A couple of months ago I was asked by Adobe to write an article about FlashObject for their Devnet site. I happily agreed, as the Devnet site is pretty high visibility in the Flash community, and it would really get the word out about FlashObject.
So I wrote the article – nothing too spectacular, just a spiffed up version of the existing FlashObject page. Then I waited. Then came a very odd e-mail: their legal department didn’t like that I used the word “Flash” in the project name, and asked if I would be averse to changing it. Well, I’m not really attached to the name, so I considered it for a bit, but decided that changing the name would be too much hassle, especially since so many people are already using the script and it’s gained quite a word of mouth following. So I imagined that all the people that know about it would hear all about this new great script called SWFObject and think it was some new thing. I can see the conversation now. “No thanks, I don’t need to use SWFObject, I already use FlashObject, and it’s just fine.”
Well I asked Adobe to compromise, and possibly give me permission to use the Flash name. I offered to place a little tag-line along with all the information about it, something like “Flash is a registered trademark of the Adobe Corporation, used with permission.” (Or something like that, you get the point).
Well, a few weeks have gone by, and tonight I finally got the response back: No deal. Apparently Adobe is really clamping down on the people using the word “Flash” in their projects, even if they are open source. I’m not sure how this will affect other projects, or Flash communities (My guess is that communities like OSFlash and Flashcoders will be fine, but anything that distributes a product with the name “Flash” will need to change – but this is just a guess).
Needless to say, I’m slightly annoyed by all of this, but in the end it shouldn’t really affect the project all that much (I hope). Soooo starting immediately, and as I find time to update the documentation and code downloads, FlashObject is now known as SWFObject.* I’ll be updating the main page to redirect to http://blog.deconcept.com/swfobject/ in the next day or so. If you have links pointing to the old page, feel free to update the links and change your link text/other info to SWFObject.
* I’m not really a huge fan of the name SWFObject, but I want to keep the ‘Object’ part in there to at least keep some semblance of recognition in there for the users who are already using the script, or have already heard about it. I also hate when people pronounce SWF as “swiff”, but since this is the internet, it will be hard to force people to call it S.W.F. Object. And that takes more time to say than “S.W.F. Object” anyway. So feel free to call it “Swiff Object” when talking about it “in real life.”
UPDATE (4-27-2006): John Dowdell posted a bit more info about this on his blog. Go read the Adobe Trademark guidelines.