Important message about using the Coding for Kids brand from Katy and myself

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Emma Mulqueeny

Jul 1, 2012, 9:03:02 AM7/1/12
to Coding for Kids
Hello lovely community!

Katy and I are very very slowly getting our stuff together. We've been working away behind the scenes to try get some money to develop the programme (we're currently speaking to NESTA and Nominet who are keen to support us) and create resources for you to draw on. As soon as we have some news (hopefully very soon) we will be in touch, however I just wanted to raise one point.

Today I opened a large and exciting letter to receive a book published by one of you, trading under the name P&M Branningan Publishers using the trading name Coding for Kids books. Images attached. The Coding for Kids name/header and colour use is terribly familiar! ( We have not trademarked the Coding for Kids name yet - on purpose as we consider this a community movement and community owned project. We will look to do this once we've finished working on this initial stage, getting frameworks established within which you could all happily share the brand and expertise.

We do feel like it is in breach of the spirit of the community to take the Coding for Kids brand and use it for commercial projects. And especially to trademark it as your own without any acknowledgment of the CfK community or provenance.

In the spirit of keeping everything open, for helping each other learn, share and grow through the power of community with a shared goal - please could you respect the principles of openness and operate with kindness.

Do let us know if you have any questions and we'll be back soon with more news about funding, resources and next steps.

Katy and Emma

Emma Mulqueeny

Twitter: @hubmum
Phone: (+44) 730 570647 (no voicemail)


Alasdair McPherson

Jul 1, 2012, 6:51:19 PM7/1/12
Really disappointed that people would abuse the brand like this

I'm not a lawyer but am sure that given they had prior knowledge of the brand etc (having attended the same Coding for Kids event that I did !!) they cannot pass it off as their own.

They are relying on you taking no action / thinking it will be too costly to contest - you must have some good lawyers who are supportive - I STRONGLY think you should take action to show others that the community cannot be abused in this way.

Please don't just roll over on this - - that would mean that abuse of the community / support that many people give for free is just there to be abused.


Jul 2, 2012, 5:33:04 AM7/2/12
Definitly not cricket. Perhaps a creative commons license would bridge the gap, keep things open but protected. Disappointed is a very good way to put it Alasdair. Come on cfk books play fair!

Jul 2, 2012, 6:24:32 AM7/2/12
Heya Emma, All.

Given the "Vibe" (shall we say) on twitter and the (Surprising to me, I have to say) responses from some, I do think that this happening raises an interesting question that we should probably discuss. I'm not sure this list is the place to do it, but this is where it started..

First off.. this is *Entirely* my own opinion, and not representative of anyone I work for or with.


@proactivepaul is, in my experience, a great chap with a genuine interest in providing opportunities for kids to learn to code. I've met him at several events here in sheffield and at barcamps around the country. We've been running (You're about to see my problem, and my point) "Kids Coding" sessions in sheffield for a very long time now. They pre-date #KidsCoding and Mr Schmidts talk by at least a year. Paul and his son attended a number of these. They actively engaged with both practical acitvities, and the wider discussion about the problems particularly with the teaching of ICT in schools, and how we can help address that by exposing kids to coding. 

Then there was #KidsCoding, which was incredibly well marketed, and got real traction as a hashtag and a "movement" as much as anything else.

My point in all this is that Pauls effort and involvement with trying to teach kids to code predates KidsCoding as a "Brand". The problem here is that the "brand" has become synonymous with the problem we are trying to address (Like Hoover & Vacuum Cleaner). I think this is probably by your design and encouragement as much as anything else. Getting existing activity to start using your hashtag and term is a great way to build community and momentum. But it was done with an "Open" intent, and worked to gather all activity together under a single umbrella. Great Stuff!

I have to say I completely take my hat off to Paul on this. Instead of trying to extract money from funding bodies he's tried to cut directly to a sustainable model. You can complain about it being "Commercial" but ultimately, it doesn't seem that different to the way RS work to me. He's taken his own path to trying to address the problem whilst paying his rent too. I honestly believe that Pauls heart is at least as much in the right place as RS's is.

Having tried to work with RS and nominent on the kids coding agenda, and being burned, I do think it's time for a clear definition about the brand and the term #KidsCoding. I think it's existed in a strange space between commercial brand and open movement for a long while and this just highlights that it's not clear to people what your expectations are. A CC non-commercial at least alerts people to the notion that you are looking to commercialise this yourselves and they should not use it.

Ultimately, I honestly believe Paul is trying to contribute to addressing the same issue we are all concerned about. I'm surprised (And disappointed) by this reaction. Any resource we can use in this problem space seems like a good one. 

It's interesting that with a copy of the book in hand, the first criticism is of the name and the branding.. What's the content like? That seems like a much more interesting question to ask!!


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Josh Pickett

Jul 2, 2012, 9:04:42 PM7/2/12
GENGHIS KHAN and his MONGOL HORDES are preparing to mount an attack. Their ENEMY is visible on the horizon: each knows that the other is about to charge. KHAN is putting on his battle-armour. A young SOLDIER, who can't find his sword, wanders past and spots one, and takes it. He is walking off with it when KHAN looks up and notices his sword is gone.

(shouting, enraged)
*Who* took my sword?

Those nearby, who had been chatting to each other, fall silent. The SOLDIER freezes, realising what he has done. He turns around timidly to face KHAN.

I'm sorry, sir. I couldn't find my sword.

He puts the sword down back where it was.

That's my sword! Why did you take it?

I just put mine down somewhere and I couldn't find it.

So you took mine? You took your leader's sword, favouring your life over his?

I didn't realise it was yours, sir. They're all the same swords, really: I'll just find another one.

Damn right you will! You'll find another sword and fight me for my sword!

KHAN'S AIDE leans in to KHAN:

Sir, we're supposed to be fighting the enemy.

Well? Do we not have time to solve a dispute first?

It could be counterproductive, sir. We're expending our energies on internal squabbling instead of --

Nonsense! I will simply defeat this young man here and we will go forth in battle.
(to the SOLDIER)
En garde!

Someone nearby hands the SOLDIER another sword. They bow and then duel.

KHAN is an experienced warrior, but SOLDIER is young, fit, and nimble. KHAN is slightly older and wearing heavier armour, which slows him down. The SOLDIER is able to parry most of KHAN's earlier strikes and is quickly able to gain the upper hand. Other people in the army begin to cheer for one side or the other, reacting to the duel as it happens.




A military LEADER, also preparing for battle, begins to hear a cheering noise. He casts an eye back over to his enemy. He sees that they are cheering.

(to his AIDE)
They are attacking. Ready the men.

Yes, sir.



It is an hour after the battle ended. The Mongol hordes were defeated despite their legendary war-making abilities. Devastation lies everywhere.

TITLE: "The Mongols were defeated in that battle. Genghis Khan's body was never found. Modern historians believed that if Khan had not got involved in a petty dispute with one of his own people over something he believed to be his, the Mongolian Empire may still exist today."


Yes, it was probably bad form to use the 'Coding for Kids' name without first mentioning it to the community, but I think a better solution would be to talk to the people behind CfKBooks and try to understand their motives before resorting to a public shaming, which only serves to fragment the community.


David Kendal

Jul 2, 2012, 10:43:03 PM7/2/12
On 2 Jul 2012, at 18:04, Josh Pickett <> wrote:

> Yes, it was probably bad form to use the 'Coding for Kids' name without first mentioning it to the community, but I think a better solution would be to talk to the people behind CfKBooks and try to understand their motives before resorting to a public shaming, which only serves to fragment the community.

By the way:

This screenplay is copyright David Kendal, 2012. I'm shopping it around Hollywood and if I can find a producer, you'll be seeing “Genghis Khan: The Wrath of Code” in cinemas Summer 2015.

Please don't steal it and claim that it's your own without acknowledgement after I shared it with the community.

> J

— dpk.

Emma Mulqueeny

Jul 3, 2012, 2:58:12 AM7/3/12
HAHA very clever! Well done boys and thank you for your very constructive criticism. Good luck in Hollywood, David

Proactive Paul

Jul 5, 2012, 8:11:32 AM7/5/12
An open letter dated 4 July 2012 from CFK Books to Emma Mulqueeny
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