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Re: Mozilla Foundation Trademarks

On 6/17/05, Eric Dorland <eric@debian.org> wrote:
> * John Hasler (jhasler@debian.org) wrote:
> > Exactly.  If Debian doesn't need such an arrangement, neither do our users.
> > And if our users don't need such an arrangement, our accepting it does not
> > put us in a privileged position with respect to them: they have the legal
> > right to do everything that we want to do with or without permission.
> >
> > So let's accept the "arrangement" and move on.  There is no DFSG problem
> > here even if we do accept the notion that the DFSG applies to trademarks.
> If we don't need the "arragement", why exactly would we accept it
> anyway?

I wouldn't say "accept" it, I would say "acknowledge" the safety zone
offered unilaterally by the Mozilla Foundation, and as a courtesy to
them make some effort to stay comfortably within it while continuing
to ship under the Mozilla names.  Their trademark policy is surely
less draconian than, say, Red Hat's, and we aren't going around
purging the RedHat Package Manager from Debian.

If the offer from six months ago still stands (which, to my
recollection and in my non-lawyer view, read like a unilateral "safety
zone" rather than a trademark license as such), that's extraordinarily
accommodating on MoFo's part.  It's a square deal from people with a
pretty good reputation for square deals.  They deserve better from
Debian than to have their flagship products obscured by a rename when
they haven't done anything nasty to anyone yet.

The FSF has, at best, completely failed to offer leadership with
respect to free software and trademarks, as the MySQL case and the Red
Hat / UnixCD mess have shown.  I think it would be rather gratifying
if Debian could step in to fill the void.  And it would be kind of
nice to have a workable modus vivendi to exhibit if and when the Linux
Mark Institute (or the OpenSSL team or the PHP folks or Red Hat or
MySQL) comes knocking.

- Michael

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