The book I'm currently reading and plan to review for you is one that I'm finally getting around to, The Urban Homestead, by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen. Prima facie, it looks like it's going to be a good book, but regardless of which way the review goes, I'm not sure you'll be able to buy it much longer. Even though they originally published years ago (I'm reading the 2010 edition, but I think they originally published in 2007), they may not be able to sell it shortly. It looks like the Dervaes family of Pasadena has trademarked the words 'urban homestead' and 'urban homesteading'. I've read they've already sent cease and desist letters to a public library that was offering urban homesteading classes and Facebook has shut down many Facebook pages once they were informed of the trademark. I can't seem to find any real concrete facts about what happened, but I can report that there is quite the brouhaha brewing over this turn of events, and folks are plenty angry about it, and rightly so.
I think that the real shame in all of this lies with a judicial system that allows entities to trademark or patent things that should remain in the public domain, like ideas or concepts, rather than just sticking to products that they actually own.
It's a shame also that the Dervaeses felt compelled to take out these trademarks which are earning them incredible enmity from a wide audience. Oh, and by they way, I think I have to properly credit them with urban homesteading and link to them to make sure I don't get myself in trouble. I'm not even sure that will work. Let me be clear that I am not trying to make any money with the two words used together; I'm just trying to point out that it's a sad thing in this country when a concept gets trademarked so that others can't use it. It's also sad that just when a movement was starting to really get off the ground, someone who you'd think would be nurturing the movement and leading the way, seems to want to monopolize it, which is a sure way to slow it down, if not grind it to a halt.
I used to be able to think of myself as an urban homesteader, but not anymore.
Oh wait! I don't think they trademarked 'urban homesteader'! I might just be alright here.
I'm not even sure how I feel about all this. Just one more thing in a long list of wrongs.
This was another wrong.