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Re: Mozilla Firefox's icon and trademark

On Fri, Mar 05, 2004 at 08:01:42PM -0500, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> Andrew Suffield <asuffield@debian.org> writes:
> > On Fri, Mar 05, 2004 at 12:26:55PM -0500, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> >> As a consequence of the above, even if we did have a copyright license
> >> to modify the icon or the bitmap of the text "Firefox", we wouldn't
> >> have a trademark license to use the word 'Firefox' to describe our
> >> modified product.
> >
> > Did you even read what I wrote? Why does it help to prohibit me from
> > taking the firefox logo, replacing the fox part with a cow, and using
> > it as the logo for something else entirely? How could this possibly be
> > relevant?
> I did, but this last reply makes no sense to me.  I mean, you're right
> -- assuming a Firemoo logo isn't confusingly similar to the Firefox
> logo, there is no reason to prevent doing that.  But I don't
> understand why you're saying that.
> As far as I know, this is a conversation about the trademark license
> and the packaging of Mozilla and Firefox.  You brought up that there's

No, it's about the Mozilla people trying to use a copyright licence to
control trademark rights, which doesn't work and is counter-productive.  The
initial message in this thread[1] may be instructive.

> also a copyright issue a few messages back; my response was meant to
> say that even if the copyright issue gets resolved -- explaining the
> distinction between copyright and trademark and convincing the Mozilla
> folks to apply the NPL/MPL/GPL copyright license to the logo, and
> convincing them that they won't have trouble from stupid or careless
> people not understanding the distinction -- we'd still have to resolve
> the trademark issue.

Yes, and which can be resolved a number of ways, none of which were
discussed in the slightest by the message which triggered this thread[1].

> As it is, Debian's on shaky or at least impolite ground by
> distributing a package called mozilla which isn't a pristine Mozilla
> build.

I would expect that pretty much every other Linux distribution would be in
a similar position, though.  It's very rare, IME, for a distro to provide a
pristine upstream for any major package.

I think that Mozilla's paranoia is misplaced.  All distributors of Mozilla
want to provide the very best for their users.  No distro is going to shoot
itself in the foot by breaking any software package.  About all a
distributor can do is add features, which may not be available in the
"pristine" version, but I'd consider that a motivation for Mozilla to keep
up to date with users' needs.

> But if the trademark license is revised such that minor modifications
> are OK, then it'll be easy to get the Mozilla foundation to move the
> Mozilla and Firefox logos to a Free copyright license, because
> there'll be a clear reason to do so.

Classifying "minor" vs "non-minor" is a super-being task.  It's all shades. 
A better way would be to require that all modified versions of the software
are clearly identified as being non-official - requiring a modification to
the version number, for instance.  Logos aren't a huge issue, because what
you're trying to avoid is *product* confusion, not brand confusion.

- Matt


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