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

On Wed, June 29, 2011 4:39 am, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> [ Adding ftpmaster to Cc.  ftpmaster: please check bug log for context ]
> On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 12:32:05AM +0200, Josselin Mouette wrote:
>> I think Iâ??m going to leave the Debian Project Leader deal with this.
>> Stefano, Iâ??ll let you read the bug log . Maybe youâ??ll want to ask
>> the
>> FTP masters too, since they are ultimately responsible for inclusion
>> rules.
> Ah, dear old can of worms^W^W^W interaction among trademark, FOSS
> licenses, and DFSG.
> I'm under the impression that we don't have a clear cut policy on
> whether DFSG apply to trademark restrictions as well as to "software"
> licenses. I believe it has been judged on a case by case basis by FTP
> master. ... but I might be very wrong about this, so I'm getting FTP
> masters in the loop for clarification.

OK! As you know, it's a tough line to walk - free software projects like
Gnome have adopted permissive trademark policies to allow the software to
be distributed freely while hopefully keeping some trademark protection to
prevent predatory use of the marks.
> The case of the Debian logo which has been mentioned in this bug log is
> actually something we are not happy with, because on one hand we want to
> protect debian trademark, but on the other we really don't want some of
> our official logos to be non-DFSG free (as they currently are). We would
> love to have trademark protection *and* a DFSG-free license, but we have
> been advised in the past that doing such a re-licensing might pose
> danger to the trademark itself.

Exactly! This is the same problem that all truly free software projects
wrestle with, which permissive use guidelines try to address.

> In that respect, a mutual agreement among Debian and GNOME is not going
> to help on the Debian side, given that DFSG §8 is very clear on the fact
> that "license" must not be specific to Debian.

Actually, what I was saying could work was a license agreement to create a
new mark, but then the establishment of a joint trademark policy that
permitted its use for everyone, as the Gnome guidelines do now. The mark
we're discussing is a new one that uses both Gnome and Debian marks, and
one which could be confusing and weaken both of them if not dealt with
carefully. Honestly, the mark is different enough (but clearly a use of
the Gnome mark) that Gnome will have to evaluate its position on it
anyway. I just wanted to make sure that we were all on the same page, and
that there was no question about the removal of the regular Gnome foot
logo by Debian (as opposed to the new combined mark), which should be fine
to use. The trademark laws are frustrating, but they really are aimed at
making sure that some proprietary software vendor can't come along and put
our logos on its software and confuse users into thinking that it's free
because it's branded to look like us. Trademark is such a pain, but
hopefully in the worst case it won't be too big of a deal to just remove
the new combined mark if we all want to avoid all of this.


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