The city which must not be named

There’s a certain city in the Balkan peninsula whose name I cannot type here. Some of you might know it as the capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina. This is a city in which the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria got assissinated, an event which triggered the World War I. It’s a city that, in the ’90s, survived a siege that lasted 1,425 days. It’s a city that welcomed people from all over the world in 1984, when it hosted the Winter Olympics.

I was already aware that I can’t show you the mascot of those Winter Olympics games, since doing so would be a copyright violation. What I wasn’t aware of is that I can’t even tell you the name of the city I’m writing this in because I haven’t asked the city’s government for the permission to do so.

That was Aleksandar Todorović of Sarajevo


Todorović names Sarajevo 38 times in his post (under removable redaction-bars), but if the law is followed, that’s the way people have to talk about Sarajevo – “the city where that long siege happened” or “the city where Franz Ferdinand died.” What were they thinking? Were they trying to get in the international news for something other than war? If so, congratulations, I guess. Threatening Facebook page admins with fines isn’t quite as bad as World War I or Sniper Alley. You bastards.

There is a way to legally mention Sarajevo by name, according to Techdirt:

The city will license its name to approved parties for an annual fee ranging from ~$60-3,000 a year, depending on the financial health of the entity. (The law gives non-profit entities the low end. The other ranges are determined by the number of people employed by companies using the city’s name.)

How ’bout no?

The city government has kindly offered to give those Facebook randos free licenses, but Cory Doctorow still smells fish:

This is a common tactic by trolls: a patent troll might notify dozens or hundreds of small entities that they are in violation of a poor-quality/broadly interpreted patent, then offer them all a no-cost “license” to “get legit” – having done so, the patent troll then claims that “hundreds of businesses have acknowledged the validity of their patent and licensed it,” and begins shaking down bigger, deeper-pocketed targets.

I think Hanlon’s Razor applies here, but I don’t know how smart Sarajevo’s regulators are.

Categories: NewscreatureTags:

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