Re: Ongoing Firefox (and Thunderbird) Trademark problems
Humberto Massa Guimarães wrote:
> 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.
You must be free to do so, and you are free to do so.
If you further modify it, you have to follow the terms of the license.
One of those terms is that you change the name, and that is perfectly
acceptable under the DFSG.
All that has happened, as far as I can tell, is that the Mozilla
Foundation waved the requirement for Debian to change the name. Granting
additional rights shouldn't make something less free.
>>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
As long as we're being technical about the meaning of DFSG 8, I might as
well point out that, technically, the Mozilla Foundation has offered
additional permission for software prepared by Debian. If Debian decided
to distribute Mozilla Firefox outside of Debian-the-OS, that permission
would still apply.
> 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
DFSG explicitly allows the license to require the software be renamed if
modified. Hence, non-rebranded Firefox is free though without the
additional trademark license, we might not be able modify it and keep
the name [as you note, I'm not sure if trademark law actually requires
us to rename it, especially for minor changes]. But that's only
discouraged, not non-free.
> This is a fairly simple conclusion, and no "historically the DFSG
> was made thinking about copyrights only" argument contradicts what
> is precisely stated there.
I agree with this part: Claims that the DFSG applies only to copyrights
are not correct; the DFSG must apply to the entire, aggregate licence to
the software, no matter what area of law it is made under: Otherwise, we
are not actually protecting the freedoms of our users, in violation of
the Social Contract.
But the DFSG generally wouldn't apply to trademarks, because trademarks
are names, and names are exempted explicitly from the DFGS.
> 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.
The DFSG 4 exception talks about "a different name", not "a different
package name," "a different file name," or any other similar technical
concept. The name of a program is a human concept, and should be
understood as allowing the license to require a change in what the user
will perceive the name to be, not just what the packaging system calls it.
That includes changing that every window says "Mozilla Firefox" in the
title bar; that the Help menu says "About Firefox" and displays a
dialogue with the name Firefox prominently displayed as the program's
Now, it may be that we don't think that should be free. If so, though,
we need to change the DFSG.