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Re: Mozilla Firefox's icon and trademark

Eric Dorland <eric@debian.org> wrote:
>Hello all, 
>I received a rather disturbing email from Andre Dahlqvist (quoted
>below with URLs) today that I'm having trouble with, and I'd like
>opinions and advice on how to proceed. debian-legal might be a better
>forum for this, but I think it has some deep ramifications for not
>just firefox.
>I included the official icons in my latest mozilla-firefox package,
>thinking that the developers had perhaps rushed to get the release
>done forgot to include it. Unfortunately it seems these icons and even
>the name "Firefox" (and Mozilla even) are trademarked and can't be
>used except with the official builds or permission of the Mozilla
>Foundation (see http://mozilla.org/foundation/licensing.html and
>http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=50876). Now I feel
>confident I could get said permission, but it would be pointless since
>it would likely violate point 8 of the DFSG.

Trademark law isn't as broad as you might think -- it also isn't as broad as 
the Mozilla Foundation is claiming it is.  (Bad them!)

You can always use a trademark without the explicit permission of the 
trademark holder, as long as it isn't capable of causing confusion.  So, for 
example "Debian Iceweasel -- Based on the Mozilla Firefox code" is a 
perfectly legit usage of a trademark.

>Now not being able to use the artwork is annoying, but not the end of
>the world (people will whine as to why we don't have the pretty
>icon). However, not being able to use the name would really be a
>shame, not to mention confusing. 
See above.

>So, how should I approach the Firefox developers (or branding team)?
(a) Ask them to correct the inaccuracies regrading trademark law on 
http://mozilla.org/foundation/licensing.html.  The claim that "All other uses 
of the Mozilla marks require prior written permission" just plain isn't true.  
"Using the Mozilla marks to refer to anything other than the official, 
unmodified version of our software requires prior written permission" would 
be accurate.

(b) Then ask them to please explicitly permit naming unofficial builds 
"Mozilla" and "Firefox" provided they are clearly labelled as unofficial 
builds, or alternately to provide alternate names for unofficial builds ASAP.  
They *really* ought to agree to that.  :-P

(c) After the names have been dealt with, ask for artwork for unofficial 
builds -- but the names are obviously the priority.

(d) Then ask them to please make sure the artwork for unofficial builds has 
its copyright licensed under a free software license (without affecting 
trademark rights) -- otherwise Debian won't be able to use it anyway.  :-/

>or should I merely rename the browser in Debian to something like
>Icerabbit (you get the idea) to skirt these thorny legal issues. It
Yes, probably.  :-/  However, see above -- it's perfectly legit to mention 
Firefox as long as you don't confuse anyone.  Since The Mozilla Foundation's 
intention appears to be to distinguish official builds from unofficial 
builds, they shouldn't complain about my suggestion above to say "Debian 
Iceweasel, based on Mozilla Firefox".  Although it would be better if *they* 
provided words and icons Debian could use.

As a side note, have you made sure that all the contents of the current debian 
package for Mozilla Firefox are under free copyright licenses?  I read 
something about the QUTE theme not being free in the referenced 
discussions.  :-/

>seems OpenOffice.org has similar restrictions on their logo
>(http://www.openoffice.org/about_us/summary.html), how were they
These look worse, actually.  I don't see any permission to use any of those 
logos in the Debian context at all.

However, the icons shipped in the tarball are presumably covered by the same 
license as the rest of the software.  I hope.  I suppose someone should 
clarify that.  :-/

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