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Why did you change the name to Xerography Debt????

In early November 2001, I was contacted by the Xerox Corporation for alleged trademark infringement. It appears they learned of my zine Xerox Debt by way of Tom Hendrick’s website for his zine Musea (musea.digitalchainsaw.com/newdex.html). His site was the primary host for the first few issues of Xerox Debt. It was my understanding, and also that of several dictionaries, that xerox could be used as a noun, verb, and proper noun. (A point I could have argued had I the resources or desire.) I did a little checking and according to, Smith & Hopen, P.A., Trademark and Intellectual Property Attorneys, “Use of the trademark as a verb can inject the trademark into the public domain, thereby destroying all trademark rights. That's why Xerox Corporation has taken out ads in major newspapers, pleading ‘Please don't use our name as a verb, as in 'Xerox this.'’ The Xerox Corporation has a major trademark problem on its hands; people commonly say ‘Make a Xerox of this’ even if they are referring to use of a copy machine of an entirely different brand name, i.e., the term ‘Xerox’ is in danger of becoming the generic word for making copies." (http://www.baypatents.com/trademar.asp)

The letter from the Xerox Corporation stated that, “It is likely that consumers will be deceived into believing that you and/or your company is a subsidiary of or in some way associated with Xerox or that its publication is backed, endorsed or sponsored by Xerox, or that its publication originates from or is under the control of Xerox...According, we ask that you cease any and all use of the Xerox name and mark or any similar variation thereof or any Xerox Corporation owned mark.”

Just in case anyone was under the delusion that I “and/or [my] company is a subsidiary of or in some way associated with Xerox”, this is a malicious and completely untrue allegation. I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it!

I responded immediately,

“...I was shocked to realize that it appeared that I was supporting your corporation or vice versa. The publications that are reviewed in Xerox Debt are, for the most part, small independent publications reproduced by photocopiers. The meanings in the name were both literal and figurative. It referring to the literal cost of printing the publications, as well as what we as writers owed to the publications. I was disturbed to realize from your letter that readers might think I am “backed, endorsed or sponsored by Xerox, or that its publication originates from or is under the control of Xerox.” I no more want that association than you do.

Effective immediately the name of the publication will be changed to Xerography Debt, referring to the process, which my research indicates is not a copyrighted or trademarked term:


"n. A dry photographic or photocopying process in which a negative image formed by a resinous powder on an electrically charged plate is electrically transferred to and thermally fixed as positive on a paper or other copying surface."
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


“...electrostatic dry-printing process for the reproduction of images or documents, widely employed in commerce and industry in copying machines. The process was invented by the American physicist and patent attorney Chester F. Carlson in 1937 and first commercially developed in 1950.”
Source: "Xerography," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000 http://encarta.msn.com © 1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

So, there you have it. And besides, zines owe far more to Chester F. Carlson than some corporation. Chester F. Carlson, we salute you!

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