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Re: Changes in formal naming for NetBSD porting effort(s)

[I am not subscribed to debian-bsd.]

On Mon, Dec 15, 2003 at 08:15:04AM -0700, Joel Baker wrote:
> Actually, given that I'm a long-time and deep-seated Tolkien geek, I rather
> like the notion of using the Valar - they're fictional, and Tolkien's work
> isn't yet out from under copyright, but they *are* reasonably well-known
> (Okay, not as well as Pratchett, but better than Christian demonology),
> and if we're liable to get in trouble over using just the names, we should
> probably strongly reconsider our use of Toy Story character names for
> tagging distributions...
> Suppose it's time to dig out my reference books and see if I can come up
> with a suitable set of names out of that mythos.
> Besides, using Tolkien names is a long geek tradition.

You seem to have already noted this, but I should re-emphasize that
since the Tolkien novels are still under copyright, then legally the
names from them are just as much risky choices as names from Pratchett

From a practical standpoint, they may be worse.  If Pratchett is aware
of Ogg Vorbis, then he presumably tolerates that usage.  The Tolkien
estate is already known to have threatened people for using names (not
even proper names!) from the works of Tolkien, when they threatened TSR
with a lawsuit in the 1970s over the use of words like "ent", "hobbit"
and "balrog" in early editions of the _Dungeons and Dragons_ game.
Finally, the recent movie productions and consequent blitz of
commercialization has probably got the Tolkien estate in a mood to
squash anything that looks even vaguely like "unlicensed usage", even if
you have to squint and cock your head just right to see it.

Remember, outside the Free Software community, copyright is used only as
a destructive weapon, not a tool for promoting cooperation and harmony.

I therefore think using names from Tolkien is imprudent, *even if* we're
on a good legal footing.

G. Branden Robinson                |      "I came, I saw, she conquered."
Debian GNU/Linux                   |      The original Latin seems to have
branden@debian.org                 |      been garbled.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |      -- Robert Heinlein

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