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Re: AbiWord, trademarks, and DFSG-freeness

On Thu, Oct 21, 2004 at 05:07:35AM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > It seems unlikely that work (A) which GPLed but is not trademarked
> > "abiword" would be more or less DFSG-free than work (B) which is GPLed
> > but is not trademarked "AbiWord".
> Huh?
> It seems unlikely that:
> work (A) which [is] GPLed but is not trademarked "abiword"
> would be more or less free than
> work (B) which is GPLed but is not trademarked "AbiWord"
> ???
> Are you trying to make a point about case, or did you mean something else
> entirely?

I'm trying to make a point.  The upper/lower case difference slipped
through and confused what I was trying to say.

As I understand it, someone (maybe not us) does not have the right to
put the trademark AbiWord on some derivative work.  This means that
that person has the right to make a derivative work which is generic
(which means that the trademark "AbiWord" can't be used to label the
generic work).

At that point, it's just a GPLed work.  It's not a trademarked work.

Call it "work (A)".

Contrast that to some other GPLed work, which is not a trademarked work --
mabe GNU emacs.  Call that other work "work (B)".

Then again, if there are rules about what's generic and what's not that
apply to us and not to other people, that puts the trademark holder
at risk of losing control of the trademark.  If they have made these
arguments with sufficient force, and there are works out there that are
generic or trademarked depending on the activities of a group that does
not legally exist (such as Debian), the trademark might already have
been abandoned.

> I have long asserted that there is a distinction between work titles and
> things like package names and filenames.  Do you disagree?

I probably would, if I knew for certain what you meant by "work titles".

It's certainly the case that people call programs by names that are
different from what they type at a command line to start those programs.
It's also true that in a gui environment that that people don't type
command lines to start the program and are thus unaware of whatever
internal symbolism is used by the computer to start the program.

I'm not sure it matters though.  Case law for trademarks is quite a bit
different from case law for copyrights, and my understanding of it is
that the rules for "where do you put the trademark" vary depending on
the specifics of the trademark.


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