with business conference organisators Eyeforenergy
Eye For Eyeforenergy
Eyeforenergy wants A SEED to remove a parody of their logo from our website. But who the fuck do they think they are? Why do we have this logo on our site? And why aren't they as 'unbiased' as the say? The full story:
emails Eyeforenergy to Host Antenna:
email conversation between A SEED and Eyeforenergy:
Eye for (an) Eye: Defamation and Illegal practices in perspective
On the Tuesday the 23rd April, A SEED received a phone call from Eyeforenergy asking us to remove their logo from our website, citing the reason that we were using their logo illegally and hence contravening trademark laws in the EU and Europe.
Next day, wednesday
the 24th of April, they contacted our webserver Antenna, by phone and
a lot of emails. If the logo isn't removed within one day they will start
a legal action which may result in both our and other Antenna sites being
shut down, 'until the problem is sorted out.' And at the end of this email
shamelessly try to show their good intentions towards the world: "This
would end up not only taking down A SEED's presence on the web, but no
doubt other non-profits as well. It would seem that would be counterproductive
to the aims of the organizations you support."
At this moment we are searching for information about this issue and what rights and choices we have. Quite a few people have been helpful, and for our 'problem' we have received different kinds of advice. Another problem is that we don't have money (and don't have people and time) for a court case. For now we removed the pictures from our host, Antenna. They support us but don't have money for a court case either. Instead of hosting the pictures at Antenna we just have links to other places, so the site still looks the same. This will change the legal situation, but we aren't safe yet (see case Deutsche Bahn against Xs4all and Indymedia.nl). Our argument against Eyeforenergy is this is satire and not their logo. As long as you don't use this for making profits, this has never been a problem. But whatever happens afterwards, we will make sure Eyeforenergy will get some bad publicity because of this. (Ha, Ha)
Eyeforenergy maintains that it is unbiased and neutral regarding the issue of carbon trading as a solution to climate change and organises such conferences due to it being a topical issue within the energy sector. They expressed their concern about our use of their logo saying that it is not they that should be targeted but rather the participants of their conferences. Moreover they fear that our negative use of their logo will have implications for their image and hence the profits which 'they work so hard for'. They are after all a business.
Yet their business is effectively facilitating the promotion of carbon trading regardless of how neutral they claim to be. Moreover, by bringing together people in meetings such as this, they may well be doing more than the participants themselves in institutionalising this pseudo solution. In this sense they are part of the core problem just as much as the corporations that are the main contributors to climate change. Therefore in our view claiming to be unbiased is just an excuse and a failure by Eyeforenergy to look at the larger implications of carbon trading for social and environmental justice and a safe future for our planet.
Eyeforenergy is part of a larger conference organising company, which also has an EYE for other lucrative opportunities such as EyeforTRANSPORT and EyeforCHEMICALs. Their assertions that our use of the logo and the content of the A SEED website as defamatory and illegal are from our point of view quite a contradiction. By helping to fudge the issue of climate change into something that can only be solved by market forces (i.e. carbon trading) and voluntary initiatives, they themselves can seen as acting illegally towards our planet and people who will be affected by climate change. We may have used their logo, but our content is far from untrue and illegal. Our analysis stems from a belief that these corporate pseudo solutions only benefits corporations and is part of the ongoing corporate driven globalisation of our planet, thus furthering global inequality and disempowering citizens.
EYE seemed overwhelmingly concerned about how our use of their logo could tarnish their image and even though the chance of one their customers coming across the A SEED website is relatively small they are willing to take us to court for criticising their business. In a fair and democratic world we have the right to express our opinions and criticise what we see necessary. Our 'misuse' of their logo may cause them some stress (as they themselves say) as they are in the business of making money. Yet they cause us stress by helping to sustain the destructive practices which threaten the long term well being of our planet. Simple excuses about supposedly being neutral will not suffice. Face up to the facts EYE. You are as deeply implicated as anyone else in the business of climate change is.
What EYE doesn't realise, is that they have now managed to catch the EYE of activists and other SERIOUSLY concerned people worldwide and could be in for a few more surprises in the future. They may be able to force us to remove their logo from our website but they can't stop us from protesting their business. Eye for an Eyeforenergy.
Thanks EYEing yourself out to us.......
We are really scared and intimidated now! We will NOT ask activists in North America to do an action during 'CO2 Trading 2002: The North American Market', the next conference organised by Eyeforenergy. This one takes place in Chicago from the 18th to the 20th of June. The programme and more details you can find on <www.eyeforenergy.com>. And we will NOT tell them that they can meet their networking corporate friends during the 'generously sponsored' Cocktail Party at June 19.
Emails from Eyeforenergy to Antenna
Date: Tue, 23 Apr
2002 16:05:36 +0100
We are the proprietors
of eyeforenergy.com, including the Eyeforenergy brand and the Eyeforenergy.com
logo, an example of which can be found here:
Date: Wed, 24 Apr
2002 11:00:03 +0100
Dear Antenna-- As my colleague mentioned, as ASEED's ISP you are legally culpable with them for trademark infringement upon receiving notification from us of their actions if you fail to rectify them. We have spoken with ASEED and believe that the logo will be taken down today. However if it is not, we will pursue legal action tomorrow which may result in both ASEED's site and your ISP being shut down until the problem is sorted out (as Bruno pointed out there is presidence for this in the european courts under who's jurisdiction you fall). This would end up not only taking down ASEED's presence on the web, but no doubt other non-profits as well. It would seem that would be counterproductive to the aims of the organizations you support.
I look forward to your assitance on this matter.
Allison Robertshaw, Director
A SEEDs email conversation with Eyeforenergy
on their emails to Antenna we wrote a short email to Sarah from Eyeforenergy
about the trademark issue and how we feel Eyeforenergy is facilitating
carbon trading. This text and the text she wrote back are included below.
A mate of hers also wrote back and this included too.
Jens Christiansen [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Hi Sarah, I thought I would follow up our phone call after having looked at your website(s) and realising that the EYE is not only for energy for but also for Eyeing up other business opportunites. So something I would like to ask you is if you have you got copyrights for all the different EYEs....or what is it you have a copyright for if you intend to possibly begin some form of legal procedure. Maybe you could even send us a form.
About EYE for Energy being neutral is easy for you to say, but for us, EYE is part of the problem as it is facilitating a process, which as ridiculous as it seems, is meant to be the main solution for saving our planet from climate change. EYEforE may have done some research to prove to yourselves that carbon trading may work and I would never discredit another persons analysis of a situation rather I am more interested in how their analysis was derived. If you follow the history of climate change negociations since its inception in 1992 you get to have a clearer picture of how fickle and deceptive the companies that you invite to your conferences actually are. From being staunch opponnents to any credible scientific proof of climate change they have now found the perfect way to look good while finding a way to make massive profits while at the same time managing to circumnavigate real commintements to challenging climate change. A quick look at 'green' petroleum companies such as BP and Shell show increases in oil production and exploration with small (less than 1%) in investment in renewable energies. These companies are both instigators of carbon trading schemes together with advice from Arthur Andersen (Shells consultant on climate issues) who have several scientists on their payroll within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 'Funnily' enough these scientists pushed for carbon trading to be a viable solution to climate change, and together with massive spin machines we have know come to the point where people and primarily politicians are talking this new language.
So i probably won't convince you why we oppose carbon trading or why we will oppose your company for being part of this problem. What i will say is that what you do may just be a job for you. what i do is what i believe in, it is my life, therefore i can call it my hobby. I have shaped my own analysis not only through looking at corporate solutions to climate change but looking at it from what it really means for people and planet. Not only do i believe that these solutions will fail, they will also aid the complete takeover of certain companies of the global energy sector and therefore being a process of neo-colonialism by giving northern companies and shareholders the benefits of energy trading and the outcome of any carbon trading regardless of the the supposed benefits for developing countries which they may derive from the kyoto protocol.
There are many forces at play here and it is not a black and white issue. To have to understand what the Kyoto protocol and carbon trading actually means in todays economic and political 'climate' one needs to look at how this issue overlaps with what the WTO and the World Bank is promoting. It should also not be seen in isolation from other UN conventions such the Convention on Biological diversity. I won't go into these issues but moreover speaking with and learning from several different people about climate change has made me reach the conclusion of why we must target companies complicit in this process in every way possible.
maybe you understand our position or not. For me it does not really
matter, after all it boils down to how we percieve the world and what
influences have made us perceive it the way we do. This is something
society unfortunately seems ignorant about in general, which is a shame,
a nice day, yours, jens christiansen
Wed, 24 Apr 2002 18:58:22 +0100
The Eyeforenergy name and logo is trademarked, meaning that you cannot use either without our permission. This is really the nuts and bolts of our dispute, but I will provide further clarification tomorrow when I've had a chance to consult our lawyers.
I would prefer to resolve this situation with common sense rather than lawyers. Quite simply, as I stated yesterday [by phone], we are asking that you remove the Eyeforenergy logo from your website as we have not given permission for it to be there. You should be aware that replacing the logo with defamatory text would be an infringement of libel laws.
Please remember that this dispute is professional rather than personal and my personal view on emissions trading is irrelevant here. However I think it might help you to better understand the role of Eyeforenergy if I ask you this:
Jeremy Paxman, a well known presenter on British television (BBC) invites a British cabinet minister, a leading member of the opposition party, a director from an oil major and a representative from Greenpeace, to debate the emergence of the UK emissions trading scheme on his respected BBC program, Newsnight.
Would A SEED or your affiliated organisations hold Jeremy Paxman or the BBC responsible for the emergence of the UK emissions trading scheme? Further, should Jeremy Paxman's personal views on emissions trading prevent him from hosting the debate?
I hope this better illustrates Eyeforenergy's position.
My other question is this:
Why did you not request
a press pass for the conference and actually listen to, and question,
what the speakers had to say in a rational manner? We allocated press
passes to Green Pepper in good faith - sadly I have reason to believe
that this faith was abused - but I can assure that
Had we been contacted by the action group in advance, we would even have been prepared to display their literature at the conference exhibition, ensuring that all delegates have the opportunity to read their concerns.
I genuinely, and this
is actually a personal opinion, question the logic and effectiveness of
your chosen style of campaigning. Having participated in various campaigns
myself in the past I have the advantage of being able to view the situation
from both sides, and both as an activist and
I have copied into this email a friend of mine who I know shares your concerns about climate change and who will agree with all of your points (in fact the two of you could be great friends), as I am interested to know if he also agrees with my point that as an independent conference organiser, Eyeforenergy is not part of the carbon trading market but merely a facilitator of debate. Maz - please feel free to comment!
That aside however (as it is really to satisfy my own curiosity) I trust you will arrange for the removal of the Eyeforenergy logo from your site ASAP.
Angelo Mazzeo <email@example.com>
fellow GREEN activist,
A good friend of mine Sarah Robinson who works for Eye for Energy is concerned about your impending direct action regarding sabotaging the ensuing environmental debate on climate change. I am a great believer in direct action but only in a proper thought out strategic way.
You should be concentrating your resources and targeting oil companies, logging firms, unethical governments and multinationals who have appalling environmental polices instead of a small independent events organiser that is doing its best to stimulate creative, intellectual conversation to bring about environmental awareness to the politicians we love to hate!
Think before you act,
what are your values, will your actions be welcomed by the masses and
media or will your perception by the public be one of distaste (this will
lower the reputation of all GREEN organisations). This is vital if your
organisation is to grow. Please don't get me wrong I
I know Sarah, she is concerned and passionate about climate change, so please think about your strategy, focus your strengths against the real perpetrators, it is why GREENPEACE is so successful.
I await with interest to your reply
PS Check out our web site, we must all compromise, intelligent debate is the only way forward, why do you think GREENPEACE now overlooks shells environmental policy, which btw is now the best oil company investing in renewable energy after the Brent spar direct action coup.
Dear Sarah and Maz,
I will reply to both of you as you Maz, have now been included in our ongoing logo loop. Moreover from your email's there is a need to explain our side of how we view the logo issue, the climate issue and the action issue. We at ASEED Europe do so because we are concerned about how some content of your email's seemed quite patronising. In turn we may sound a bit patronising and apologise for this.
We agree with you Sarah that we don't need lawyers. Moreover this is not a personal vendetta Maz, I am not sure where you got this from. We did an action at the Eyeforenergy conference for what we see as a good reason, which will be explained below.
Climate, eye for energy and the non existant debate
Sarah, you've maintained that EYE is neutral and then you gave Newsnight (yes Paxman is good) as an example of the role EYE plays. A SEED would not hold Paxman or the BBC as responsible for the emergence of the UK emissions trading scheme. At the same time Paxman and the BBC is not facilitating or promoting something, they are creating a debate. EYE is not creating a debate, it is through organising such conferences promoting this 'solution' more than many of your participants may be doing. Another look a "Clearly emissions trading options are ripe for the picking - so how can you make sure you're ready to profit from GHG? Let's face it -you can't really afford not to be, especially as the World Bank has estimated demand in the international GHG trading system to be in the order of US$20 billion per annum by 2010. Eyeforenergy is delighted to bring you this event which will focus on how you can best seize this exciting new market opportunity. As ever the conference will be driven by the industry leaders in this arena backed up by expert advice from those helping the industry make the right moves in emissions. We're running the event in conjunction with our European online trading conference, Energy Trading in the New Economy, so you can learn about the latest developments in energy trading too. Amsterdam will be the place for traders, marketers, exchanges, brokers, and executives powering the emissions trading industry to network with each other."
From reading this
excerpt, looking at the program and receiving feedback from the presentations,
this was not a debate. There were no critical voices and no real discussion,
only sessions on what is the best way to make profits from climate change.
Please correct me if I am wrong. If we
You say Maz, that
we should target the corporations and governments who have bad environmental
records etc "instead of a small independent events organiser that
is doing its best to stimulate creative, intellectual conversation to
bring about environmental awareness to the
Moreover, EYE as far as we can tell from the website is not a small events organiser. It is part of First Conferences (or at least on the www.firstconf.com) which hosts a number of other business events all called EYE for something.
As for the next EYE conference in Chicago this is the same story. It is all about how companies can make the most of these schemes. For example one of the companies that will be present, Transalta have come up with an ingeniuos solution to help them prevent paying penalties in the carbon business. The Alberta-based energy utility is financing a project in Uganda in which cows are fed in a way that reduces the volume of gas they fart. The project allows Transalta to buy time for its three coal-fueled generating stations.
On another note, is
the frightening fact that these companies also support the other climate
change mitigation strategy of carbon sinks. For example Shell and Dupont
both promote this crazy solution. Shell is investing in eucalyptus plantations
in places where these should not be.
The action and
Sure we analyse actions and sure we think of our wider audience, and we don't think that the perception is one of distaste. On the contrary it has raised both the media and the publics awareness on this issue which have by and large been the domain of people involved in the climate debate. People decided to do this action because they see it as necessary and productive as a way to meet our values. It is not a personal vendetta, rather it's an action against all who take part in carbon trading.
Moreover we don't want to grow. A SEED has existed for nearly ten years and becoming bigger is not what our organisation is about. We are a network and a campaign group. The D in A SEED is for Diversity. Growing bigger (like the aim of most corporations and some organisations) ultimately smothers diversity. A good example is the loss of culture, tradition and livelihoods the world over due to corporate influence in every sector.
We are not pretending
to be Greenpeace nor do we want to be Greenpeace. We find it a bit strange
that there's is a need to compare us to them. There are other A SEEDs
in the world but they are decentralised hubs specialising in what they
see important, and we are not looking to create more. Greenpeace are big
and they have been successful sometimes, but it doesn't
Maz, you say we all have to compromise. Well the Kyoto protocol is one big compromise to the whole planet. You could say that our governments compromised a safe future and the lives of people who already now are suffering from climate change, for continued corporate profits. The fight to lower emissions has over time been eroded by the selfish interest inherent within the corporate sector. We need to reduce emissions, not start a trading scheme in them. Trading is avoiding the real cuts that will be painf Ten years of discussion since Rio has brought nothing and has been full of compromises to industry. If we compromise more then there will be nothing left to fight for. I am not only talking about climate here but all the other arenas where we are seeing the continuous influence of corporations in every aspect of our lives.
Lastly Maz, you talked about values. Well our values lie in the belief of social and environmental justice for all. Carbon trading is a direct threat to this. If we did not do anything about this we would be compromising our values. Therefore you are contradicting yourself when you talk about values and the need to compromise.
I would also advice you to read this briefing on the following link. It's a bit old but gives you a good insight into the corporate cooptation of the climate debate. http://www.corporateeurope.org/greenhouse/index.html