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Re: Mozilla Firefox's icon and trademark

[This is so utterly -legal's territory.  It's going over there]

On Fri, Mar 05, 2004 at 01:41:23PM +1100, George Dekavalas wrote:
> Today I received this email from bart@mozilla, so lets hope this helps


> We definitely want to work with the Debian project such that Debian 
> includes a copy of Mozilla Firefox that is named as such and includes 
> our official logos. 
> Our main concern is that, if we make our logos available as part of the 
> source code that's licensed under the MPL, that would invalidate our 
> trademarks.

Sigh.  As I understand it, a copyright licence and a trademark licence can
be completely separate - and should be, normally.  Mozilla can let us copy
those logos to our hearts' content via a copyright licence, yet still
restrict their use as a mark of trade.

There is no reason why they can't provide their trademarks under a Free
copyright licence such as the MPL.  Copyright controls copying, not the way
in which the copyrighted work is used.  Similarly, a trademark controls how
a mark of trade (such as a logo, image, saying, word, or other such thing)
can be *used* regardless of the copyright status of the mark.

If I create a logo confusingly similar[1] to the Mozilla Firefox logo, but
as an independent creation, Mozilla can have no copyright claim against me -
it is an independent creative work.  However, they still have trademark
rights to estoppel and compensatory damages if appropriate.

As such, trying to control trademark use via a copyright licence is
ridiculous.  Please, Mozilla, use the correct branch of law for the correct
purpose.  You can use trademark infringement to great effect if necessary,
while using copyright to prevent trademark infringement is trivially
circumventable.  There's no reason to be the e-book protection of the
trademark world.

- Matt

[1] In trademark law terms.

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