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Re: Ongoing Firefox (and Thunderbird) Trademark problems

* Wouter Verhelst (wouter@debian.org) wrote:
> On Sat, Jun 25, 2005 at 02:48:19AM -0400, Eric Dorland wrote:
> [...]
> > So, I don't feel I can accept the agreement offered by the Mozilla
> > Foundation, because of my objections to it and because I don't feel
> > empowered to make an agreement like this on behalf of Debian. 
> [...]
> > If the DPL does not step forward to make some sort of agreement, what
> > will I do? Renaming seems to be a very unpopular option. So I believe
> > my best option is to ignore the trademark policy altogether and have
> > the Mozilla Foundation tell us when they want us to stop using their
> > marks.
> I think that would be the worst thing to do. The problem has been
> brought up; Debian does not usually ignore such things. Additionally,
> accepting the deal does not require much of us -- I think if you
> 'ignore' the policy, what you'd be doing in practice is to accept the
> deal.

Actually Debian has a long history of doing just that. We ignore
patents unless they're enforced. We've ignored trademark policies like
this before. I would prefer to take a more "active" position, but
clearly renaming Firefox would be unpopular.

As I pointed out in my email, this has the disadvantage of looking
like a implicit agreement. I promise to be vigilant in seeking out any
unfair application of their trademarks (eg, telling others they are
not allowed to use "Firefox", while ignoring our use, in a similar
> You have to make a decision. Many people have told you that they don't
> think it's a problem WRT the DFSG to accept this deal, including some
> d-legal participants. You disagree, which is your right; but then you
> have to accept the consequences and live with them, not try to weasel
> out of them by attempting to 'ignore' the trademark policy (which you
> can't do anyway).

Why can't I? The trademark policy is not a license, and is easily
interpreted as the policy MoFo will apply when policing their
trademarks. My understanding is they do have to police their own
trademarks in most jurisdictions. They know what we're doing. They
either have to tell us to stop using the mark, or not. 

> In any case, since you're the maintainer of the package, the decision is
> ultimately yours -- see the Debian Constitution, §3.1, point 1. In other
> words, you /are/ empowered to accept or reject this deal; and although I
> would prefer that you accept it (since I think it's a reasonable one and
> one not in conflict with the DFSG), I would urge you to not keep the
> status quo.

The keys words of 3.1 point 1 being "may" and "their own work". I
think this issue goes beyond my own work. This is about the Mozilla
Foundation making an agreement with Debian (ie not me). It certainly
relates to my package, but the ramifications go beyond it. 

Eric Dorland <eric.dorland@mail.mcgill.ca>
ICQ: #61138586, Jabber: hooty@jabber.com
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