facebook is a multi-billion dollar global brand.
- Similarity Between the Marks- A parody by definition has to reference original source material for you to get the joke.
- Defendants’ Intent- They are intending to make fun of Facebook. There is nothing malicious or hidden. They even have a disclaimer on the site.
The reason it is trademark infringement not copyright infringement is because they don’t own the content. At one point, Facebook tried to claim they did, but there was a major backlash. According the to Digital Millennium Copryight Act, they do not own the content on Facebook.
The ended the panel with that there has been 8 months of litigation and two suits filed- one in Austin where Lamebook is based and one in California filed by Facebook. They hope that if they win the case, it will allow further definition of parody sites and hopefully prevent these on going lawsuits in the future. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.
More panel recaps to come...