Three WSFS committee reports submitted to the Chengdu Worldcon Business Meeting are now publicly available.
The Mark Protection Committee report (which also includes the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee report) can be downloaded from The World Science Fiction Society website, and the Nitpicking & Flyspecking Committee report can be downloaded here.
OWNERSHIP OF WORLDCON U.S. SERVICE MARKS HAS BEEN TRANSFERRED TO WIP. This year the Mark Protection Committee’s lawyer advised them to get all the Worldcon service marks under a single legal entity. Previously, Worldcon Intellectual Property, a California nonprofit corporation, was established to facilitate registration of WSFS service marks in select jurisdictions outside the U.S. that require an incorporated entity to own a service mark. The U.S. service marks have been directly registered to the World Science Fiction Society, the unincorporated organization that chooses Worldcon sites and in whose name the Hugo Awards are given.
The attorney’s advice led to immediate action to carry out a plan announced in the MPC’s 2015 report to move the US marks to WIP as each came up for re-registration.
In August the MPC wrote a letter to WIP reaffirming that —
for $1.00 and other valuable consideration, the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) has transferred its ownership of and the rights to any and all federal and international trademark registrations of the service marks “World Science Fiction Society”, “WSFS”, “World Science Fiction Convention”, “Worldcon”, “NASFIC”, “Lodestar Award”, “The Hugo Award”, the Hugo Award Logo (two dimensional rocket design), and the distinctive design of the Hugo Award Rocket to Worldcon Intellectual Property (WIP), a California non-profit profit corporation recognized as a tax-exempt, charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) by the US Internal Revenue Service. This further acknowledges that Worldcon Intellectual Property’s primary responsibility and purpose is to manage the service marks and other intellectual property on behalf of the World Science Fiction Society.
The Committee Reports also include the text of motions to change the WSFS Constitution and Standing Rules.
MPC PROPOSED MOTION. In response to interactions with the Chengdu Worldcon committee detailed in the report, the MPC will move these changes to the WSFS Constitution.
Short Title: Marks Authorization
Commentary: This amendment to the WSFS Constitution strengthens and clarifies the traditional and essential but limited ability of Worldcons and NASFiCs to use the WSFS marks by documenting it in the Constitution. It also provides an editorial wording and consistency update.
NITPICKING & FLYSPECKING COMMITTEE MOTIONS. The committee recommends a change to the Standing Rules to give committees that report to the Business Meeting the direct power to ask for a topic to be discussed to provide feedback.
Commentary: Committees of all sorts that submit reports to the Business Meeting may wish to seek the opinion of the Business Meeting on some question. This rule provides a mechanism. While this can be accomplished now, it may require a motion to suspend the rules, which requires a 2/3rd vote. The time for discussion and/or straw ballot would only be allowed if the Business Meeting passed the motion in the report to provide such time
There’s also a proposed change to the WSFS Constitution to deal explicitly with years in which a Worldcon is not held, or the Business Meeting lacks a quorum. One component of the proposal would allow ratification votes on constitutional amendments to be postponed to the next Business Meeting.
Item 2: Short Title: Business Meeting Contingencies
[See text of proposed motion in the report.]
Commentary: There have been years in which a Worldcon was not held due to war. There have been years in which a Worldcon was delayed or almost cancelled by pestilence. There have been years in which it was difficult to obtain a quorum for the Business Meeting. Yet the Constitution makes no provisions for such contingencies. In addition, there may be reasons why even a valid Business Meeting with a quorum would want to postpone the ratification of a Constitutional Amendment to the next Worldcon’s Business Meeting. For example, a Worldcon outside of North America at which ratification of a constitutional amendment that only affected NASFiCs would normally be considered might wish to postpone such consideration to a following Worldcon that was to be held in North America. While providing for all possible contingencies is impossible, this amendment to the Constitution provides for the contingencies discussed above.
BATTING CLEANUP. The NP&FS Committee is also making a series of motions to fix the wording of some rules that did not get an update at the time the “supporting membership” and “attending membership” structure was changed to “WSFS membership” and “attending supplement” in the WSFS Constitution.
[Thanks to Donald E. Eastlake III for the story.]