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Re: Bug#265352: grub: Debian splash images for Grub

Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> Josh Triplett <josh.trip@verizon.net> writes:
>>No; the problem is that the *work*, meaning the Debian logo, would be
>>non-free, because it would not grant all the rights required by the
>>DFSG.  Specifically, you could not take the logo and use it in any way
>>you choose, in any field of endeavor, including the field of software.
> The Debian logo is not a work.  It is depicted in many works.  The
> logo is the idea which is expressed in all those works.  Any work, no
> matter how derived, which expresses that idea depicts the Debian logo
> and is a trademark of Debian.

I'm well aware of that.  The only such works for which the DFSG-freeness
of the trademark license is relevant, however, are those logo _images_
(if you prefer to require that qualification) which are shipped in the
Debian distribution, and works derived from those logo images.

> And any license which claims to free the logo by relaxing these
> requirements causes the idea in question to no longer be the logo of
> Debian.  That's just how trademark law works.  All those people who
> think that you have to defend your copyrights or lose them -- this is
> the non-bullshit version of what they're thinking about.  What you're
> arguing would require that Debian have no logo.  I'm not convinced
> that's an awful idea, but I sure don't think it's a good one.  If you
> think it's a good one, go over to -project and argue that the Project
> should have no logo or name, and should relinquish its trademarks.

Please do not continue to construct this misrepresentation of my
position.  I am not arguing that Debian should hold no trademarks, nor
am I arguing that Debian should not have a name and logo.

My argument is solely based on the fact that works in Debian main must
be DFSG-free, and therefore if we wish to ship the logo (or if you
prefer, "logo images") in Debian main, which for practical reasons we
must be able to, it must be DFSG-free.  A license on those "logo images"
which does not permit all possible uses, up to and including use on
competing websites, for competing distributions, and so on, is not
DFSG-free.  On the other hand, requirements such as *acknowledge the
origin of the logo*, *do not misrepresent the origins of the logo*, and
*do not falsely claim endorsement by or affiliation with Debian* are
perfectly reasonable.

This argument is much like the case of Free licenses for standards
documents.  Some people argue that in order to keep the standard
standardized, the license on those documents should prohibit various
types of modification, such as non-conforming implementations, or simply
all modified versions.  However, this is both non-free and unnecessary.
 A DFSG-free solution that also achieves the same goal is a license
which includes terms much like those of zlib:

> 1. The origin of this software must not be misrepresented; you must not
> claim that you wrote the original software. If you use this software
> in a product, an acknowledgment in the product documentation would be
> appreciated but is not required.
> 2. Altered source versions must be plainly marked as such, and must
> not be misrepresented as being the original software.

Such terms ensure that anyone clearly understands they are getting a
modified, non-standard version of the standard.

Similarly, the logo/"logo image" is used to identify Debian as Debian;
it could be argued (and is currently being argued by many) that we need
a license which prohibits those uses we find "undesirable", such as use
by competing (or even friendly) distributions.  Again, this is non-free.
 A DFSG-free solution that achieves the same goal is a license which
includes terms that require distributors to not misrepresent the origins
of the logo image, document modifications, preserve the accompanying
license notices (which will reference the Debian Project), and even (if
we are willing to be GPL-incompatible) explicitly acknowlege the origins
of the logo.  There are many other similar requirements Debian could
make to serve the same goals while still remaining DFSG-free.

I see no reason why, if a license like that which has been proposed,
which would prohibit unmodified or insufficiently modified use by others
(unless that use refers to Debian), is accepted as DFSG-free, that a
license which said "You may not use this software as a basis for other
software that competes with ours, or to run a website which competes
with ours." would not be DFSG-free as well.  The only difference here is
that we sympathise with the prohibitions of "undesirable" uses.

- Josh Triplett

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