[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Ongoing Firefox (and Thunderbird) Trademark problems

On Wed, 15 Jun 2005 02:16:18 -0400
Eric Dorland <eric@debian.org> wrote:

> * Marco d'Itri (md@Linux.IT) wrote:
> > On Jun 15, Eric Dorland <eric@debian.org> wrote:
> > 
> > > > It's an important part in evaluating the balance between the
> > > > priorities of our users and free software...
> > > And where do we strike that balance in this case? I think gaining
> > > more freedom for our users is the best thing in the long run.
> > > Sure, there will be shorter term pain, but we need to take the
> > > long view. 
> > I'm here to build the best free OS, not to collect the most liberal
> > trademarks. If a trademark license allows us to ship the software
> > the way we want and there are no practical problems in removing
> > trademark references if it were ever needed then I think it's
> > obvious that we would do a disservice to our users by removing from
> > Debian such a widely know trademark without a good reason.
> Well the whole issue is I don't believe we're allowed to ship the
> software the way we want. We would be compromising our principles by
> doing so. 
> > There are good reasons for a trademark license to be restrictive and
> > I believe that the MF made a good case about their one, so I do not
> > think that it's important for users to have the permission to use it
> > however they want. The code is still free no matter how it is
> > branded so this is not an issue of software freedom, at best this is
> > a marketing issue.
> I never asked them to give users permission to use it however they
> want. But their current permissions are too restrictive. 

>From the discussions on this thread, it is your last statement that has
not been accepted by everyone here, myself included ;-)

1. If the tradmark restrictions, combined with the license, require that
we not use the term Firefox in identifying their product of that name,
then we do that, even though we all agree it is stupid. Those who can't
find the product in Debian will find it at the Mozilla site (I have some
Debian machines that are running Firefox in this fashion)

2. Examine the purpose of a trademark in the first place. The intent is
for the specific name to be identified with the specific product. The
fact that Debian uses the Mozilla and Firefox trademarks to properly
identify the products delivered tells me that we are using their
trademarks correctly. If one of our end user's took the Mozilla packages
and reworked them to be the desktop, with links into every other piece
of software in the system, and then tried to distribute this product
under the Mozilla/Firefox trademarks that would represent a gross
violation of their trademark. (for which Debian would have no
reaponsibility BTW) As a counter example, one of the Knoppix based "live
CD" distributions (Either Morphix or Byzantine, I can't remember which)
has the desktop actually be the browser. But, of course, they don't
call it mozilla or firefox, or use any of the trademarks, so they have
followed the rules as well.

I guess, from what I've said above, I believe that the current state of
affairs in Debian is consistant with the letter of the licensing of that
software, and consistant with the spirit of their tradmark usage

Changing the names of these packages to contain neither the substring
"mozilla" nor the substring "firefox" would, in fact, hurt both Debian
and Mozilla, not to mention what it does to the maintainer's morale.



Reply to: