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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Urban homesteaders: cease and desist

Talk about shooting yourself in the back...

There's a bit of hub-bub going on on Facebook right now about how the Dervaes family (of Path to Freedom fame) has successfully trademarked the terms "urban homestead" and "urban homesteading" and is forcing Facebook to shut down pages that use the term and sending legal notifications to businesses with the term "urban homesteading" in it.

I don't know where this is all going or how much of this is true, but if it is, I'm going to be seriously disappointed in the narrow-mindedness of their actions. I do hope they clarify what they are up to. I can't see how they could possibly take ownership up the concept of urban homesteading since it's a common term.

At the bottom of their website it states:

Path to Freedom, Urban Homestead, Urban Homesteading, Grow the Future, Homegrown Revolution (and trowel/fist logo) are registered® trademarks of Dervaes Institute.

I don't know about you, but this sure doesn't sound like a path to freedom to me but rather a branding of a lifestyle that doesn't belong to them. It's like trademarking "farming". Hopefully they'll clarify their position here soon.

Yeesh. Anyone know what the scoop is?

Update:
Given the response to the actions by the above mentioned institute, several grassroots groups and petitions have begun:

Petition to cancel trademarks on "urban homestead" and "urban homesteading"

Take Back Urban Homesteading Facebook page

165 comments:

Crunchy Chicken said...

Here's their stance on trademarking the terms:

"We filed our trademarks for the purpose of maintaining standards and for the protection of the term and concept. We are still in this society that is ruled by laws and governments and, sometimes, you have to use those rules to protect the freedom of an idea before it's too late. We began to see the terms "Urban Homestead" and "Urban Homesteading" used as "green-washed bandwagon" terms solely for profit -- even mentioned in an glossy magazine advertisement of a car. It bothered us to see the terms being used for ideas that no longer reflected the down to earth roots.

The final straw came in an email we received. It was from the owner of a small business who created a product and named his little business with a great sounding title. Guess what? Big corporations thought it was a great sounding title as well and trademarked it and told him, he could no longer use the name he came up with.

In addition, more and more people began to use the term for profit and the public / media started to confuse our project with that of the others.

So, as the popularity of Urban Homestead and Urban Homesteading increased and began to label everything from television productions to big agriculture products, we couldn't shake the warning bells in our minds.

You tell us... who would you rather own the trademarks? Us or a big business corporation?"

Crunchy Chicken said...

Here's another fine point detail. Consider yourself warned:

But I want to write about my urban homestead -- can I not use or refer to "Urban Homesteading" or "Urban Homestead" in my blog?

"If you aren't using it to make money and are simply documenting your life or sharing your infomration, 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.

URBAN HOMESTEAD®

URBAN HOMESTEADING®

Thank you in advance for respecting our legally protected intellectual property rights. If you have been supportive of our ten-year online work in the past, we appreciate very much your continued support.

If you have any questions regarding the use of Dervaes materials or trademarks, please contact us at (626) 795-8400. We would be glad to provide you with more details."

dandelionlady said...

wow. I don't know how I feel about this. Thanks for blogging about it. I've really admired them for a long time, and I can see their point, but I would be deeply disturbed if they attempted to control normal people doing good stuff. It's like they've become The Man. I guess it's a wait and see kind of thing. For sure, I'd rather trust them than a corporation with it.

Adrienne said...

So... you can use it as long as you're not capitalizing it or talking about them? Fine by me. I still think what they're doing is jerky, but it's not actually going to stop anyone talking about urban homesteading. (note the small letters!)

Crunchy Chicken said...

Adrienne - My understanding is if you are using the phrase at all (regardless of how you slice it) it has to be used like this:

URBAN HOMESTEAD®

and mention in close proximity that the term is a registered trademark of the Dervaes Institute.

So, let's say I'm writing about URBAN HOMESTEADING® in my blog, then I need to make sure that I follow the proper trademark law (registered trademark of the Dervaes Institute).

Sophie said...

I am sorry but I just find it sad that they think it is right for them to own the idea and trademark it so that no one else can use it without mentioning them. It is extremely small minded and sort of defeats the purpose of educating people towards a more natural lifestyle.

Good thing I am handy with a thesaurus!

Julie said...

Crap....I think I just visited the Dervaes Family for the last time :(

Anonymous said...

Why am I SO not surprised? I lost my shine for the Dervaeses when they went after the folks at the blog formerly known as Homegrown Evolution. They now blog as Root Simple.

As far as I'm concerned the Dervaeses have succumbed to the same attitudes they claim to deplore in the corporate world and GMO manufacturers. "I put these two random pieces of the public domain together, and now they're mine. MINE!" So now they're going after random people who have dared to use *their* two words together on Facebook? Marvelous.

Their path to freedom also seems to involve an awful lot of begging for handouts and badgering their readers into forking over money. Honestly, it's reminiscent of an NPR fund drive. How free can you be if your lifestyle depends on soliciting donations at every opportunity? It would be one thing if their website was a resource for actually learning how to be more self-sufficient. Being able to learn something from folks doing it for themselves might be worth a donation from time to time. Mostly though their blog is a constant parade of publicity and assurances of how wonderful they are. Plenty to admire, perhaps. But not much to learn, and certainly not worth paying for.

I suppose they've got their cash cow all lined up now. So it goes.

DramaMama said...

I like Sophie's idea - nonrural farm anyone?

Oxray Farm said...

I wondered why Homegrown Evolution changed their name.... Hmmm.... I think having to URBAN HOMESTEAD™ everything sucks!

Anonymous said...

Well, there are trademarked names which have become part of everyday language, and we certainly don't get into trouble for hoovering our carpets or chilling out in the jacuzzi ... so lets just see what happens here!

Robyn M. said...

BS. Utter BS. I've *read a published book* called "Urban Homestead" that was from the 1970's (written in the 60's). This is not a register-able term, and if they ever attempt to go to court, they will lose that battle. They might have fair claim to "Homegrown Revolution" and certainly to their trowel in fist logo, but the idea that they believe "urban homesteading" is a unified concept that they have domain over is somewhere between ridiculous and sickening. Talk about losing the hearts and minds of those in your community. "Their stance" is a bunch of self-justificatory nonsense that has almost nothing to do with their own situation. They should, in all seriousness, get the hell over themselves.

Erica said...

Wow. Just wow. Thanks so much for posting about this, and for the additional info in the comments section of your blog post. I hope they use their power for good and not evil. But it looks like the "institute" is lining up behind tyrannical doucheiness. I'll be following this closely, please forward on what you learn. Thanks.

Lynda said...

I'm not surprised. They are a nonprofit wanting to make a profit! They pissed me off when they started charging for EVERYTHING...they are supose to be a ministry...of what?

Tracy said...

I'm angry about this, too! I would almost (not quite, but almost) be ok with it if they trademarked it for protection of the term - to stop a bigger corporation from getting it and shutting down others. But...that's exactly what these guys are doing - shutting down others! Thanks for the protection guys; now who protects us from them?! Ugh! Greed and ego!

meg- grow & resist said...

Sold their soul. I find this totally disgusting. The term urban homesteading has such negative connotations as it is...and they trademark it? They didn't invent the idea for f*%k sake. Agh. Going to go hide from the world in a hole for a while I think.

Sophie said...

Drama Mama I am thinking Metropolitan Farmstead has a nice ring to it ;)

ConsciouslyFrugal said...

What Robyn said. Except I would add that they can kiss my urban homesteading ass. I think I'll begin blogging about it non-stop in hopes that they will take me to court. *eye roll*

Once again, the peeps in Pasadena lead me to believe the place is filled with nothing but massive asshats.

adventuresindinner said...

Wow! I'm really disappointed. I won't be going back to that site but thanks to the others for the mention of Root Simple.

I had always thought we were all in this "make life better-save the world" thing together. Guess not.

K said...

Wow. Just... wow.

AFAIK, one cannot trademark a phrase, except as a business name to prevent others from operating under that name.

I stopped reading their blog a while ago, since I found it to be less informative and more self-congratulatory. I find it amazing, what they can accomplish, but very little on their blog pertains to me.

Too bad they are being such *#$&*@ over this. I say we all use the term (un-capitalized, un-trademarked) as much as possible, but I'm just contrary like that :)

Robj98168 said...

Maybe you should trademark the term "Crunchy"! I say let them do it if they want- They can go piss up a rope!

Anonymous said...

They just took down their own facebook page. I'm guessing they were surprised by everyone's thoughts.

Jamie said...

Earlier today I saw their post on facebook that said something about a death threat. I read a few of the comments and was intrigued but had an open mind so I looked up the trademark info on "urban homestead". I posted two comments. The first was a link to the trademark info and stated that everyone should wait to see what's going on first. The second, after reading more, was simply asking the question "how can they even trademark this, the term has been around since the 1700s" (paraphrasing, since I can't see my post now) with a google timeline search link to the term.

I find that their original twitter post about the "death threat" has been deleted and I am now unable to access their facebook page. I'm not getting a "page doesn't exist" message, just a redirect back to the facebook homepage. Not sure if this means that I've been banned from the page or not. But I certainly didn't say anything negative about the Dervaes nor would I ever wish them physical harm so I am really unsure of what is going on atm.

April said...

Yep, I think they took their page down due to all of the negative press they were getting from us. Word is out!! Maybe we should start a fb page "Take back the term Urban Homestead." Thoughts??

Beth said...

wow, did they really just take their page down?

Crunchy Chicken said...

Jamie - I think they took down their own Facebook page. I can no longer see it either and it doesn't show up in search anymore.

I don't know why they just didn't delete the "death threat" post (which honestly it looked like this was in response to a comment from someone saying that "they will pay" which doesn't exactly constitute a death threat) and leave their page up?

April - Not a bad idea!

April said...

I'm doing it. Let them stop me! LOL
It will be called "take back the phrase urban homestead" Do you want to be an admin?

April said...

Deanna - I'm doing a vote here - should our group be "Take Back the Phrase, Word, or Term Urban Homestead?? My grammar rules are a bit rusty here...

Beth said...

http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/2011/02/16/fyi-urban-homestead-trademark-matter/

Crunchy Chicken said...

Jordanne Dervaes is mentioning on her Facebook page that they sent out FYI letters about the ownership of the trademark. The recipients were told that the term has an (R) on it now and that they asked them to recognize it.

Just for clarification, there is no cease and desist letter. I'm not sure how enforceable their request is though...

Crunchy Chicken said...

Thanks, Beth. I can't get to the page it keeps timing out - I'll check it out when I can.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Beth - it looks like their whole site is down. What did it say?

Robyn M. said...

@April: I don't care what you call it, but I'm certainly going to "like" it when you create it! (Maybe you could duck the whole question and call it "Take back urban homesteading"?)

April said...

I just made the page "Take Back Urban Homesteading" on fb... Click like to join the cause. Thanks!

April said...

:) Great minds think alike! They would have undoubtedly had it removed if we had phrased it "Urban Homestead anyway!" Deanna - Your blog post is going up now. Power to the people!! :)

Erica said...

Here's a listing of all the phrases they have tradmarked: http://www.trademarkia.com/company-dervaes-institute-336388-page-1-2

It's quite a list.

Beth said...

I couldn't get it loaded completely before it timed out. I just saw the first part that said "look for the Cease and Desist in their letter."... pretty interesting their twitter's gone too.

Alice said...

Way to start a movement, Dervaes Family!

Like many of the others, I stopped reading their blog a while ago. It wasn't really that helpful and was kind of irritating. All those photos of two girls in the family. Whatev.

Off to my backyard farm.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Here's the gist of it (see the link posted by Beth for the full letter they sent out). I best go out and work on my "urban sustainability projects":

"...In addition, Dervaes Institute owns numerous trademarks which should be properly acknowledged if used. These protected names and images include the following registered trademarks:

* URBAN HOMESTEAD®
* URBAN HOMESTEADING®
* PATH TO FREEDOM®
* GROW THE FUTURE®
* HOMEGROWN REVOLUTION®
* FREEDOM GARDENS®
* LITTLE HOMESTEAD IN THE CITY® (pending)

* Also, THE TEN ELEMENTS OF URBAN HOMSTEADING copyright has been filed with the Library of Congress.

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. 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.

When using a phrase listed above to refer to the work of the Dervaes Institute, 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."

Sophie said...

I just checked out everything they trade marked and my jaw hit the floor.

Kate said...

I got the page to load. It begins with:
"Please find the “cease & desist” phrase in this normal, professional and informative letter. It’s a false, made up claim that people are jumping over themselves to make us look bad."

That's right. It's other people trying to make them look bad. Mean, naughty, very bad Crunchy. Nothing to do with any actions they might have taken. Irony much?

Also, just for fun, let's parse that atrocious grammar...

Claim: "that people are jumping over themselves to make [the Dervaes] look bad."

According to the logic of the Dervaes' statement, this is a "false, made up claim." Therefore, people are not jumping over themselves [wtf?] to make [the Dervaeses] look bad.

Crunchy Chicken said...

"Cease and desist" is a common phrase that can be used without legal meaning.

Much like "urban homesteading" can be used without reference to the Dervaes Institute.

I posted about this to get clarification on what was going on and whether or not I was going to be receiving a "friendly, business like letter" in my email.

Notice they didn't address the issue of taking down Facebook pages...

Heather said...

I relayed this whole entire shebang to my husband, and he only had this to say in response:

"Look at the open source community, for example. There’s an open source company that holds lots of patents, but they got them so the patents couldn’t be owned by closed source companies. They freely state that they don’t hold those patents over anyone in the community, but as protection of the people in that community.

I think they went too far in describing what you had to do in order to use that phrase. I agree with them saying go ahead and use it if you’re not using it for profit, but not that you should follow all of those regulations even if you’re not using it for profit. I say require those things if you’re using it in a for profit scheme, but ask permission (such as an online farmer’s market stall)."

I agree with him. I think that their reasoning of "protecting" those words with trademarks came from an area that they felt they would help..but the restrictions they then proceeded to place upon such universal and well known terms just kinda..well..makes 'em look not so stellar. Though of course, I find it fairly ridiculous that we can trademark or register common use words in the first place.

Liberal Lucy said...

I just found your blog and I LOVE it already! I'll be spending the rest of the night reading all your posts. (Thank goodness for teenagers, I can make them clean the kitchen while I enjoy your writings). I was surprised to learn about the trademark issue over Urban Homesteading, etc. Maybe the best way to deal with this is to just expose these folks for what they appear to be now... Facebook can be used against them as well as for them and if we share it with enough people, well... they'll get the point when they see their followers turn around and run... I've visited their website for the last time. I own an Internet Television portal and am currently producing a Country Living show where I planned to feature the, not anymore!

Jenn said...

what a lot of horse crap! It's like the people who want to trademark yoga and the poses - how about we trademark the word "cat" and see how that goes over?

Seriously, rubbish. I won't be visiting their website or supporting them.

denise said...

Wow. I have been hearing rumors of this recently.

How can anyone own the term urban homestead or urban homesteading? It is used to describe a lifestyle and was in existence before they appeared. It is like someone trying to enforce a trademark on city farming or urban gardening or urban chickens or farming. Ridiculous.

I have unsubscribed and unfollowed them ... bye bye.

JBB said...

What did the Dervaes family do wrong? They are doing what normal people do—sending out normal notifications.

What about just a few of these other trademarked names?
Spin Farming
Urban Farming
Hobby Farm
Urban Farm
Biodynamic
Edible Landscaping
Yardening
Slow Food
Farm-City
Little Urban Farm
The Urban Farm

K said...

JBB: protecting a trademark from being used by another business is one thing. Protecting a the trademarked phrase from being used *at all* without citation is something else.

AFAIK, all those examples you have cited are not asking all users of the term to acknowledge the trademark. I could go trademark "JBB", and send you a letter stating that you have to now be known as "JBB (TM)", and acknowledge me as the trademark holder.

The term "Urban Homestead" has been in use (as a phrase) since at least the 1800s. To request all users of it (for non-business purposes) to TM it is, quite simply, insane.

April said...

I formed this fb page: Take Back Urban Home-steading(s) Hopefully we can get the message out and they will back down.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Take-Back-Urban-Home-steadings/167527713295518#!/pages/Take-Back-Urban-Home-steadings/167527713295518?sk=wall

Satchel and Tea said...

I just floored at their gall. How dare they! I'm unfollowing them in every way, and I'm happy to join the Facebook group to take back the phrase. What is the group's address, do we have it up yet?

April said...

The group's name is: Take Back Urban Home-steading(s) I had to hyphenate and add the s in parenthesis so they didn't remove it. Join and spread the word. Thanks!

Kristijoy said...

all I can think of is the great "Google" fracas..google it!

Chile said...

I think they are going to find this backfires on them in a big way. Online support and sales will plummet - are plummeting. I was very impressed with them when I first saw their information online a number of years ago. Since then, I've been disappointed every time I've gone to their (changing) sites.

Oh well. Hope I don't accidentally use anybody's trademarked terms while freely expressing myself!

rachel whetzel said...

I never followed them in the first place... they never did sit right with me. I did, however, "like" the new FB group!!

Chile said...

It may be petty, but I just deleted all references and links to the Devraes from any posts I've ever done (over almost 4 years). Pity, that.

Patent This! said...

I've never much cared for the Dervaes'. I think what they have accomplished is wonderful (minus the patenting) however, am I the only one that feels the family is somewhat cult-ish? Dad clearly has his empire and is very proud to let you know while three adult children are living under the same roof. Seems odd and just doesn't sit well with me. Not to mention the constant onslaught of photos of the girls pictured almost as oppressed peasants.

I know a little off topic but goes along with the weirdness out of the Dervaes camp lately.

delilah said...

stop supporting this family.

Kate said...

@chile, I'm in the process of doing the same thing.

April said...

The fb group is now at 70 and counting...wow! I had no idea it would grow this fast.

Green Bean said...

Well, I had to "unlike" them on FB. I really like what they have been able to do in their tiny little yard. No comment on the rest of their lifestyle. This whole thing with trying to preclude others in the same movement from using words key to the movement, though, LAME! I suspect it will backfire on them - big time.

Sustainable Food said...

They are not protecting the term from big corporations -- they are somehow trying to own not just the term "urban homesteading" but also the information that goes along with it.

They have absolutely no case whatsoever. Anyone can trademark pretty much anything, but not every trademark is equally enforceable. Their claims would never stand up in court.

rsle said...

@consciouslyfrugal, I'm a proud backyard farmer and I can assure you that despite what the Dervaes' might make you believe, we are not all asshats in Pasadena :)

Hippy Goodwife said...

I call bullshit. What a crap ton of asshats they are.

Anonymous said...

If Path to Freedom gives you a cul-ish vibe, check out Jules' *other* website:

http://swordofjoshua.org/god-man-technology/

(The best bit is at the bottom)

Anonymous said...

OMG that sword of joshua stuff gave me the creeps! What a weirdo. I'm all set with that family.

Crunchy Chicken said...

The amazing thing is that they seem to be missing the point entirely. Sure, they trademarked a few common phrases that they claim them as their own in spite of them being in the common vernacular for decades beforehand.

Sure, other people have equally (and ridiculously) trademarked common phrases. Phrases that are so common as to be unenforceable in court.

But the clincher is that they are asking people to stop using those terms if they make any money related to it and, if they don't, they need to credit the Dervaes Institute for being the brains behind the phrase.

Then they turn around and say, "aw shucks, we are just sending out normal notifications" asking people to stop doing business under their current business names and/or crediting them with an entire movement.

And they can't figure out why people are annoyed with them? Methinks logic is not their strong suit.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Oh yeah, and then they pass it off (the trademarking of the terms) sounding like they are doing all of us a favor. Claiming that their little worker bees are protecting us from the big bad corporation by trademarking it first.

It sounds more like "Dervaes Demogoguery" to me.

Anonymous said...

huh, the sword of Joshua link isnt working, it either gives a 404 error or if you try to just go to the.org part it leads back to path to freedom.

Crunchy Chicken said...

When in the middle of a shitstorm delete, delete, delete!

Anonymous said...

The Dervaes seem to have a habit of controlling information....even if it means editing their website so that no mention of their *other* son Jeremy is left in existance...those of us who read their blogs way back when remember photos of jeremy working side by side with his siblings, those old posts & photos are no longer in the archives.

http://gardenopolis.wordpress.com/2008/01/12/path-to-freedom-project/


However in the Mother Earth News article on them theres a photo of the 3 kids thats credited as being Jordanne, Anais & Justin....but if you look at the photo theres 2 *boys* ( in suits) and a girl in that photo.
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Modern-Homesteading/Amazing-Urban-Homestead-Dervaes.aspx

Anonymous said...

archive.org is your friend

K said...

Interesting: clicking on any header on the "Sword of Joshua" site diverts you back to the main "Path to Freedom" site.

Methinks the Dervaes family is spending tonight trying desperately to cover their collective asses.

debbiedas said...

Protecting their "intellectual property?" Give me a break. :) Joining the new FB group.

Crunchy Chicken said...

The Sword of Joshua was up about an hour ago.

Maybe they'll just delete their entire web existence if this continues. First Facebook, then Twitter posts...

I'd rather see a response where one can post comments instead of making statements and then deleting any conversation or debate on the matter.

Patent This! said...

This video sums up a lot in just the first sentence and last part about the village. Released about a month ago.

http://vimeo.com/18341486

Rosa said...

hey, does anybody have a link to the "trowel in fist" logo Robyn mentioned? I don't see it on their site, but if it looks like this but with a trowel:

http://www.freeclipartnow.com/food/Food-Not-Bombs-logo.jpg.html

...then it is an old-ass wheatpaste for geurilla gardening and anti-GMO activism , that dates back to the at least the early '90s. I think I still have a Midnight Gardener patch, but I don't find it on the internet anywhere.

Cindy said...

freedomgardens.org has the hand/trowel symbol in its logo if that helps

Cindy said...

http://www.peddlerswagon.com/p-258-homegrown-revolution-t-shirt-womens.aspx

their t-shirts also have the logo

Rosa said...

Man,that first one is more "zombie coming up from the grave" but the second, I don't know if it would be copywriteable - I guess i don't know the rules very well, but the guerilla gardening one had the trowel pointed the other way so it's at least not exactly the same.

Either way, dumb.

Earth Mama said...

I think it is so stupid how people feel the need to own words. I mean how is that even seemingly "normal". I own the words x,y,z and if I hear you say them or see you use them, well, then you're in big trouble. Honestly, I think there are much bigger and better things to be contemplating. Especially people who are "new thinkers"...the people who are going to "change the world", paving the path for a "different way". I have been approached twice for the name of my blog. Same thing, they "own" the words. I don't see how anyone can possibly say I can't use words so I won't change. Honstly, I think it's fear. Fear that if others use certain words it will take the spotlight off of them, which is sad really. People like that don't deserve a spotlight!

Tim said...

Terribly disappointed, but not particularly surprised. Still a bit sad. I was a proud Freedom Gardener for a while, but became a bit concerned with the constant begging for donations and selling junk. Oh well...

I'm not a fan of intellectual property laws anyway, but this stings a bit more for some reason.

risa said...

I became nervous about Mr. Dervaes about two years ago and stopped looking at their sites.

Kristi said...

This was just recently posted on their site: "FaceBook page wasn't pulled down to protect us, but supporters from being harassed and hounded by unreasonable threats/remarks."

Crunchy Chicken said...

@urbanhomestead on Twitter claims: "FaceBook page wasn't pulled down to protect us, but supporters from being harassed and hounded by unreasonable threats/remarks."

I saw all the comments on that post and none were harassing or threatening, but of course no one can make that decision for themselves because they removed the thread.

The only controversial comments were petty name calling along the lines of accusing others of being "childish" and blocking them.

This is just backpedaling on their part.

Patent This! said...

Found another interesting article written a couple years ago by a British journalist, even she states it's "odd and cultish".

Just goes to show, when you stir the pot, you better make sure all your ducks are in a row. I think we are going to find out a lot more in the coming days and weeks.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/5776991/The-Dervaeses-of-Pasadena-poster-family-for-greener-living.html

JBB said...

Here is a note I received from the Dervaes family.

"Regarding the shutdown of our public Facebook pages: We were sensitive that some people (our friends and supporters) did not deserve the ugly and mean treatment we are getting. So, we sought to protect and spare them the assault and dirt slinging they were receiving by being caught in the middle. It was such a virulent atmosphere that Jules Dervaes’s daughters broke down in tears at one point. So Mr. Dervaes said to take down the pages so that others would not have to experience that, too."

Crunchy Chicken said...

From one of the Dervaes' Facebook posts. Busy, busy! Chores had to be done. With a side of intimidation:

"Oh and re: the death threats thing. It was posted in the public by mistake and should have never been done so. We apologize for that. There was a very bad phone call that we received and someone here got angry in the fit of the moment. I'm sure you understand how it would feel if it was done to you.

But again, we apologize for that -- it shouldn't have been posted. We also intended on making a statement and not leaving everyone hanging. We're just so busy and had some chores to do first."

Crunchy Chicken said...

JBB - Aw. How kind hearted. Because I read those comments and both sides were equally dishing it out and could equally handle it.

I'm sorry that Ms. Dervaes has had such a bad day. But sending out intimidating letters to people has that side effect.

Anna in Atlanta said...

Ditto, ditto, ditto -- I noticed the drastic change in their website (had to check the names to know it was the same folks). It's like trademarking "cooking with ingredients" or "backyard gardening." How did the trademark office let this one get by them? Maybe I'll trademark "getting out of bed and turning up the thermostat" as a lifestyle product!

Crunchy Chicken said...

It's clear they have no intention of correcting this situation by apologizing and backing down.

Instead they are backpedaling and digging themselves a deeper hole. I don't think too many people are falling for it.

My recommendation for them is to cut their losses and move on. They can't enforce this trademark and, as far as I can discern, it's currently just a registered service mark rather than a full trademark that can still be challenged. In the meantime they are losing a ton of supporters.

Crunchy Chicken said...

JBB - Why did they just take down the Path to Freedom Facebook page? There weren't any threats in there, just people disagreeing with their actions.

All these deletions smack of Chinese communication tactics.

Liberal Lucy said...

I think they should just trademark the phrase "Self-destruct". In less than one day, literally hundreds, possibly thousnads of people have decided to pull their support. You would think they would just man up and do the right thing. Nope, instead they delete all fo the comments and pages, and make lame ass excuses.

I said it before on several posts, I'll say it again here. OVER MY DEAD BODY will I cite them and direct MY web traffic to them when using hte term(s) urban homesteading and urban homesteads... they wanna fight? FINE...bring it on but they had better be prepared to pay my legal fees and damages when I kick their asses in court.

Lauren said...

I agree. I have been quietly following this whole thing from when they first posted that comment on fb regarding the "death threats" to now on their web site and your blog.

I have not really spent much time on their "Path to Freedom" site because they seemed self-righteous to me right from the start. I found it annoying how they wanted you to pay for information that could be found free elsewhere if you looked and how they were always asking for money.

While they have a pretty impressive set up it isn't unique in my own opinion. LOTS and LOTS of people are doing and have been doing the same thing. I always think back to the pioneers and homesteading. It was a way of life... no trademarking that.

Their self-righteous stance as to why they trademarked the words Urban Homestead and Urban Homesteading is rather offensive. And yes. I imagine if we all lived in a "community" of four adults and no children we could do the same "wonderful" things that they do. The trade marks on the other words don't bother me because it is (more) uniquely their's but when or where will it stop for them?

I also agree that they need to protect their intellectual property in the sense of people stealing and using their pictures and unique ideas and web site copy as their own without proper reference. We all need to guard ourselves from that. But the words urban homesteading and urban homestead aren't their's to guard and keep. So what if others use that concept to make a profit. Clearly Path to Freedom is all about profit... It isn't as if a bunch of urban homesteads are raising up and calling themselves "Path to Freedom Urban Homesteads" and cutting into this non-profits business...

Wendy said...

Ha! I've always referred to my little piece of paradise as a "sub"urban homestead. Now, I'm glad I did, because it would be a pain in the ass to have to go back through my blog archives and make sure I wasn't violating their trademark.

Such a shame. I wonder if they realize how much of the non-traditional homesteading community they have just alienated.

By the way, I have an alternative to the trademarked term. I often call my suburban homestead my "nanofarm." It's not trademarked ;).

P.S. For all their talk about not wanting a "corporation" to own the term, we all do realize that the Dervaes Institute is a "tax exempt corporation", right? Fine lines often get crossed.

homesteader said...

Since one of my blogs is http://quinceurbanhomestead.blogspot.com/, I wonder if I am on violation? I guess I really do not give a crap either, since while this may not be received well, I am a Libertarian at heart, so imho, they can have the name when they pry from my cold dead hands.
Path to Freedom my a$$

Farmer's Daughter said...

Wow, where have I been?

I remember looking at their site once a few years ago and thinking it was an odd family, couldn't tell who was who, thinking it was some kind of compound.

Anyway, since I'm not urban I never went back. Seems I haven't missed anything too valuable. The "begging for donations" that people described here in the comments would have turned me off quickly anyway.

Chile said...

It is not at all surprising that they are digging their heels in. The book I referenced in my post about this explains this - it has to do with cognitive dissonance and self-justification.

Once someone has adopted a strong position, it doesn't matter how many facts are presented to show their position is based on erroneous information. In fact, showing them facts will likely just make them stick to their belief even more strongly.

It's not rational, it's not logical, but it's how the brain works. Thank about politicians who have refused to change their stand despite copious evidence they are wrong. Think about the peak oil and climate change deniers. It brings a whole new light to what's going on in those cases.

lisa said...

There's this weird phenomenon with women in business:

They don't give each other a hand up. Oh, the fellas do all the time. The hire their fraternity brothers, their friends, etc. they all help each other sprint up the ladder.

Not women.

One theory (or at least My theory) is that there are too few spots for women. If I help a sistah out, she is going to vie for my very precious position soon.

When those guys started their homestead, they were just trying to feed themselves. Now, however, they have a market. And they are a the TOP of the ladder. So they are kicking out the lower rungs. With power comes greed, with greed comes unreasonable actions.

One word:

Karma

Lesa McMahon {Homeschool For Free} said...

they are still on twitter...

did you see they are trademarking Urban HomeStand?

ugh! what the heck?!

Lesa McMahon {Homeschool For Free} said...

http://twitter.com/#!/urbanhomestead

Anonymous said...

If they really did trademark it to protect it from corporations, then I would expect them to 'let' the little people use it without issue...the bloggers, facebookers, libraries, etc....

Shame on them, they have just alienated a HUGE group of their supporters and admirers. I for one.

Someone ought to update their wiki page with the new happenings (I'm just not a very good writer).....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Path_to_Freedom

Anonymous said...

LOL, I bet they never thought it would lead to anger and isolation. Ah well...Ghandi said “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed” However, I say, easy come easy go...If a term can't be used freely it disappears from the collective vocabulary. When that happens the Dervaes will disappear along with it. You get what you earn, thats karma.

Dmarie said...

*BIG sigh* joined the FB page. thx for bringing this issue to light, Crunchy.

Susan said...

It is much like Susan Komen going up against every volunteer organization that uses the phrase "for the cure" in their title. Which to me means corporate bullcrap! We have to ask ourselves what is really important and to stand behind those who have the passion, financial gains excluded:)

Susan said...

As far as changing the use of "urban homesteading" I don't think anyone should do a darn thing. The DeVours don't have enough money to fight everyone with attorneys so they'll conceid defeat:)

Kate said...

I think it's their systematic shutting down of every avenue of communication that cements my opinion of the Dervaes. They don't like what they're hearing from people. It doesn't support their worldview. Rather than entertain any doubts about that worldview in light of messages from people who have supported them in the past, they simply refuse to listen. And then, to put the icing on the cake, they misrepresent why they shut down their pages - for "database upgrades," and because they couldn't bear to subject their friends to nasty comments from justly upset people. Please.

This is a family that has begged for money for years. And yet, somehow they have enough spare time to trawl the internet looking for people who have "infringed" on their newly acquired legal right to a privatized piece of the commons. It sickens me to think of all the monetary donations given in goodwill that are now paying for the Dervaeses to act like a corporate goon squad. Ask their donors - is this what you wanted to support?

I say, use the terms urban homestead, and urban homesteading - liberally and without attribution. And I say to the Dervaeses: molon labe.

Wendy said...

@Kate - What's even more interesting is that all of their "other" websites - all of the places where they've had, perhaps, not quite so "mainstream" ideologies (like the Sword of Joshua and the hidden years) are gone. If you google them these websites will come up in a search, but http://thehiddenyears.org is now linked to their main website. What's up with that? What are they, now, hiding that they were so willing to share only a few days ago?

fullfreezer said...

With their trademark of GROW THE FUTURE, I wonder if they sent President Obama a cease and desist letter since he used it liberally in the State of the Union Address.
Now THAT would be interesting.
Judy

Anonymous said...

really disappointing. i dont understand why they would do this. i really hope they come to their senses and remove this trademark/copyright nonsense. they are really pissing off everyone.

Kerrick said...

Hi, folks, I updated the wikipedia article—please check it out and correct anything I got wrong (but please also maintain neutral tone as much as possible). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Path_to_Freedom

Here's a link to the archived version of the Hidden Years/Sword of Joshua website for further information: http://web.archive.org/web/20080310011302/http://thehiddenyears.org/

I don't really care to see them personally criticized about their beliefs; a lot of us urban homesteaders (oops, did I just say that?) have beliefs the mainstream considers wacky. But you have the right to know about any organization's other activities BEFORE you support them.

Patent This! said...

They are trying to hide the fact that Jules Dervaes is a freak! I read some of those ramblings on his other pages and they really confirm my suspicion of cult-like activities. No surprise they have taken that stuff down, they didn't have all there ducks in a row to be able to stir the pot. Once stirred, your background and character all come out. This is common in politics.

Wendy said...

Just for the record, I wasn't trying to criticize their belief system in pointing out that some of the formerly public information about them had seemed to disappear, but only to point out that they now seem to be hiding something that before they freely shared.

Anonymous said...

In case it's deleted, you have to see this from theHiddenYears blog:

June 12, 1995

Dear Mr. Tkach:

A few years ago, I could not have written any letter to you as it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for me to have felt any Christian sentiments upon hearing that you were ill. And, even now, there is a struggle inside me to concern myself with your condition in any meaningful way that would help you out during this time.

I would rather let this be a short superficial note without having to go into any depth about anything or without having to deal with the real issues of life that should concern us all. In this particular case, I have an even harder time because I still wrestle with the bitterness in me toward you for the changes that occurred in my life over the recent years.

The anger still wells up inside when I mentally relive the events leading up to the disfellowshipping of my former husband, Jules Dervaes. It’s there again when I recall that NO MINISTER in the WCG ever cared to address in any meaningful way the letters he wrote about the Laodicean Era. Yet, some of these men have left the Church over the same reasoning.

Not having the FAITH in God that I should have had and not developing a real marriage relationship through true SUBMISSION to my ex-husband, I tired of this whole Laodicean message when it affected me personally and, as I viewed it, adversely. What I failed to realize is that NOT dealing with the Laodicean message AS IT AFFECTS ME PERSONALLY is what will affect me adversely, not the other way around.

Maybe you will remember me as the woman who could hold a banner with Jules Dervaes one month, then switch sides and run to the ***’s the next, saying that Jules Dervaes was wrong. The years since have been turbulent ones for me, for after being disfellowshipped, divorce from Mr. Dervaes soon followed. I had squandered, and then eventually, lost my position as his wife, something I never dreamed could happen even though I knew I harbored a secret rebellion toward him and his values for years.

There has been, and continues to be, much to change in my life; and one of the most important changes I need to make is to try to become and stay committed to the truth or a person even when doing so brings personal suffering. As Mr. Dervaes has tried to teach me, we all will have to suffer; but to suffer for one’s sins and foolish choices is human; to suffer for doing right—godly. And since I have always avoided feeling the pain necessary for growth even humanly, I subsequently lost many opportunities to learn the lessons in life that I could have.

Anonymous said...

(part II)

Because we still subscribe to The PLAIN TRUTH and read the Pasadena Star News, we are aware of the doctrinal changes, the “splits,” and the financial turmoil within the Church. We also know about the former WCG ministers who have recently started separate churches. But Mr. Dervaes has consistently taught us (his four children and me) that there is no other place (church) to go.

He has also always believed that God has allowed you to sit in Moses’ seat for His purposes. Thus, it is not up to any man to challenge that position with a counter “church.” This understanding helps us to deal with the unpleasant events and wrong feelings when we realize that what has transpired since ‘86 was all a part of God’s plan and that there are lessons to be learned that could not have been taught any other way.

There is now an opportunity within the Dervaes family to make amends for my non-committed, faithless nature by submitting to a higher cause and working toward a purpose outside myself. But this, along with the damage that I have caused in my family’s life, will take a lifetime to redress.

I gave you a little background to help you understand where I’m coming from and where I’m headed. This now brings me to the hardest part of this letter and why I am writing: Your illness is God’s way of getting your attention. He tried to warn you gently through Mr. Dervaes’ letters to Laodicea and then with the banners.

Later, not even the financial and doctrinal crises were enough to awaken you. But now you have a chance to respond to him correctly through this critical time.

God demands two things from us before He will heal us-faith and obedience. What EVERYONE is lacking today are faith and obedience. I am praying that you will respond to God’s merciful chastening before it is too late.

In Christian love,

Mignon Rubio

Tovah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crunchy Chicken said...

Please, people, leave the personal or religious comments out of this conversation. It's not exactly pertinent. The main issue can stand on its own without pulling in other stuff unrelated to it. Thx

Chile said...

Wonder how their business site (Dervaes Gardens) is doing? It will be interesting to see if they lose commercial customers, such as restaurants, as a result of the negative press.

Ang said...

I find the whole thing distasteful. I came across their blog a couple of years ago, and found it a little too cultish for my liking. I think that anyone who trademarks a common use phrase is full of themselves... after all, I've heard path to freedom, urban homesteading, and several other of their "trademarked" phrases being used for years by a multitude of people for a plethora of uses. If they had come up with a new phrase or even a new spelling, I could see trademarking that, but what's next? They try to trademark the word "blog", then send out C&D letters to other people using that word? I think this whole thing will be their downfall, and I, for one, will be glad to see their online presence diminish.

Suz W said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/5776991/The-Dervaeses-of-Pasadena-poster-family-for-greener-living.html

Jules says he has asked the children to put their romantic lives on hold 'until we can make a move’.

The move they are planning is to a larger piece of land where they can create a community of like-minded people. 'We want a couple of hundred acres and we anticipate a village of 60 families,’ Jordanne says. 'We want somewhere with mates and children,’ Anais says. 'And we want more bees,’ Justin says. This plan isn’t a mere fantasy – they have been making offers on properties for the past two years.

Jules, who has been listening to his children talk excitedly about the new venture, says he is considering buying 600 acres 'somewhere in South America, somewhere safe but isolated’. The financing of the project, which Jules estimates at several million dollars, will come from the 'villagers’ or future residents, who will each purchase their own individual homestead. The family’s income is currently about $40,000 (from sales of their produce and items on their websites plus donations to the Dervaes Institute, set up in 2006 to support the Dervaeses’ mission), but not nearly enough to finance a utopian vision.

Jamie said...

From the Denver Urban Homesteading website:
BREAKING NEWS: OUR FACEBOOK PAGE DISABLED BY FACEBOOK FOR ALLEGED COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. FAMILY IN CALIFORNIA CLAIMS TO OWN TRADEMARK ON "URBAN HOMESTEADING" AND "URBAN HOMESTEAD" AND THEY ARE SHUTTING DOWN FACEBOOK PAGES, WEBSITES AND BLOGS ACROSS THE LAND THAT USE THESE PHRASES. FAMILY INSISTS PEOPLE USING THESE PHRASES MUST CREDIT THEM. FAMILY HAS INCORPORATED AS A CHURCH, A CHURCH OF URBAN HOMESTEADING. EPIC BATTLE IS UNDERWAY AND WE ARE WORKING WITH AUTHORS OF HOMESTEADING BOOKS AND OWNERS OF URBAN HOMESTEADING PROJECTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO RESOLVE THIS MATTER.
http://www.denverurbanhomesteading.com/

I've always been uncomfortable with Facebook and their "act now, ask questions later" policy of page removals. Denver UH as well as the Institute of Urban Homesteading in California ( http://www.iuhoakland.com/index.html ) have both lost their facebook pages and both of them were using facebook as on of the primary (or only) means of online community interaction (their websites are pretty icky, no offense, so I understand why).

I haven't seen much in the way of an "epic battle" as the Denver UH posted, but perhaps it's going on behind the scenes. If anyone has anything more concrete, I'd like to know, this is an issue I can definitely get behind.

Greenpa said...

I was a tad surprised no one has mentioned here the fact that PERMACULTURE® - is also a registered trademark, and they used, at least, to enforce it. It seems to have escaped into much more common usage. Anybody familiar with the history and current situation there?

FARMcurious said...

Someone shared an interesting trademark link and made this great comment on my blog that I thought was worth sharing:

"http://www.publaw.com/article/fair-use-of-trademarks/

and particularly this passage:

A trademark owner by choosing a descriptive term as its trademark must live with the result that an author remains free to write about or use the trademark in its “primary” or descriptive sense. Legal doctrine defines fair use of a trademark as the “reasonable and good faith use of a descriptive term that is another’s trademark to describe rather than to identify the user’s goods, services or business”."

Keep fighting the good fight, you guys! They don't have a leg to stand on legally!
-Nicole


http://www.farmcurious.com/trademarks-patents-thieves-oh-my/

Patent This! said...

Just in from the Dervaes' camp...

"February 17, 2011
Dear Readers
0
Posted by Dervaes

We apologize to the readers & supporters who, out of a misinformed few, have been stuck in the middle of this unfortunate situation.

We thank those who have kept a level head in this and we appreciate your patience & understanding

Regarding the “shutdown,” we are sensitive that some people (our friends and supporters) did not deserve the ugly and mean treatment we are getting. So, we sought to protect and spare them the assault and dirt slinging they were receiving by being caught in the middle.

It such a virulent atmosphere and we are receiving harassing emails, comments and calls. Don’t believe everything you read. The internet is full of information and false rumors not a kind battlefield

For those who have cared to ask our side to this we thank you. It’s sad to see that many have not had the common courtesy."

What? Did I read a threat in there?

Crunchy Chicken said...

Many of us asked for their side of the story and, rather than answering the questions, they just shut down all forms of communication.

If they were truly interested in sharing their side they would leave comments open on their blog posts. It's rather difficult to get their side of the story if:

1. We can't ask them
2. They don't answer them

Patent This! said...

Dervaes' camp says there will be a press release.

http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/2011/02/17/we-are-urban-homesteaders/

Cindy said...

I think the main problem here is the Dervaes is trying to use the term URBAN HOMESTEAD as if it was a unique idea or concept they formally developed....now if they had trademarked "The Dervaes Method of Urban Homesteading" or " The Dervaes' Urban Homestead" then theres a clear distinction between what they have done specicically. They also have to define it, as in what makes their homestead unique or so successful, by at least including their name. But by trademarking such a broad term then trying to have everyone recognize it they not only piss people off but theres no real definition in the phrase ya know? for example: Theres the Lamaze method, Bradley Method, Hypnobirthing, etc. if the trademark was just " birth assistance" or "labor support" or something that broad there would be issues of practically any woman who isnt laboring in complete isolation falling into that catagory, if she is following a 'method' at all or not. A trademark needs to be SPEICIFIC and DEFINED in order to set it apart from anything else that is similar.

bookflutterby said...

Ahem. This just in on the Urban Homestead (insert copyright symbol thing)
This morning after a long day and bad (fitful) night, Jordanne, feeling very low and crying over the stress and strain of the last 24 hours, was sitting on the back porch watching Fairlight & Blackberry.

Fairlight had found a piece of newspaper; before the goat had a chance to digest the news, these words leaped out to Jordanne from this chewed up piece of paper which said:

“…the issue isn’t whether people have a right to believe dangerously idiotic things. Of course they do; there’s no way to stop them. The issue is whether people have the right to act on their bizarre fantasies..”

Unfortunately, this situation has gotten completely out of hand. It’s been falsely reported that we are shutting down and suing blogs, schools, libraries – this is not true.! We will not [nor it is our intention to] squelch the use of Urban Homestead or Urban Homesteading nor will we go about hindering this movement by those who are living the lifestyle.

We are Urban Homesteaders and appreciate those who are lending their actions and words of support. We are extremely grateful and we encourage others to spread this lifestyle with pride.

Please stay tuned for an official press release.
- from the Dervaes family website-
Path to Freedom.

Now, I want to be fair and all...but...did they just call us all idiots?

Beth said...

I'm really concerned about how quickly this has gained momentum. Moving masses as large as this takes skill, thoughtful planning and reservation. Too many emotions are coming on strong and I really think this does more damage to the image of the "Urban Homesteading Movement" than good.

The Dervaes family would do well by revoking their letters. The TM office probably should have never issued them the right, but that should really be taken up with them. In the meantime the Dervaes family lives off their foodstand, and will likely suffer blight from all of this. Projecting into the future in a worse case scenario one or several will have to abandon to find income sources elsewhere to deal with property taxes, water, electricity, etc. Some would argue that the Urban Homesteading movement's actions of ruining the Dervaes Homestead as justice for what they've done, but I think it's just retribution. Facebook should re-instate the pages that were taken down, give EVERYONE their livelihood back and move on.

A wiser man once said
“In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.”

So please people, act with caution, care, and re-evaluate what this controversy really means to you. Like many others, I hope they will act appropriately. No doubt they need some time (more than 24 hours) to get over their suffering and pain to sensibly evaluate their drive for controlling these words.

Chile said...

I find this confusing. First they send a letter, and post it on their website, saying nobody can use these terms without giving them credit. This reads as though they are trying to say, no no, that wasn't our intent. Well, if it wasn't, then why the heck did you send out a letter saying it was?!

Crunchy Chicken said...

Beth - I don't think anyone here (unless I missed a comment) is attempting anything to affect their livelihood. Most are just appalled at the temerity of these folks for registering common terms and trying to enforce them. It's foolishness at best.

If it ends up being bad for business it's because of their actions and not anyone else's.

Anonymous said...

But even their own website doesn't have (R) inserted after every phrase they want to register...

Tim said...

Six posts on their journal today. Almost embarrassing to watch them scramble like that. Whatever they end up doing, I think they need to step away from this whole thing for a while.

J. Walt Layne said...

D'you suppose anyone might object to the use of the term-
"Inner City Sod Buster" or "Suburban Squash Rancher", maybe just "intemperate, fearless, and inventive," like the Kinfolk.

jesus said...

Gotta love the fact that they just posted something on Plagiarism which a clear cut and paste from a site that they link to but DO NOT give credit to.

http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/2011/02/17/what-is-plagiarism/

Crunchy Chicken said...

These guys give homeschoolers a bad name.

Kristijoy said...

Story up now on Good:
http://www.good.is/post/can-pasadena-farmers-trademark-the-term-urban-homestead/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+good%2Flbvp+%28GOOD+Main+RSS+Feed%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

Chile said...

Ok, this has been bugging me all day every time I see reference to them claiming this is to protect the term from big bad corporations. In the letter they sent to Google, they are identified as such:


1. Complainant's Information
Name:
Company name: Dervaes Institute
Full legal name of the copyright holder: Dervaes Institute A Corporation Sole
Country of residence: US


Um, a sole corporation is still a corporation. They are what they claim to be protecting all of us poor urban homesteaders from.

Rivenfae said...

a new article on it:

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2011/02/trademark_dervaes_urban_homesteading_fight_institute_of_urban_homesteading.php

Willow said...

I think it is worth considering leaving the term "homestead" behind. We are having this discussion at the Co-op where I work and this is a good thumbnail sketch of why we are considering this: http://www.urbanfarmhub.org/2010/05/deep-rooted-thoughts-the-inferences-of-homestead/

Sonya said...

Permaculture isn't trademarked - well not in Australia that is - I believe Bill Mollison was pretty adamant that wasn't going to happen, its a word owned freely by people who've done a PDC - you can use the word in your business (designing, teaching, public speaking, doing) if you've done a PDC - and people tend to get shot down pretty quick if they go off on a tangent

Lauren said...

I tell you one thing. I have certainly read a lot of interesting comments, visited a lot of interesting and new web sites, and saw a lot of passion over the last two days regarding this issue.

Willow. That article was extremely interesting about why to give up the word homestead all together... food for thought.

That doesn't mean I think that the Dervaes family should or will win this one but a part of me is beginning to feel quite sorry for them. Completely blinded by their belief in what they are doing belongs to them alone... they have isolated themselves and I do feel very very sorry for them and their blindness.

Chile said...

Their press release is now online. They continue to try to spin this but when you read it, make sure to remember this came from their mouths, not the press. Press release

Rosa said...

Willow, that'a a great article.

I will say, "heritage" probably just refers back to "heritage breeds" and other non-hybrid non-GMO ag products. These traditional skills are human heritage and at least around here there's a lot of interest in locally historical plants and skills - which here means Lakota/Ojibwe as well as European, Asian, African and African-American, and Central American indigenous immigrants.

Bham Meg said...

Their blog still has comments disabled, but their latest post directs people to their press release on yahoo.com, where comments ARE enabled. I'm not usually a sh*t-stirrer, but I would like to see a LOT more comments there. And then see if the D's unlink themselves from their own press release.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnw/20110218/pl_usnw/DC50891


I am an urban homesteader!

Anonymous said...

What about all those pictures on their blog they use that are not theirs? Old canning posters and pictures, pictures of Little House on the Prairie, and many others. That's copyright issues there. I hope the true owners of those pictures find them on their site without the proper credit, acknowledgment, or permission to use them on their blog.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Looks like they are backpedaling. They changed their response to this question on their blog FROM:

But I want to write about my urban homestead -- can I not use or refer to "Urban Homesteading" or "Urban Homestead" in my blog?

"If you aren't using it to make money and are simply documenting your life or sharing your infomration, 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.

URBAN HOMESTEAD®

URBAN HOMESTEADING®

Thank you in advance for respecting our legally protected intellectual property rights. If you have been supportive of our ten-year online work in the past, we appreciate very much your continued support.

If you have any questions regarding the use of Dervaes materials or trademarks, please contact us at (626) 795-8400. We would be glad to provide you with more details."

TO (this is the new stuff):

"If you aren't using it to make money and are simply documenting your life or sharing your journey or information, this would be fine. In fact, we encourage it. If you want to label a for-profit endeavor or business with the term, we ask that you contact us first.

Thank you in advance for respecting our legally protected intellectual property rights. If you have been supportive of our ten-year online work in the past, we appreciate very much your continued support.

If you have any questions regarding the use of Dervaes materials or trademarks, please contact us at (626) 795-8400. We would be glad to provide you with more details."

So now usage in the common parlance is apparently okay by them without a trademark reference.

Chile said...

That's a step forward but it still impacts those people that use "urban homestead" in their businesses, books, or conduct classes on UH. The Dervaes did not invent UH and still should not have a trademark on the term.

doats said...

These folks have clearly lost the plot. Shame on them. On the upside though, I found your blog through the Facebook group trying to end their insanity.

Casey said...

So I was staying nuetral on this and giving the Dervaes' the benefit of the doubt, BUT then they went and posted about plagarism. have to tell you it really pissed me off! been following these folks for about five years. I think what they have done is amazing, but seriously who the hell do they think they are??? They created these terms??? These terms that have been around for decades and they stand there and lecture US about plagarizing.
they officially lost me. I am deleting them from everything. ANd I have actually foolishly bought from their store in the past...unknowingly supporting this kind of behaviour. Wont happen again. Their arrogance takes my breath away.

brad said...

I'm going to start using, "Urbane Homestead", or possibly, "urbano" which I think is Esperanto for "city dweller."

I'm also trying to trademark, "cease and desist" so use it while you can.

(we say)

#SustainHillbillity
#GrannyTech
#UrbaneHomesteader

Laura @ Our Wee Farm said...

Hi there, I've been trying to find out if this is supposed to be a world wide patented TM or just a US one? Or understand how it even works!
I mean if it's just a US one how do they expect to make people outwith the US use it the way they want it.
Does this make sense?

Crunchy Chicken said...

It's a U.S. trademark. I don't know how they can honestly make people inside the U.S. adhere to it.

arlene said...

I have sent them a letter asking them to please explain themselves. The gall is unbelievable, more so their legal ability to do what they've done. Just like Monsanto who contaminates farmer's fields with their GMO seed then sues the farmer for using their seed without a license. How this insanity passes for law boggles the mind! I am an urban farmer with a company called The Backyard Urban Farm Company and I'm feeling very worried about being able to use the term in the future. Should I too trademark the term so I will be able to use it in my company name? I understand their desire to protect their hard work from corporate goons but if their integrity was truly in the right place they would be allowing anyone who homesteads to use the term without having to credit them! Chutzpah to the MAX!

Laura @ Our Wee Farm said...

thanks Crunchy! You're right, of course, I have no idea how they can enforce it.
just as an aside they have now changed what they said yesterday to
"But I want to write about my urban homestead -- can I not use or refer to "Urban Homesteading" or "Urban Homestead" in my blog?
If you aren't using it to make money and are simply documenting your life or sharing your journey or information, this would be fine. In fact, we encourage it. If you want to label a for-profit endeavor or business with the term, we ask that you contact us first. "

see how they are saying it would be ok to use the phrases in a blog now!
( with thanks to Tammy who found this!)

Hazel said...

Laura, I think Australia may use the term homestead, but Europe doesn't, and nor I imagine Africa or Asia.
The rest of continental Europe has their own languages and in the UK we call them smallholdings

So here in the UK at any rate it's not applicable even if there was an attempt for international TM.

Carrie Mills said...

Jules Dervaes lists himself at julesdervaes.com as the founder of the urban homestead movement. How? This guy DID NOT invent this.

Tim said...

Well, the comments are still enabled for their YouTube channel. They're getting brutalized over there.

David said...

The EFF just got involved: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/02/riding-fences-urban-homestead-trademark-complaints

rebecca said...

have you asked the Dervaes family directly about this?

they are saying that they did not send out the cease and desist letters, and that they are very upset that it happened. it's probably worth talking to them before mobilizing the internet.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Rebecca - I've emailed them twice, left messages on Facebook (which they shut down), left messages on their website (comments since closed) and have heard nothing back from them. They don't answer the phone.

Stephanie Alice Rogers said...

You know, here's one thing I find really funny about this whole flap: for years, I noticed that on their website and blog, they had images from istockphoto that have the little white X over them indicating that the images are screenshots and were not paid for. It looks like they stopped doing this since the most recent redesign, but the clearly unpaid images were up for a long time. And they're going on about intellectual property rights and plagiarism? Egads.

Midnightsky Fibers said...

They are using trademarks and trademark symbols wrong- would think they would have checked that before they started threatening people with letters....

Path to freedom- not their trademark!(abandoned) http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4004:6gnp6e.4.2

(not a lawyer)

Midnightsky Fibers said...

(whoops, trademark website doesn't like to save searches- but you can look up the trademark by searching on http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/index.jsp under "search marks")

anisaschell said...

Oy - see what happens when I don't check in regularly. Thank you so much for posting all this. This is so heart breaking to me and kind of scary. The actions they have taken just screams MONEY to me. Certainly no illusion of protecting the community from big corporations.

I signed the petition and hope that things change.

It's already hurting us in Denver. Our (ONLY) indoor farmers market run by a small business call Denver Urban Homesteaders had their FB page taken down - their only marketing tool. It got some press, but not much. I heard through a very long grapevine about it and I know the owner!

I just feel sick about all this really. :(

anisaschell said...

Oy - see what happens when I don't check in regularly. Thank you so much for posting all this. This is so heart breaking to me and kind of scary. The actions they have taken just screams MONEY to me. Certainly no illusion of protecting the community from big corporations.

I signed the petition and hope that things change.

It's already hurting us in Denver. Our (ONLY) indoor farmers market run by a small business call Denver Urban Homesteaders had their FB page taken down - their only marketing tool. It got some press, but not much. I heard through a very long grapevine about it and I know the owner!

I just feel sick about all this really. :(

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