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Re: mozilla thunderbird trademark restrictions / still dfsg free?

Gervase Markham wrote:

So the question is: is the right to call a bit of software by a certain name an "important freedom"? That's definitely debatable. The name you use to refer to a bit of software doesn't affect its function.

Yes, that's right, but we don't want to be upstream or another fork. We package free software provided by upstream. That is, we usually distribute the tarballs as they are and build the package with modifications we need to do in order to keep up with some debian standards or to improve the quality.

In contrast, the package you want us to distribute is not distributed by upstream. You distribute something that is restricted by active trademark enforcement, which IMHO is non-free, because a trademark policy is just another way to restrict freedom.

You referred often to 'we'd have to negotiate'. OK, fine. Let's start with it.

Maybe you give up on some off your procedures. e.g. you could give up restrictions you try to enforce on us. I mean, debian (as well as other free software distributors) is (are) should not need to care if there is a trademark for some package or something. There is no problem for thousands of packages we include, so why mozilla?

The whole issue arises with your policy document. If no such thing would exist, we (including mozilla) would probably have no problem here. Nevertheless, you could still claim your brand your own IMHO. It is just a problem on how you define "actively enforcing" a trademark.

AFAIK, enforcement of trademarks can be of preventive or responsive nature. I think if you treat your trademarks like others do (in a responsive manner), there would be no problem either. (This might be wrong, though, because me != lawyer)

AFAICS, other projects use a responsive enforcement for their trademark. I assume this, because they did not come to us.

I bet they would go after commercials or other organizations that actually want to harm the brand significantly.

On the other hand, going behind the small guys that distribute their super gcc cvs HEAD build of a package is somehow different. Usually those guys are somewhat private and they actually have no intent nor the potential to harm your trademark. Maybe they get 100 downloads of this super unstable package, but that's it. If the quality sucks, people won't come back, but will typically not think: "This piece of software is firefox? What a bad brand!". IHMO, people installing those builds will more or less know what they are doing.

Actually, I think there is a much greater probability, that some stupid guy somehow gets your pretty broken HEAD-prealpha-fancy-testings-stuff still-branded-premium-build on his box and wonders why the UI is somehow broken. After installing the right version, he finds his profile is broken and as a stupid user his pop mail inbox is lost too. I bet, the user will find this is _no inbox reclaim_, but rather _an inbox wipe-out_ :).

What I am trying to say is that mozilla is far too eager in enforcing their trademarks. I hope this is because you just think this is needed by law. I hope this is not because you really believe it helps the overall purpose or will maximize the value of your brand.

Finally, I cannot tell you what to do. But I think it is your turn to break this vicious circle. As Glenn just pointed out, this is completely uncommon. So why do you want to go this way anyway? Try to rethink your attitude, maybe escalate this issue to mozilla management or do what is needed to do, to actually keep things going. I doubt there is a solution unless you do so.

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