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Re: Debian logo and TM logos

On Tue, Sep 24, 2002 at 03:17:18PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:

> Note that trademarks and copyrights are different things, and a very
> liberal copyright license would not necessarily preclude SPI from going
> after abuse of the Debian Open Use Logo on trademark grounds.

> There are, of course, many reasons why SPI might not attempt to enforce
> a trademark action in this case:

>         1) our lawyer might advise us that we can't (I don't know if we
>            have filed for trademark protection on our logos);
>         2) our lawyer might advise us that we would be unlikely to
>            prevail, due to jurisdictional or other issues;
>         3) our lawyer might be unwilling to pursue an enforcement action
>            on a wholly pro bono basis, in which case the Debian Project
>            and SPI need to decide whether it's worth spending money to
>            do anything about this;
>         4) Debian and/or the SPI membership might decide it's not worth
>            the trouble;
>         5) we might first politely ask them to use a different logo, and
>            they might agree

Is it any longer even possible to claim a trademark on the Open Use Logo,
with such a liberal Open Use license?  Given that trademarks must be
actively protected, it seems to me that we're very much on the edge of
what trademark law will actually protect.  Moreover, I think the fact
that two of these possible infringements involve modifications to the
logo rather moves the question out of the domain of trademark law and
into the domain of copyright law.  This also means that, ironies aside, a
DFSG-compliant license for the Open Use Logo would curtail our options in
prosecuting derived works.  And maybe that's ok, too; I think there
should be open discussion of whether we want to stick to trademark law
for protecting the logo (tempered with an appropriate dose of legal
advice, of course).

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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