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Mozilla and Trademarks

The recent thread about Mozilla and trademarks on debian-legal has been drawn to my attention. For those who don't know me, I'm Gerv, and I'm currently the first point of contact for trademark and copyright licensing issues at Mozilla.

I have to say that Alex's original "summary" of our position actually misrepresented our position in a number of ways. He actually posted the full mail I sent him[0] after the discussion finished; I would ask people to please read that to see what I actually said, and whether we can come to an arrangement which allows Debian to use the name "Thunderbird" for their version of our software.


> They basically want us to comply to the community editions terms as
> described in [1].

That's not strictly true - the Community Edition method was one suggestion of a way Debian could distribute our stuff, and still label it "Thunderbird". It's not the only way. I have a lot of time for Debian, and I'm happy to spend time negotiating something that works for both sides, if such a thing exists, rather than just pointing you at our standard policy.

So, please don't just read the standard policy, as Nathaniel did[2] and assume it would all apply to Debian. My original mail already included some suggested departures from it.

> This implies that we do not use any term that reads: "Mozilla
> Thunderbird".

While true, this is misleading. We want to use the two words together "Mozilla Thunderbird" to label our own releases, but we'd very much like the Debian version to be of high quality, and to have a name including the word "Thunderbird". (This is why we asked for the package to be renamed from "mozilla-thunderbird", but suggested "thunderbird" as an alternative.)

I suggested "Thunderbird for Debian" as an alternative UI name which Alex seemed to like. Andrew Suffield made a good point[1] about the substituting one trademark for another; maybe this isn't the best alternative name. Let's think of another.

> Another IMHO more important point is, that we need (they want us) to
> add a statement to the thunderbird copyright file like:

This is just not true. I said that Debian _may_ wish to make their users aware of the need to remove our trademarks if they modified the package, and suggested some wording. I am well aware of the pitfalls of mandating text to be placed here, there or everywhere.

> I think they want us to negotiate all package names individually. In
> addition, they will be god for us (e.g. we add a patch, they have to
> agree). [ Quoted from [3] ]

We would need to come to an arrangement about each package name (which may revolve around a naming scheme). But there's only three or four of them. And the statement about us "being a god for you" isn't true. We'd need to find some way to come to an accommodation - we don't want software hacked around to an arbitrary degree being labelled "Thunderbird", but obviously you need to make changes and security updates without delay or hassle.

So the question is: is the Mozilla Foundation's wish to have a level of quality control over things labelled with its trademark fundamentally incompatible with the Debian project's goals? If so, I'm afraid we're in Iceweasel land. But I hope that's not the case.


P.S. If you do end up deciding to rename the packages, you don't want to use the -zilla postfix. The reason for this is explained under "Related Software" in [4].

[0] http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/12/msg00342.html
[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/12/msg00345.html
[2] http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/12/msg00389.html
[3] http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/12/msg00343.html
[4] http://www.mozilla.org/foundation/trademarks/policy.html

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