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

Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:

> But trademarks don't cover works.  Your whole message treats
> trademarks as a funny sort of copyright which sometimes doesn't follow
> chains of derivation.  They aren't.  They're a completely different
> beast.
> For example, your model doesn't deal at all with the fact that we have
> the string "IBM" packaged at many points.  It's a trademark, and there
> is nothing like what you'd call a free license for it.  Would you
> advocate removing the trademarks of IBM, Apple, Bitstream, Mozilla,
> and AT&T?  How about TeX?

Likewise the string "Debian" is a trademark.  So is "Linux".  So are "ATI",
"Radeon", "Rage 128", "POSIX", "GNU", "GCC", "GNOME", "Pentium", "SPARC",
and I could go on all night.  So are the Windows, Apple, NeXT, Solaris
logo, which are used in XBill (to refer to the respective operating

*None of them* have licenses which permit *anything* normally prohibited by
trademark law.  In fact, Intel is extremely aggressive at protecting its
"Pentium" trademark, and will sue the pants off you if you infringe it.  In
fact, that's the only reason Intel renamed their 586 as the "Pentium" --
because they couldn't hold onto '386' or '486' as a trademark, and a bunch
of companies did produce and advertise their own '386' chips.

This has not been a problem, because traditional trademark law is actually
really, really reasonable.  Nothing I've seen done in Debian with any of
the above trademarks constitutes trademark infringement.  (Even "Lindows"
almost certainly isn't trademark infringement, although it's arguably
trading off the recognition of the trademarked Microsoft Windows name.  I
think, IIRC, that the case involved "dilution" claims, about which see

I still do not believe that there is anything non-free about traditional
trademark rights; that there is nothing which actually constitutes
traditional trademark infringement which Debian would want to defend the
right to do.

(The newfangled concept of trademark *dilution* is another matter, and
Debian might want to explicitly state that people are permitted to perform
activities that might be "trademark dilution" on Debian's trademarks. 
That's one thing an explicit trademark license could do.)

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