Will Plans To Counterprogram CoNZealand Bear Fruit?

Some of the Hugo finalists who wrote the open letter of concern to CoNZeland programming are organizing a counterprogramming event they’re calling CoNZealand Fringe (inspired by the Edinburgh Fringe festival).

Alasdair Stuart, responding to a question from File 770, says, “There is definitely a complementary, fringe slate of programming being put together….  I can confirm the program is designed to complement ConNZealand and will be complete very shortly.” 

Another source says CoNZealand Fringe programming will run at European friendly times, so as not to compete with CoNZealand’s programming. 

CoNZealand’s official program launches at 08:00 Wednesday 29 July NZST (Tuesday 28 July at 13:00 PDT, 16:00 EDT, 21:00 BST).

Update 07/27/2020: Corrected event title.

22 thoughts on “Will Plans To Counterprogram CoNZealand Bear Fruit?

  1. I will be participating in the counterprogramming and am tentatively signed up for a panel.

  2. Isn’t “Worldcon” one of the registered trademarks of WSFS?

    (and for that matter, is “Fringe” similarly protected?)

  3. bill: Isn’t “Worldcon” one of the registered trademarks of WSFS?

    That’s true.

  4. Neither WorldCon nor Fringe can be used without the express written permission of the rights holders. So this group is committing a definite violation of the appropriate laws. Time for a renaming.

  5. Cat Eldridge: Neither WorldCon nor Fringe can be used without the express written permission of the rights holders.

    “Fringe” is a common word and on its own cannot be trademarked. The only festival trademarked in the EU is “The Chelsea Fringe” and “The RHS Chelsea Flower Show Fringe”.

    Worldcon, on the other hand, is trademarked in both the EU and the US, and it’s not bloody likely that WSFS would grant the use of the name “Worldcon” to something over which WSFS has no control.

  6. “Astounding” is also a common word. I seem to recall it won a case against another science fiction publication that wanted to use that word in its title.

  7. Bert Ricci: “Astounding” is also a common word. I seem to recall it won a case against another science fiction publication that wanted to use that word in its title.

    “Astounding” wasn’t trademarked, “Astounding Magazine” was, and it was trademarked for the category/class of magazines and publications, so that any other magazine which wanted to use “Astounding” would have been infringing. “Astounding Skincare” or “Astounding Baby Toys” would not have been ruled an infringement.

  8. To clarify for the trademark questions – although European IP law may differ – common words may be trademarked in America provided they aren’t being used descriptively and are being used in a specific context so as to clearly be a mark. So “Astounding Magazine” can be trademarked. Calling something “Astounding” would not be.

    Similarly, “Calling a TV show “Fringe”” as the NAME of a show (as opposed to describing a show as a “Fringe TV show” would be infringing. Calling your own programming “Fringe” as descriptive, as is done here, would not be infringing.

    That said, using the term “worldcon” in association with the same thing that worldcon is doing this year – producing a virtual SFF convention – would be infringing use of the mark in that it could create confusion. But I imagine the actual counterprogramming will not officially be called that, even if the participants may be using that term internally.

  9. I don’t know what sources the information has come from apart from the quoted text from Alasdair, but I can confirm that those of us involved in setting this up are fully aware that we can’t use the Worldcon name. Which is why we aren’t.

    The current title for this programming is “CoNZealand Fringe”, and it would be great if Mike could update the post above to reflect that.

  10. Arifel: The current title for this programming is “CoNZealand Fringe”, and it would be great if Mike could update the post above to reflect that.

    Unless you have received CoNZealand’s permission to use their name, I would be expecting a strenuous objection letter from their legal advisor.

  11. Given their reason for existing, I’m a little surprised the Fringe hasn’t contacted all the Hugo nominees to invite them to participate.

  12. Wow that is so helpful of people putting a fringe event on – lots of these happen around the real Worldcon I recall at Dublin. Thanks to all those helping.

    Shame so people are bothered by naming convention but as pointed out the substance of what they’re doing sounds better

  13. To the people complaining about my pointing out that the use of “CoNZealand” is an infringement:

    CoNZealand has no control over what you do with your Fringe scheduling. It’s quite understandable if they don’t wish it to be labeled under their name. This shouldn’t be a difficult concept, nor is it a “freak-out”.

    No one but you knows how hard you have worked on this, since it’s all been done invisibly behind the scenes. Right now it’s just vaporware as far as the public is concerned. Perhaps you can wait until you’ve actually announced something to complain about not getting enough accolades for it.

  14. Arifel: I have updated the event title. Although I followed the title used by my original source, I checked again just now and see that Alasdair’s email used the CoNZealand Fringe title, a change I hadn’t registered til you pointed it out.

  15. GalatiPalaver Verge? GalPal Verge?

    Why be so exclusionary as to limit fandom to a single planet?

    Regards,
    Dann
    Quality, Speed, Price. Pick any two.

  16. Thanks for the update, Mike. Without knowing who your source was, all I can offer is a big ol’ shrug to where they got that incorrect info from.

    This info should be in Mike’s inbox already, but for those reading this thread who are interested in checking out the panels, our schedule is here: http://www.conzealandfringe.com/ and the first panel, “What is Aotearoa New Zealand Speculative Fiction”, can be watched in catch up here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY0VYiEBdhU . Fair warning, you will need a pen and paper because your TBR will explode with all the interesting works from NZ authors mentioned. Future panel links will be on the site soon, and we’ve already shared the two for later today on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlasdairStuart/status/1287873159568343041?s=20

    Hope to see many of you around virtual-New-Zealand this week, in one form or another 🙂

  17. Hi Arifel, there don’t seem to be any links to the panels on the schedule. Where can those links be found?

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