In the eight years or so since the Raspberry Pi first appeared as tangible hardware, we’ve all dealt with the Pi people, whether as customers or through their numerous online support and outreach activities. They provided our community with the seed that led to the explosion of cheap Linux-enabled single-board computers, while their own offerings powered so many of the projects we presented here. Their heart lies in their educational tasks, but they have also become an indispensable part of our community.
It was therefore a surprise when [Raspberry Pi Spy], longtime commentator on all things Pi, received legal notice from the Raspberry Pi Foundation that their use of the Raspberry Pi name contradicts acceptable guidelines for use and requires that all content be removed and the domains transferred. There was some embarrassment before the head of the Pi Foundation [Philip Colligan] issued a declaration withdrawing the original letter and explains that the incident was the result of an overzealous legal adviser and that the Foundation did not want to undermine the Pi community.
Everything is fine, which ends well, but what exactly happened? First of all, it is natural for any organization to want to protect its brand, and there will be many unscrupulous organizations willing to sell counterfeit Pi products if the Foundation is not active in asserting its rights. In this case, it appears that the use of the full Raspberry Pi trademark in a domain name caused the letter, not the fair use blogs for Pi products. We see that as much as we wanted, otherwise it was not without legal merit. Numerous cases of cyberquoting have been heard since the creation of the network, although some of them were on more dubious grounds than others a well-trodden path remains.
Where this story differs from so many others however, the Pi Foundation acted prudently by withdrawing the notice issued against a member of its community. Inevitably, sometimes even the best of us can take unfortunate paths in any way, and respect is earned by how such situations are resolved. We welcome the people of Pi for their quick action on this issue, we would suggest everyone to take care of the registration of domain names and we suspect that somewhere a legal advisor will be in the booth. But that all such incidents in our community can be resolved with such ease.