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Re: Ongoing Firefox (and Thunderbird) Trademark problems

* Gervase Markham (gerv@mozilla.org) wrote:
> Thijs Kinkhorst wrote:
> >However, in #4, an explicit exception is made for program names and
> >version numbers. They are not considered fundamental enough to software to
> >require them to be as absolutely free as source code. So if we accept this
> >exception for software coming in, why can't we accept this same exception
> >for software derived from our distribution?
> This is basically our position. I include below, for reference, an email 
> I sent to Eric 24 hours ago in response to his request to settle this 
> issue. It outlines a rough shape of an agreement which I hope we can reach.

Gerv, I'm not sure what happened, but I never saw this email. 
> >It might be beneficial though to have an agreement with MoFo that allows
> >for downstreams of Debian to also use the name, as long as they only
> >modify the package in ways similar to Debian. If you have a downstream
> >that just copies, or copies-and-fixes-bugs, this would surely be just as
> >acceptable to MoFo, right?
> Previous email to Eric:
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: Firefox Trademark Issues
> Date: Sun, 12 Jun 2005 18:15:27 +0100
> From: Gervase Markham <gerv@mozilla.org>
> Organization: mozilla.org
> To: Eric Dorland <eric.dorland@mail.mcgill.ca>
> References: <20050608055440.GK11682@nightcrawler.kuroneko.ca>
> Eric Dorland wrote:
> > Sarge is released, so the time is ripe to figure out what I'm going to
> > do. This issue has been dragging out like 6 months now, so lets hash
> > it out.
> OK.
> One thing I remember being a concern last time was the level of
> difficulty of rebranding Firefox. You may have noticed that the Firefox
> 1.1 preview release has been rebranded as Deer Park. The work went on in
> this bug:
> https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=294399
> There were a few false starts, but I think it's clear that
> fundamentally, rebranding Firefox is not a complicated or lengthy operation.

That's very good news. No matter how things work out, having an escape
plan is the right thing to do. Thanks.

> Having said that, is it possible to come to an agreement along the
> following lines?
> - The Mozilla Foundation gives Debian permission to use the Firefox logo
> and brand name.

Using the logo is not possible, as it is not licensed under a free
> - That permission is revocable, but not for shipped or frozen versions
> of Debian.
> - It's the Foundation's responsibility to make sure the Debian version
> meets our requirements; if we have issues, we sort them out with the
> maintainer in the first instance.
> - The requirements in question (or, probably, a set of principles or
> something like that) would be the result of a discussion between the
> Foundation and the maintainer.
> - The permission to ship copies of Debian's version extends to everyone.
> - The permission to ship modified versions of Debian's version does not
> extend to everyone; if they make changes, they have to rebrand or ask
> permission. This is analogous to the clause which is found in some BSD
> licences, stating that modified packages of software are required to
> have a different name. As noted above, this is not a difficult exercise.
> Can we make this fly?

This agreement is not evil, but internally we have to work out whether
we can make this sort of agreement under the DFSG. If you came back
with something non-Debian specific and still gave us the ability to do
the things we need to, then there probably wouldn't be any debate. 

Eric Dorland <eric.dorland@mail.mcgill.ca>
ICQ: #61138586, Jabber: hooty@jabber.com
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