Today it was announced that CanonFilmmakers.com, the very informative resource created by Cristinai Valdivieso and Jon Connor, is being forced down (supposedly) by Canon. Naturally, we in the filmmaking community are saddened. When people put so much hard work into something like this, it hurts and is frustrating to see it wasted. Especially when a big corporate giant is doing the taking down. I especially know how much hard work something like this takes. My hats off to Jon and Cristina for all they have done (and do). But I want to offer an alternate way to look at this….
I’ve seen lots of comments on their blog post today blasting Canon, saying this hurts and alienates their user base. (Which is hard to believe. Are any of your really going to stop using Canon DSLRs because of this?). Other people were asking why would Canon do this just to protect a trademark. Having worked at a large corporation myself and working very closely with the legal department, I understand that this issue is way more than just protecting a trademark (although that is part of it). By having such a largely followed site bear the name of a major corporation, and since that site offers advice and resources related to what that corporation does, the argument could be made that the site could be confused as something endorsed and sponsored by Canon. That means anything Jon or Cristina do or say on that site could be construed by some people as coming from Canon. I’ll bet you a million dollars, that is the biggest concern of Canon.
Secondly, imagine if someone used your trademarked name, even for good, in a way you didn’t approve. How would you feel? Canon may actually one day want to use CanonFilmmakers.com, and by law they should be allowed to do that. If you wanted to start a website with your trademarked name, how would you feel if someone else had it. As artists, we all can understand and relate to that.
Don’t take this at all as a criticism against Jon and Cristina. I consider them friends and greatly appreciate all they do. I just want to offer a different perspective and hopefully cool some collars.
Jon and Cristina, I would implore you to export your content and re-import it into a new blog. There’s no reason why you need to stop. There are a million names you can come up with. Yes this is a set back. And obviously a hard lesson. But I for one encourage you to keep it up. (Unless for some reason you’re ready to do something different, which I could understand too).
Whatever or not you do, know that I sincerely appreciate what you have contributed to this community in such a short period of time. You two are heroes.
DISCLAIMER: For the record, I am not sponsored or endorsed by Canon. This is just me doing what I do. Trying to offer a different look at a tough situation.
Carl Olson says
Ron, while I don’t have particulars on this case, and I do understand the need to protect a trademark (I own trademarks myself), I do think Canon is missing a good PR opportunity here. I believe they could have worked something out with Jon & Cristina. I believe the suits at Canon need to read Gary Vaynerchuk’s The Thank You Economy. Canon really should have been in the forefront of sponsoring Jon & Cristina’s Canon Filmmakers Live events that were so poplular.
While I understand your point and agree in principle, I do believe that Canon may have been heavy handed and manage to give themselves a black eye in the HDSLR community. Will we stop using their cameras? No. However, the HDSLR community’s loyalty to Canon is dinged.
So what’s next? Is Canon going to go after all the other websites and online communities with Canon in their name?
Ron Dawson says
You make a great point Carl. And I can emotionally connect with what you’re saying. But I also know how legal departments in companies like this think.
I don’t know how Canon went about doing this. I would hope they would look at this as an opportunity to connect with Jon and Cristina, maybe even sponsor them. Who knows. Maybe J & C can talk to them about that too. We shall see.
Dan Rollins says
That is sad, I too understand the reason but I would have a least liked to see Canon throw some money their way for being such great cheerleaders for Canon. I wonder how many people decided to purchase Canon gear as a result of the positive influence of the website? In light of the recent press about the dude auctioning social.com for a starting price of $5million, I would think Canon could have at least purchased the domain from them for some good cash, and then offered to help them get the name out for their new domain (assuming they continue under another name). Sorta like the Apple deal with the Velcro video, that brought great visibility to Jesse Roston for a while.
At the very least… Canon should send them a thank you card with a coupon for gear.
Thanks for the post Ron!
Ron Dawson says
I’m sure J & C have to be hush, hush now for legal reasons, so we don’t know what Canon may or may not do. But these are great ideas. If I were Canon, I would take this opportunity to come out a hero and do something really nice for them.
rodolfo vazquez says
I understand they are closing down “canonfilmmakers” but what is going to happen to “canonrumors” since it still has their Canon name involved. Although I do understand that this other website is for rumors rather than resources…
Ron Dawson says
That’s a good question. I haven’t the vaguest idea.