back to article 'I've read all the Harry Potters - and I'm proud to have done so for adverts'

This was the week when Stephen Fry didn't get upset with The Register, he just called everyone at Vulture Central "cruel and vicious". Fry was not upset about Reg hack Andrew Orlowski's calling him out on a wee slip of the tongue when talking about Alan Turing, when he said that he was responsible for the first programmable …


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  1. Rampant Spaniel

    "I've read all the harry potter novels"

    As have most 9 yr old girls.

    1. DrXym

      As in, he narrated them in his work as a voiceover artist.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        I did guess he meant that, it was just an amusing turn of phrase from him :-) especially with a BA in English lit!

        And it's Friday.

        1. Esskay

          University qualifications don't protect you from people taking your comments out of context.

  2. Frank Haney

    Google, like other companies, has to protect its trademark(s). Companies complaining about their names becoming generic words is why you can still ask for a Coke and get CocaCola rather than some generic coloured, flavoured, sweetened water. It's why you can buy an iPhone and know that it's made by, sorry, marketed by Apple.

    There's more but I'm sure you get the drift. Anyway, must fly, I've got some hoovering to do.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      I could be very wrong about this (I don't have a BA in English lit so not an hexpurt) but in practice aren't you pretty much required to protect your ip for the protection to remain enforceable?

      1. Phil W

        In the USA, Trademarks must be actively enforce in order to remain valid and enforceable. So should you violate one then get sued but can prove the trademark owner has previously failed to prevent use/abuse of their trademark, then you will be safe.

        That only applies in the USA as far as I'm aware, in other jurisdictions trademarks are enforceable for as long they are in use/owned by someone.

        Copyright and patents are enforceable at any time up until their expiration, in all jurisdictions that I'm aware of.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        To an extent yes, it varies from country to country but in the US for example there is leeway in that if the infringement is considered insignificant enough it can be ignored so as to prevent the trademark holders from being caught up in litigation just to protect their trademark.

        This case though would come more under "generic" terminology, if a trademark becomes "generic" and is used commonly to refer to something outside of its trademark the trademark can be revoked. Google as we all know is the trademark for both the company and its search engine but google has unofficially become the term to do an Internet search irrespective of the search engine (ie you can google The Register using Yahoo), when it goe into the dictionary it's pretty much rubber stamped as a "generic" term and gives companies the amber light (only a judge can give the green light) to release their own "google" products.

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Thank you both :-) I remember discussing it years ago when starting out as a freelance. My brain stored it away somewhere but you never can be too sure about long term storage ! (or the original comprehension for that matter).

    2. Lars Silver badge

      @Frank Haney

      I can understand you, but if I get a CocaCola, it is still "coloured, flavoured, sweetened water" and if I ask for a Cola (what ever brand) it is still "coloured, flavoured, sweetened water" (hopefully at least). And if a ask for a window I think I can distinguish between a computer OS and a window. You use stupidity to defend stupidity. Then again I am very worried too, as soon as the Swedes learn to use "ogooglebar" Google will be in great danger with bankruptcy around the corner. Eagerly waiting, having coloured, flavoured, sweetened water, sorry this is in fact only coloured, flavoured water.

      1. Frank Haney


        Sorry. Maybe I didn't make myself clear.

        Do you hoover your carpets? Do you write with a biro? Those are trademarks that have become diluted. Google is a trademark. If you don't enforce your trademarks you can lose them. If they become generic words you can lose them. That is why the likes of CocaCola, Disney and now Google are so aggressive defending their trademarks.

        Google, quite rightly, doesn't want its trademark to become diluted. Trademarks are valuable intellectual property and they can last forever, but once they're gone, there's no getting them back.

  3. Gerard Krupa


    He called Andrew Orlowski a twat? It may not be original, eloquent or perspicacious but it does have the merit of accuracy.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Twat?

      I can't imagine a higher compliment. Although I am married.

    2. Wize

      Re: Twat?

      What else can you say about a man, who on the rare occasion he enables feedback for his articles he sets every comment to manual moderation, instead of posting them immediately as per most other articles, so he can reject anything he doesn't like.

      My comment was about people getting so upset that they post an article about it on their website and that the article itself was one of the rare occasions that feedback was enabled. Don't know which one of the two it was rejected for.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Twat?


        I noticed that - I posted a few comments, mostly factual hurdles to the few who wanted to take an unobstructed swing at Mr Fry, but one was held back.

        This moderation - though of course the prerogative of the Reg - left a bad taste in my mouth because it wasn't in keeping with the spirit of article, as it showed precious little moderation itself.

        Still, it is the Reg, it is their rules in their house, and there are many other sites for me to read on the internet.

        As for Mr Fry, the main oversight in his response was not recognising Reg Commentards have a healthy disrespect for Reg hacks, and the opinions of one Reg contributor did not reflect that of most of its readership.

        1. Wize

          Re: Twat?


          It certainly put me off wanting to read any of his articles and makes me less inclined to visit this site. I shall have to ponder some other IT news websites.

    3. joeW

      Re: Twat?

      He's *our* twat though. Kinda like the mad old uncle who mumbles to himself at every family gathering - to be tolerated with good cheer, but never taken seriously.

    4. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Twat?

      Only a twat calls somebody a twat. I would not worry too much about it though. All twats unite, I will join you soon, if accepted.

  4. Mike Brown

    So nothing happened this week then?

  5. Winkypop Silver badge

    Mr Orlowski a "twat"

    Hmmmm, quite interesting.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stephen Fry

    The man must either mad or both.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stephen Fry

      A downvote from someone who knows not the sketch from which I quote?

      Ahhh... the days when Stephen Fry was funny!

  7. GBE

    Read novels for advertisements?

    > I'm proud to have done so, and I'm proud to have done so for advertisements.

    Maybe it's because I'm a USian, maybe it's because I'm just dim, maybe you think those two statements are redundant -- but what does it mean to read novels "for advertisements"?

    In exchange for reading the novels he got to place free ads somewhere?

    1. Oninoshiko

      Re: Read novels for advertisements?

      I think he ment he read the narration for advertisements.

      Definitely ambiguous language though. I expect far better from someone with a degree in the subject.

      1. Blain Hamon

        Re: Read novels for advertisements?

        Well, the English Language works like this:

        You send some prattle from your mouth. You've got to have at least three, usually four or five listeners – that receive your prattle. And the difference in time it takes to make sense from one listener to the other to the other, which is whole minutes, allows them to calculate what you were trying to say to within 10 metres.

  8. Dan 55 Silver badge


    Judging by how well he can bullshit in press releases at such a tender age, he'll go a long way.

  9. DF118

    I'd take Orlowski over Fry any day. Fry is likeable and occasionally insightful, but on the whole frightfully boring. Orlowski on the other hand is an irascible shit-stirrer of the highest order, slightly beholden to Adam Curtis in style, occasionally wide of the mark, but properly analytical and never dull.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      > slightly beholden to Adam Curtis in style,

      Nvidia and other are working on facsimile animated faces resembling real people... when a voice-synthesizer can do the same perhaps we can feed AO's articles through a 'Curtisizer' (accompanied by large bold text, of course). This might entertain for five minutes before one installs the Sylvester the Cat voice-pack...

  10. Poor Coco

    Well done, Andrew!

    A butthurt Stephen Fry is a wonder to behold. FFS, he wasn’t even eloquent in his lambasting of this mighty rag. His squib is rather soggy, it seems.

    1. Throatwobbler Mangrove

      Re: Well done, Andrew!

      It's now very common to hear people say, "I am proud and that is evil", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I am proud and that is evil" Well, so fucking what?

  11. BillG
    Thumb Up


    Most inspirational story I've ever seen.

  12. Dropper

    Nasty? Maybe..

    "Register dot co dot uk - exists merely to be nasty".

    This may be true.. but that's because so many people deserve it.. We all make mistakes and generally we're an unforgiving lot when that happens, but we also don't bother to show our disgust unless a/the person making mistakes is someone many people listen to and therefore influences others with their bullshit or b/the mistake is just too tempting to leave alone. Both are valid reasons to attack viciously.

    But we also don't discriminate in our nastiness. We attack each other just as freely and usually in a way that makes the attackee laugh just as hard as those witnessing the savagery.

  13. TrishaD

    Is this the same Stephen Fry who's always being quoted on the interwebs as saying 'Nobody has the right to be offended'?

    Suck it up, Stephen. It seems you can dish it out but you cant take it.

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