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Re: Trademarks: what is the line?

On Wed, Jan 05, 2005 at 12:03:15AM +0000, Gervase Markham wrote:
> >>The Mozilla trademark license seems to be rather harmless
> >>at that because they give permission to retain the command names.
> >
> >Judging from the followups to your message, it seems that this is not
> >the case...  :-(
> Indeed. If you renamed the product, you'd need to change the command and 
> package names also.

The command (eg. the binary's filename) is a functional element, which
can not--to my limited understanding--be restricted by trademark.  Debian
can always provide a "mozilla" binary (or symlink), that runs "debzilla".
(This wouldn't be an unreasonable thing to do, given the "alternatives"
paradigm, as long as the program itself was properly renamed--eg. it
doesn't say "Mozilla" in the title bar.)

Note that copyright licenses which require changing command names are
not allowed by the DFSG.  DFSG#4 allows requiring the name of the program
to be changed, but requiring the command itself to be changed essentially
prohibits compatibility, which goes too far.

I suspect that while the package name would be changed, a helper "mozilla"
package would point people to it.

Of course, it'd be nice if the resolution of this doesn't require Debian
to rename Mozilla.  However, as it's very uncommon for people to brandish
trademarks in this way--among free software, at least--there's not much
experience with how they interact with Debian's required freedoms.  I
can't remember the last time a trademark issue was even raised on debian-legal.
This is somewhat evidenced by the amount of head-scratching going on--it may
take some time to figure out.

Glenn Maynard

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