Friday, 9 September 2005

Gartner's Copyright and Quote Policy: it's just stupid

Gartner's so-called copyright policies shouldn't fool anyone: the firm is claiming rights that is it not granted by copyright laws.

The firm states "To use the "Gartner" name, take excerpts of Gartner research or quote Gartner analysts, a usage request must be submitted in writing to Gartner Vendor Relations for approval." Clearly, even Gartner can't believe that is has any legal right to prevent people from using the word "Gartner". The firm would clearly be overwhelmed if everyone did do.

Nevertheless, it states "Gartner reserves the right to impose quote bans of varying durations, including a ban on all use of the Gartner name." Perhaps some companies have contractual obligations with Gartner not to refer to that firm with its permission; we doubt that Gartner could make such a claim hold up in court.

Underpinning this bombastic intimidation is a reasonable desire: Gartner only wants recent quotes to be used, and used in context.

However, its policies give vendors a difficult choice:

  • Either they work within Gartner's quote request process, which makes them give up a whole range of legal freedoms in exchange for nothing.
  • Or they work outside the quote request process (or get legally independent entities like PR agencies to do so) which will chill the relationship with the office of the ombudsman but will leave them with all the normal legal rights to quote from copyright materials which intellectual freedom and scientific progress rests on.

Has anyone heard of Gartner getting legal with firms that didn't follow the quote policy?


Anonymous said...

What about using a *bip* when we want to mention Gartner - oops *bip*?

If it's what they want, let them have it.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps refer to G*rtn*r ?

Anonymous said...

good point, the reality is that once Gartner appears in print, such as an analyst being quoted in a press article, Gartner no longer controls the content. You can extract and use that quote as a public statement, but you need to reference its source. Gartner does not control everything ever printed that includes the word Gartner.