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Bug#607839: Question about copyright/license of the GNOME foot Logo

Hi Josselin,

I'm a bit new to GNOME (just started as ED last week), so bear with me. I
do have a legal background though, so hopefully we can get this sorted out
in a quick and friendly way!

On Tue, June 28, 2011 10:31 am, Josselin Mouette wrote:
> Le mardi 28 juin 2011 à 15:06 +0100, Bastien Nocera a écrit :
>> > This means we will have to remove any files containing the logo from
>> our
>> > packages, per the Debian guidelines. Iâ??d really like to avoid that
>> since
>> > the impact is far more important than the pair of packages we are
talking about at the moment.
>> The GNOME logo, with and without text underneath it, is copyrighted.
It's still unbelievably unclear what exact logo uses you're referring
> And it is still unbelievably unclear what exact copyright rules apply
for the GNOME logo and what trademark rules apply.
> As far as copyright is concerned, gnome-icon-theme mentions all icons
(including the GNOME foot) are dual-licensed under the LGPL v3 and
CC-BY-SA 3.0.
> http://git.gnome.org/browse/gnome-icon-theme/tree/src/start-here.svg
> As far as trademark rules are concerned, the rules you mentioned do not
mention any other version of the GNOME logo than the one with the GNOME
> http://foundation.gnome.org/licensing/
> We are talking here about applying the rights that the LGPL grants, on a
logo that is not subject to your trademark rules. So until this
> conversation, we naively thought such works were not a problem.

Ah, I see the confusion here - the logos identified on that page are the
marks that have been registered, but GNOME, like Debian, has trademark
rights in logos that it uses even if it hasn't registered them.  And the
usage policy covers all logos and other marks. Of course, if a mark is not
covered by a policy or the like granting permission for use then you'd
have an even more restricted range of things you could do with it.

>> Combined works like this one:
>> http://pkg-gnome.alioth.debian.org/images/gnome-debian-small-trans.png
are unquestionably wrong. They will need to be removed indeed.
> If such works are not permitted this means the foot logo without text is
not free software and we will have to remove it from our repositories as
per DFSG#3.

> Iâ??d like to have an official stance from the GNOME foundation before
introducing such a drastic, useless and time-consuming change. Iâ??d
> appreciate if we could discuss this kind of issues face-to-face with
specialists because they are obviously too complex to be dealt with by a
pair of emails.

I don't think your conclusion is right, and I actually bet that if the
tables were turned, Debian would have a problem if GNOME created a mark
like that and started using it. Though I can't tell what Debian's current
policy is, I don't believe either of the trademark policies marked
proposed would allow it. The usage guidelines explicitly permit all of the
uses necessary for the foot logo to be used with free software, and like
all free software trademark policies I'm familiar with, is aimed at
preventing confusing uses. (I also note that the Debian swirl isn't a
registered mark but I believe Debian would expect folks not to use it in a
way that confused people about whether they were getting a Debian distro
or something else.) This use is actually the use of both marks in the
creation of a new mark, which could indeed be very confusing.

That being said, GNOME and Debian are working towards the same goals and
if both organizations agree to that particular use of their marks, they
can permit it and create a license for it, with its own policy which would
prevent it from confusing the marketplace. GNOME will consider this
situation in more detail.

Has Debian considered this in relation to the use of their own mark in a
different and potentially confusing way?


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