IMPORTANT issue re: the ZERO STATE name

The following message was received via the ZS security channel:

These guys are using our name.

I think this is not a good thing for us. Can we get a C&D?

I have thoughts, that I would like to offer to the group for discussion before we take action (decisively, and soon). Each key point in my thinking is numbered, below:

(1) In the past I have ignored other entities using (variants of) the name “Zero State” or the ZS symbol, for various reasons; That the endless proliferations of TLDs means we can’t squat all possible domains, that some existed before us or from around the same time as us, and so on. Most importantly perhaps, never before have I seen anything that actually touched on the same themes/concerns as us.

(2) Cease & Desist orders are a tricky thing, in that they largely only work in US jurisdictions, cost money for lawyers, require a solid argument for our exclusive ownership of the name, and so on. That said, the fact that this “Zero State” deals with questions of (artificial) intelligence and blockchain puts it squarely in our backyard, and for the first time a C&D has struck me as a possibly desirable course of action.

(3) But another – preferable – line of thoughts occurs to me. It’s just one that would require proactive assistance from the ZS membership. Basically we know that ZS needs to use (and further develop) a network-based approach to our projects and everything else. An overly-centralized approach would not only be against the spirit of our principles, but simply could not scale up based on our current resources. In short, we already knew that we need to encourage semi-independent projects that are self-maintaining, but which operate as a node within our broader, cooperative network.

(4) Given that, I think we should take the polar opposite approach to C&D, *and actively emphasise the existence of this coin, that it is part of the blockchain ecosystem, that it uses our name and trades in the same memetic territory as us*. EFFECTIVELY ABSORB IT, ON THE MEMETIC LEVEL, BORG-STYLE.

(5) Obviously that would not affect that other project’s internal workings, but we don’t seek to do that anyway. We want projects to run themselves but connect to our network, entering into a kind of symbiotic relationship with that network. THAT is an approach that could scale up, and rapidly, without heavily centralized resources.

(6) A natural concern/objection which has already passed through my mind is that a project that was “born” external to the ZS network has not explicitly agreed to operate in accord with Social Futurist Principle. Actually, upon reflection I think this is OK, as it forces us to evolve, & fast, into a new, better, more scalable organizational model. That model is the one I discussed here, in which outside organizations and movements (the example I used in that article was TZM) are shown to be Social Futurist without them necessarily knowing it, then we build bridges between that org and the network, we strengthen those mutual connections over time, until eventually the (no longer) “outside” org enjoys enough network effects via that connection that peer pressure kicks in, and contra-principle behaviour starts to feel bad or at least not the best path to that outer org. In short, we absorb them, the way multi-cellular organisms absorb single-cell organisms.

(7) The first step would be something we need anyway, so I’ve just gone ahead with it: A prominent section in the ZS wiki listing relevant / favoured blockchain projects (link below). If people agree with my approach here, then we would need ZS members to pitch in, populating the wiki page, spreading the word and so on; vigorously, and promptly.

(8) If we play this right, there’s really no reason for the outside org to resist; It’s simply free publicity, from their point of view. If they take a dislike to *our* use of the Zero State name, they seriously haven’t got a leg to stand on if they wanted to stop us: We have been using the name publicly since 2010, consistently so, and in ways / relating to themes which are *perfectly* consistent with all actions we are currently planning. In order to harass us legally, any outside org would have to expose their own late co-opting of our name and memes… they’d basically be paying a bunch of money to promote us, and solidify our historical claim to the brand name, and that’d be fine by me, too.


About Ámon Ásentir

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