August 19, 2013 AT 9:27 pm

Hacker Scouts is served Cease and Desist letter from Boy Scouts of America @boyscouts

Prepared To Sue Hacker Scouts Boyscots  Of Amercia

Hacker Scouts is served Cease and Desist letter from Boy Scouts of America.

This is a difficult situation for us. We believe in our name and our right to use the word “scouts”. The BSA’s main argument is that they have a constitutional charter that they interpret to mean they have the right to use and trademark any word they choose. We disagree. We believe the charter itself may be unconstitutional, and that “scouts” is a world-wide connotation for a youth organization that existed before them and will exist long after them. We have also tried to be very clear in our message that we are not affiliated with the Boy Scouts nor are we trying to replace them. We do not offer the same experience, nor do we have a similar model as they do. We did not base our organization on them.

Our board will be making a decision soon, based on advice from our lawyers and our own sense of duty. Our primary responsibility is to act in service of our mission and the kids we serve. We have been thinking a lot about our core values and what path models those values to the community we care so deeply about; moving on when it is necessary or standing up for what is right. Thinking about this situation in that context has been powerful and meaningful for us.

Here is the Boy Scouts Google+ page, please leave a comment. Here is the Boy Scout Facebook page, the Twitter page and the YouTube page, please comment. You can also email: PR@scouting.org The official publication for adult volunteers in the Boy Scouts of America is @scouting on Twitter, Facebook and email (scoutingmag@gmail.com). And last up, Boy’s Life the magazine, Twitter and email (boyslife.mag@scouting.org).


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7 Comments

  1. Here’s a legal argument to follow: The boy scouts lost any monopoly on the word “scouts” when they failed to live up to the ideals of their nation, including (as the US Pledge of Allegience states): “liberty and justice for all”. In any case, the word “scout” has surely been used prior to the formation of the boy scouts so they would have no trademark claim on the word.

    They have not helped the Native American, who still suffers for their country.

  2. And the Hacker Scouts are going to help Native Americans? ROTF

  3. Stephen Cerruti

    I am somewhat troubled by your stance on this issue, or specifically the graphic you used and what message it is supposed to send. There are a lot more Cub and Boy Scouts who are being exposed to the amazing new world of electronics than are currently being served by the group calling themselves Hacker Scouts.

    In addition to the recently launched STEM NOVA program http://www.scouting.org/stem.aspx, the Computer merit badge which was introduced in 1967 will be replaced next year with the Digital Technology merit badge. Other technology related merit badges in the pipeline are Animation, Multi-Media, Computer Aided Design and Advanced Computing. These join existing merit badges like Electronics.

    So why, if your intent is to open this world of electronics up to everyone, are you taking sides in an intellectual property dispute and in the process defacing the logo of an organization that has served young men and women for over 100 years, building leaders that have helped invent many of the technologies you depend on today?

    The organization calling themselves Hacker Scouts were only contacted by the BSA after they tried to trademark their name. They were attempting to protect their intellectual property, the same action you now find fault with the BSA for undertaking. The BSA’s position on the term Scouts has already been upheld in court, they are not reaching. And I personally find it hard to believe that the name Hacker Scouts was itself not chosen based on the reputation of the Boy Scouts of America has built over the last century. When you ask most people in this country for the definition of scout they are going to respond with a reference to the BSA.

    Are you anti BSA? Is it your position that Merit Badge and STEM NOVA counselors should not source from your organization or use it as a resource?

    I don’t fault you for supporting the Hacker Scouts. If you want to lobby that the BSA shouldn’t be given the rights to the term Scouts, I don’t have a problem with that. But criticizing an organization for defending its intellectual property in the court system after repeatedly asking for the infraction to stop is to me poor citizenship. If Hacker Scouts wants to use the term then they, not the BSA, are the ones who need to go to court to get previous rulings overturned.

  4. in the spirit of boy scout values (friendly, courteous..) working together and co-existence sounds likes like something the bsa would be very motivated to do. there are many organizations that call themselves some type of “scout” – (spiral scouts, codes scouts, planet earth scouts, dog scouts, etc) it’s a generic word. there is not any confusion between the these groups or the use of the word scout with the boy scouts of america, a fair compromise would be for the bsa to request hacker-scouts.org to prominently disclaim any affiliation with the bsa organization.

  5. It feels to me that the goal is not to find common ground here, but to threaten another with the legal action, hoping that they will not be able to handle all the legal fees involved.

  6. bandit, Albuquerque

    The letter I just sent to BSA:

    It is *absurd* that you are suing Hacker Scouts. Are you going to sue the Girl Scouts next?

    The Hacker Scouts are filling a need that you are not. They are also clear about what they are doing and why, and they do not have anything to do with the Boy Scouts.

    … bandit

  7. bandit, Albuquerque

    Stephen Cerruti: Pretty obvious you are a BSA shill.

    Hacker scouts is a good program, and filling a niche that other groups are not. In the last year, HS guilds have expanded from one (at AMT) to 6 – the latest at Las Vegas, NM.

    I am afraid this is the BSA acting as a bully. There really is no reason for them to go after HS. Why not go after the Girl Scouts? (Yes, the GSA has been around a long time, before the BSA decided to be obnoxious.)

    If the BSA has electronic programs – wonderful. But *nothing* states the BSA has a monopoly on this.

    Also, the BSA has shown, with the court suits, that the BSA is happy to discriminate against certain groups. HS does not.

    I am fully with adafruit on this. Suing HS violates – obviously and on the surface – all of the BSA creed.

    I am very sad. BSA can drive the HS into the ground. This is the actions of a bully.

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