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Re: Ongoing Firefox (and Thunderbird) Trademark problems

* Dale C. Scheetz (dwarf@polaris.net) wrote:
> 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.

You're skipping the crucial point here. Under the publicly available
licenses/policies, we *cannot* call it Firefox. The MoFo is offering
us an agreement that allows us to use the mark. I think agreeing to
this is against the spirit of DFSG #8, and sets a bad precedent
(speaking of precedents, have we ever made such an agreement before to
use a trademark?).
> 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
> document.
> 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.

Eric Dorland <eric.dorland@mail.mcgill.ca>
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