Interlectual Property

Back in 2008 I wrote about the importance of taking care of any Scouting related internet domains. This has been brought home to me recently as I have been trying to get a website closed!

The three Districts in my area come together to run a Gang Show called ‘Screamline’. This was the first Scout Gang Show to be produced outside of London in 1934. Although it was last produced in 2007 for the Scouting Centenary, it is hoped to be staged again in 2014 for its 80th birthday. When it was announced that it was going to be staged, I thought I’d have a quick look at the website that was set up for it in 2007. It was still running, but on closer inspection, it didn’t look right.

Digging a lot deeper it turned out that the domain expired early last year and wasn’t renewed by the person who had originally registered it as he had, by this time, left Scouting. A few months later, someone else bought the domain, copied the content from the original site, presumably from the Internet Achive, and set it up again but to be used for advertising and spamming on Twitter!

The domain was up for renewal last month and I’d hoped that I would be able to buy it. Sadly, about an hour before it expired, it was renewed.

Basically, the good name of the Gang Show was being potentially damaged by some unknown spammer! I tried to find out who they were, but they’d hidden their identity via an anonymity company in London. However after a phone call to them, they put me in touch with the domain registrar in Canada. I also found out who the hosting company was in America and emailed them both to ask them to take the site down because of the damage to the Show’s reputation and (this is the bit that they take notice of!) the copyright infringement (they’d nicked the old site effectively).

The hosting company totally ignored me, but the company that registered the domain did take the site offline (after about 4 weeks of nagging). Unhappily, a few days later the site came back online with the same advertising stuff, but without any reference to Screamline or any of the actual Gang Show site.

At least the connection between the site and the Gang Show is now broken and the Show’s reputation won’t be associated with spam. It was just a shame I wasn’t able to get the domain back!

This does show that letting domain registrations slip can result in unscrupulous people getting hold of them and using them for dodgy ends and potentially damaging the good name of Scouting.So the message is clear, make sure you keep hold of any domains you register, if you don’t you may not know what they may end up showing!

I haven’t put a link to the site as I don’t think they should get any more traffic to their site. But if you do a search it isn’t hard to find it!

The Olympics and Scouts

To be honest, when it comes to sport, I am not interested (unless it’s an Ashes Test!).

However, I have been very impressed with the Olympic games that have just finished. The performances by some of the athletes have been truly impressive, be it Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis, Victoria Pendleton, Sir Chris Hoy or Hamadou Djibo Issaka, the rower from Niger who had not even rowed a boat until three months before the games! They all took part and gave it there best, some won medals and some didn’t. The winners all came across as genuinely happy to have won and all (the ones I saw at least) gave well spoken and intelligent interviews afterwards (I do hope the overpaid and over self opinionated ‘professional’ footballers are taking note!).

Both the opening and closing ceremonies were really impressive and the whole thing showed what the country can do if it puts its mind to it. A positive experience in a lot of recent negatives.

A lot of praise was, rightly, lavished on the 70,000 volunteers who helped to run the games. Without them, I understand, it wouldn’t have been possible to stage the games.

Naturally a lot of these volunteers had Scouting connections. In fact a lot of Scouts ran with the Olympic torch as it was going round the country. Bear Glrylls even carried it down a zip wire in the North East!

This, of course, is not the first time Scouts have helped with the Olympics in this country (as I’ sure they have wherever the Olympics have been held, with a possible few notable exceptions – 1936 & 2008 for example), they were very involved in the 1948 London games.

In 1948 they carried countries flags and –

..the Boy Scouts’ services were offered to the BOC, who readily took on this squadron of volunteers. They were particularly useful during the opening and closing ceremonies where they performed a variety of conspicuous tasks, were used as distance markers on the marathon and 50km walk as well as running errands and conveying messages, and their skills and presence were made use of wherever possible during the Olympiad.
Scouts were required to sit at the edges of the stadium in front of the crowd during the opening ceremony, and at 4pm release a flock of 7,000 pigeons from 350 large wicker picnic baskets. Taxing as this may have been in the blazing heat it allowed them a prime view of the spectacle, and they were kept busy on tea-reconnaissance missions by the athletes seated behind them. Senior Scouts marched before each competing country holding the designation boards, placards with the each nation’s name on it, but all were a prominent part of the ceremony.
Perhaps most prominent to the overall organisation of the Games was the contribution of the Sea Scouts. These operated separately from the other scouting divisions, and were drafted in to ensure the sailing events ran efficiently. Arriving from all over the country, the boys were installed in the Torquay Scouts’ Headquarters at a cost of 3/6d per day, and were instructed to bring only their basic personal possessions and full uniform. A crew of 200 Senior Sea Scouts were maintained throughout the sailing events, consisting of 50 local scouts from the Torbay area and 150 from further afield. Duties included ferrying competitors and their gear between the shore and yachts, the repairs and adjustments to the rigging of the larger craft that were needed at the end of every day, issuing weather communiqués, and providing spectators with a running commentary.
The Scouts were praised for their efficient and capable contribution to the Games by officials and competitors alike. One admirer described them as the oil of the Olympic wheels.

As can be seen the Sea Scouts were also invaluable!


Photo and quote from Winning Endeavours

Hopefully now, some of the 70,000 who may have not been volunteering previously will carry on doing so in some other capacities. Hopefully it will be Scouting, but if not in sport or for young people or their local museum, the list goes on. A lot of good things are done by volunteers and the Olympics have proved that.

It would be nice to get, maybe, 10% of the Olympic volunteers as new leaders!

Roll on the Paralympics!

UPDATE 15/08/2012 It’s been announced today that Scouts will “strike flint against steel on Scafell Pike, Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Slieve Donard on 22 August” to light the Paralympic flames! See more here.

A Soldier Writes

I got this message sent to me the other day –

I’ll always remember my time with the Cubs and the Scouts because I reckon that it set the foundation for the man I am today.
You may not know it but the time and effort you, (and the other Leaders) put into the Scouts when I was in the Group have definitely played a part in me being the man I am today.
The last time I saw you or had any affiliation with the Scouts is at (my brother’s) wedding in 2008 and I’ve still got the badge that you gave me.
I’m getting out of the Army next year and going to New Zealand with my almost wife. (We get married on the 8th of August).
Before I do bugger off to NZ though, I’d like to give something back to 1st Porthill Scout Group.
I’m a Lance Corporal of the Corps of Royal Engineers and I’ve still got the majority of the kit I use when we go on exercise.
I’ve got two 24 hour ration boxes that the lads use in Afghanistan that I could talk to the Scouts / Cubs through and explain the need for so much food!
Even just turning up in my uniform and being rubbish at football would probably make a lot of kids day, so I’m up for anything.
I know that the Scouts is a dying breed and its a real shame, so anything I can do to inspire more young people to go to scout meetings I will do.
Kind regards

Wow. I’m not posting this as an ego thing, but to show the appreciation of an ex Scout. And one that has served his country in the Army. I guess we must have done something right, especially as after some nights you do feel you don’t do anything right (well I did at least!).

I’ve put him right about Scouting not being a dying breed and I’ve taken him up on his offer. So watch out for a post about his visit.