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Re: Ongoing Firefox (and Thunderbird) Trademark problems

** Anthony DeRobertis ::

> Humberto Massa Guimarães wrote:
> > Well said. IMHO, no. DFSG #8 -- witch is part of the SC, IIRC --
> > forbids us to have rights that our users don't have.
> No, it doesn't. It says:
> The rights attached to the program must not depend on the
> program's being part of a Debian system. If the program is
> extracted from Debian and used or distributed without Debian but
> otherwise within the terms of the program's license, all parties
> to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights
> as those that are granted in conjunction with the Debian system.

This is exactly what I was talking about: if you consider their
trademark policy (for everybody else) combined with their license
for Debian to use their trademark, you do have "rights attached to
the program" (the presence of MF's trademarks, most visibly in the
caption of the main window and in the names of both the package and
the main executable AFAIK (*)) that "depend on the program's being
part of Debian". And that's it. The only copies of Firefox that do
not infringe on this particular DFSG clause are those which are
absolutely clean of MF's trademarks.

> Very clearly, DFSG 8 states that you can not have a different set
> of rights in regard to FireFox when it is distributed as part of
> Debian vs.  when it is not distributed as part of Debian. That's
> all.

And this is my problem with the inclusion of MF's trademark usage in
our package: the right to include such trademark *is* attached to
the program (after all, it's the original name of the program (**));
it's a right that *must* *not* *depend* on the program's being part
of a Debian system. One *must* be capable of extracting the program
from Debian and use it, or distribute it, without debian, but
otherwise within the terms of the program's license -- which
obviously (at least IMHO) includes the license to the trademarks
originally included in the program.
> It does /not/ prohibit Debian the organization from having rights
> that other people don't. It is unreasonable to read it that way,
> because Debian will *always* have additional rights in some works,
> for example those which it is author or copyright holder of.

You are 100% right. But this is irrelevant, because you ignored the
context of my phrase. The relevant (contextualized) meaning of my
phrase above is:

premise 1 => DFSG #8 classifies as non-free software that has *any*
rights attached to it that depends on the software be distributed in

premise 2 => Mozilla Foundation Firefox trademark, which is present
to be displayed in the usage of the firefox browser as it comes
originally, has a restrictive license that either (a) forbids it to
be used by Debian or (b) allows it to be used by Debian and Debian
only, according to our acceptance or not of their offer of exclusive
trademark licensing.

conclusion => non-rebranded Firefox is not Free Software as per the

This is a fairly simple conclusion, and no "historically the DFSG
was made thinking about copyrights only" argument contradicts what
is precisely stated there.

Even taking the DFSG #4 concession, what is being asked from the MF
is not a rename of the program (in which case the version in Debian
could be called firefox-debianized or somesuch), but a complete
purge of the trademark from the visible part of the program
(including menu items, etc), which goes IMHO clearly beyond the
DFSG #4 exception.

(*) I don't even know if US trademark law allows them to go that
far; I could NOT find in Brazilian trademark law any references to
anything as deep as that. Basically, the only references that I
found in BR case law were to *advertising* and *misrepresenting*
something as being from the wrong origin.

Anyway, the situation that we have here is: we are modifying Civics
and putting different accessories and tuning the engine. We are not
obliged to sell our Civics under any other name (maybe in the
interest of full disclosure we should state to the next buyer that
the car is modified and tuned, IRT the original Civics, and our
Consumer Defense Act even makes us give some warranty on the
services we made on the vehicle). The Civic is a Civic and any
non-forking, non-backdooring, derivative of Firefox is still
Firefox, without any trademark being violated IMHO. IANAL, TINLA,
and I am not quite familiarized with the Brazilian Industrial
Property Act (which regulates trademarks and patents, and gives some
instructions about trade/industrial secrets), as opposed to
Brazilian copyright statutes and case law, which I am quite familiar
with, having worked in some cases while I was a paralegal in a DA's
office, criminally prosecuting alledged copyright infringers.

(**) as opposed to other trademarks that also cannot be used in the
program. An example: I cannot take a modified firefox and call it
"The Coca-Cola Browser", as I cannot take modified k3b and re-brand
it "The Coca-Cola CD Burner". Does this fact make those programs
non-free? NO. Because the Coca-Cola trademark (property of The
Coca-Cola Company etc etc) is *not* attached to the program. But
you'll agree with me that the trademark "firefox" *is* attached to
the firefox web browser.


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