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

Josh Triplett <josh.trip@verizon.net> writes:

> Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
>> Josh Triplett <josh.trip@verizon.net> writes:

> The logo _should_ be usable as a logo by anybody else, as long as they
> fulfill certain requirements.

You say that in a very general way.  I'm not imagining all the
specific cases, I'm sure, but all those of which I conceive would
cause Debian to lose its trademark interests if that happened.  None
of the specifics you've suggested have seemed like they'd work.

>> Also, I'm not clear to whom
>> those requirements apply -- those who modify and distribute the work,
> Anyone who distributes the work, modified or unmodified.  I don't think
> we can't regulate "use" and be Free; fortunately, most uses of the logo
> are distributions, such as putting it on a website, or stamping it on a
> CD and distributing the CD, or similar.

I disagree.  Stamping it on the side of your building isn't

In any case, you're mixing copyright concerns like distribution into
trademark issues.  It's not legal for me to sell shoes with the Nike
logo, unless they're Nike shoes.  The copyright on the swoosh doesn't
matter to this; the trademark registration does.

>> or anyone in the privacy of their home, or mirrors who distribute it
>> unmodified?  If the last, then *we*'d have to ship compliant images,
>> to avoid making mirrors' lives hell.  And adding "Debian Logo" and
>> "not affiliated with Debian" on the bottom of every image sounds like
>> it would make it not useful as a Debian logo either -- but maybe you
>> can propose some wording such that it would work.  I'd be interested
>> to see that.
> First of all, you aren't required to make the note _in_ the
> image. :)

You are if you don't want to confuse people.

> Second, I think the notices on the website are already more than
> sufficient for that use of the logo
> I'm not saying we can't place additional requirements that only apply if
> you aren't referring to Debian, only that we can't prohibit such use.
> An example of one way to use the logo that should be permitted (though
> not the only possibility): use the logo as your logo, but put a note on
> your page (perhaps near where you have all the copyright notices) saying
> "The logo is the Debian logo, (TM) Software in the Public Interest,
> Inc.", or a link "Logo legal information" pointing to a page with the
> same information.  The site must also never say things like "Endorsed by
> the Debian project", but that's a function of our trademark on the word
> "Debian", not on the logo license.  Does that not sound more-or-less
> reasonable?

No.  That sounds confusing to web browsers, and like it weakens
Debian's trademark substantially.  That persistent bug,
elektro-whatever, is an example of this.

> What you seem to be saying, however, is that Debian considers uses
> "undesirable" that are not "representation or identification of Debian",
> and you (and others) are suggesting Debian should prohibit those in the
> license.  That's exactly what I'm talking about, and that is non-free.

We've already prohibited those by registering a trademark.  We lose
the trademark if we do not enforce that.  You seem to think there's a
middle ground, where we don't enforce our trademark but don't lose it,
but I'm not seeing it.

>> So Knoppix could use the swirl Open Use logo, but only to
>> represent the idea of Debian -- say, with the words "Debian derived"
>> or as a logo for a link to Debian's site.  They could not use it as a
>> logo for Knoppix.
> That's non-free.  Any other image in Debian could (I certainly hope) be
> taken and used unmodified as a logo; why not the Debian logo image?
> "Because it's the Debian logo." is not a reason to be non-free.

That's not true at all.  There are images in xbill, for example, which
are logos of various other companies.  The firefox and mozilla logos
cannot be taken and used unmodified as logos.  There are trademarks
shown by some xscreensaver hacks, particularly bsod.

You cannot even take the string "Linux" and use it as a logo without
infringing the trademark.

> I certainly hope you agree that the suggested restrictions are non-free.

Not at all.  I think trademarks as such are a kind of name, and it's
free to require exceptional clarity with names.  The trademark part is
entirely distinct from the functional part of any work, so that's OK.

> unmodified or modified use of any Free image as a logo is perfectly
> reasonable.  Any special restriction that you can only justify by
> saying "it's the Debian logo" is a non-free restriction; it's an
> image, and it should be usable just like any other Free image.

It's not justified that way, but by saying "it's a logo, a name.
You're free to create derivative works of any variety, and to
distribute them freely.  But trademark law prevents you from using
anything confusingly similar to a registered mark.  That's not a
property of the works Debian is shipping.

>> Your proposed license, in any case, says that recipients may not use
>> this software (the logo image) as a basis for other software (logo
>> images) that competes with ours.
> That's exactly the kind of restriction I'm trying to avoid; if I have
> somehow not made that clear, my apologies. :)

Hm.  I can't see any way to let, say, Red Hat start shipping CDs with
a big Debian swirl on the top, and Fedora inside with a little note in
the README saying "logo is from Debian.  We're not endorsed by Debian"
without losing our trademark.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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