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Recently, Seggan received an email from Eric Wastl, the owner of Advent of Code, part of which is quoted below:

Please do not call your event something like "Advent of Code Golf"; this makes it look like an official Advent of Code event. "Advent of Code" is a registered trademark in the United States. You can call it something like "Code Golf Advent Calendar" or "Santa Golf" or "Christmas Code Golf" or "Code Golf December 2022".

Eric apparently has a trademark on the phrase "Advent of Code" and has decided that us calling our event "Advent of Code Golf" makes it sound like we're affiliated with him (which we're not, of course). After asking in the Law.SE chatroom, it seems that the best course of action is to rename the event. So the big question is:

What do we rename Advent of Code Golf?

Strictly speaking, we probably don't have to rename it. But I am, of course, not a lawyer and doing the rename is definitely the safest course of action. So, if you think you have a good name (or object to the rename) please post an answer to this question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is odd since we previously had been given explicit permission for the event. Were we never given permission for the name? Do we have to go back and rename the previous challenges? \$\endgroup\$
    – Wheat Wizard Mod
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 5:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GrainGhost I don't know, unfortunately. If you're not sure I guess you can send him an email. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ginger
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 21:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GrainGhost IIRC the permission was for individual challenge contents, not the name of the event. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bubbler
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 23:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just so this is clear: as some users have brought up the potential legal quagmire this may be, the mod team has escalated this post to Stack Exchange for review. Currently, I suggest sitting tight, and we'll provide an update once they've completed their review. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 0:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since this is a community-run event, not something sponsored by Stack Exchange the company, we can’t make an official recommendation on whether you should change the name. But, it sounds like you are already are considering other options to avoid any issues, and the community seems to have some good possibilities suggested already. (cc @cairdcoinheringaahing) \$\endgroup\$
    – Slate StaffMod
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 17:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sʨɠɠan posted an excerpt from a follow-up email from Eric in chat. To summarize: he said "Sounds good" (I assume this was in response to a promise to change the name; Sʨɠɠan, can you confirm?) and "Good luck with your event; I'm a big fan of code golf!" \$\endgroup\$
    – DLosc
    Commented Nov 4, 2022 at 15:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DLosc I can confirm \$\endgroup\$
    – Seggan
    Commented Nov 5, 2022 at 14:18

3 Answers 3

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Code Golf Advent Calendar

(As suggested in the question)

While I think "Advent of Golf" is snappier, I think it should be clearer that this is referring to code golfing in the name. 'Code Golf Advent Calendar' makes it very clear what the event is about.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd very much like to keep the substring "Code Golf" (or maybe "CGCC") in the title of the event, so I think this is a good option. Also Puzzling SE calls their own event Puzzling Advent Calendar. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bubbler
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 23:16
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Legal issues such as this are probably best handled by the Stack Exchange legal team. I don't think it's ideal for a community to be making legal decisions. If the owner of the Advent of Code trademark has a problem, their correct course of action is to send an email to [email protected].

But I am, of course, not a lawyer and doing the rename is definitely the safest course of action.

Keeping the community out of it also reduces the legal risks the community is exposed to. The law is weird, and it could certainly be that the act of renaming it (or the way it is renamed) may be less safe than to allow the designated legal team handle it. The mere act of taking this into our own hands may cause legal liability to change hands from Stack Exchange to us. I don't know. I am not a lawyer.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ One thing is the potential legal issues that could there be if we don't change the name, and another thing is, if we rename Advent of Code Golf, what other name we prefer. You are answering the former, but the question asks the latter \$\endgroup\$
    – Luis Mendo
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 0:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LuisMendo Yes. I believe this answer is a frame-change because I believe that there is no correct answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – forest
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 0:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure at all, but isn't this event handled by the community themselves? \$\endgroup\$
    – DialFrost
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 0:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DialFrost It probably could be, but I think it's legally safer to allow SE legal to weigh in before taking explicit action. \$\endgroup\$
    – forest
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 0:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why would there be any legal liability for picking a different name? (Unless by chance someone else has trademarked the new name, I guess.) Also, legal issues aside, I think changing the name is simply the right thing to do. We've been politely asked to change it; there's no reason not to. \$\endgroup\$
    – DLosc
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 3:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ That said, "ask SE's lawyers first" does seem like a good course of action. \$\endgroup\$
    – DLosc
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 4:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ See comment from staff member. \$\endgroup\$
    – mbomb007
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 20:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Am I correct in interpreting the staff's response as "go ahead and change the name"? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ginger
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 23:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ginger I think the response is "we're not your lawyers so we can't give you any legal advice", but they also weren't telling us not to change the name. I now think changing it is a good idea. \$\endgroup\$
    – forest
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 0:45
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Advent of Golf

I think this is the best solution.

  • Very similar to the original name
  • Not similar enough to "Advent of Code" for trademark issues
  • Nice and snappy
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is still too similar to "Advent of Code." It comes across as us making the bare minimum change so we can still ride AoC's coattails while not technically violating trademark. \$\endgroup\$
    – DLosc
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 18:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ It also sounds like a golf tournament. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ryan M
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 0:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ This loses the word Code, which I think is essential \$\endgroup\$
    – Luis Mendo
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 0:19

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