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Re: New Apache license compatible with GPL? (Was: [Talin@ACM.org: Suggestions for wording...?])


I am adding Richard Stallman to the CC list because I am sure he knows
more about the precise interaction between copyright licenses and trademark
licenses and how they interact with the GPL.

[Context: Discussion about the new Apache License 1.1 which doesn't contain
the advertising clause anymore, but which does contain some clauses which
restrict the use of the Apache name in any derived works. The question is if
this new license is GPL compatible. <http://www.apache.org/LICENSE.txt>]

On Mon, Jun 19, 2000 at 01:10:49AM -0700, Brian Behlendorf wrote:
> Does the GPL say anything about restrictions that other licenses may place
> on the *naming* of combined works?  The closest I can see is in section 6,
> it says, "You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients'
> exercise of the rights granted herein."  Since trademark isn't mentioned
> (i.e., there is no "you are hereby granted a right to use the trademarks
> associated with this program") then I have a feeling it's not covered.

I believe that you can distribute a program under the GNU General Public
License and a seperate Trademark license. That is what AbiSource does with
AbiWord. And I don't think it restricts the freedom of the user since it
is still allowed to distribute derived works.

What does not seem to be compatible with the GPL is trying put any further
restrictions on the user by invoking normal copyright law. By trying to use
copyright law in the Apache license to restrict the rights of recipient to
use an arbitrary word in the use of their derived work doesn't seem to be
compatible with the GPL. (That arbitrary word would of course be Apache in
this case :) Although if you have a real trademark on that word then clause
4 and 5 could be seen as just stating that the Apache License does not
grant someone the right to use the word Apache since it is a trademark.
But if that is the case then you could easily take away all confusion by
using something like the following instead of clauses 4 and 5:

  This license does not grant you the right to use any of the trademarks
  of the Apache Software Foundation. "Apache" is a trademark of the Apache
  Software Foundation and products derived from this software may not be
  called "Apache", nor may "Apache" appear in their name, without prior
  written permission of the Apache Software Foundation.

I think that would make sure that the new Apache License is compatible with
the GPL.

> To give an example, Linus owns the trademark on Linux, and while I'm not
> sure he's actually pursued any action against an entity using it against
> his wishes, I know he reserves the right to (by making sure people put
> "Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds" at the bottom of
> advertising & PR materials from the major Linux vendors).  
> Similarly, if Microsoft were to call its product MSApache, I'm sure we
> would go after them.

If you have a trademark on the Apache name then I think it can be used to
prevent altered versions that masquerade as the "official" version. But if
you don't have a trademark on Apache I am not sure that you can use a
copyright license to enforce the restriction on how that name is used.
(Which would be especially sad if Microsoft made a propriatary, closed
version of Apache.)

So if you don't have a trademark on the Apache name yet please try to
convince the ASF to get such a trademark.



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