Re: mozilla thunderbird trademark restrictions / still dfsg free?
> It looks to me (IANAL) like, in US law, Debian has wide scope to alter
> a source code product in the course of packaging, and still use the
> upstream's trademarks, as long as it is labeled accordingly (and
> Debian is not contractually bound not to do so). See Prestonettes v.
> Coty 1924 ( http://laws.findlaw.com/us/264/359.html ), which was still
> good law at least as of Enesco v. Price/Costco 1998 (
> http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/9th/9656571.html ).
In case I wasn't clear, this interpretation suggests (IANAL) that no
trademark license is required (in the US) to distribute under the name
"Mozilla Firefox in Debian Packaging" or the like. Arguably, given
that _everything_ in Debian is built from (potentially heavily
patched) source by the Debian maintainer (or her upload sponsor or the
autobuilders), "mozilla-firefox_1.0+dfsg.1-2_i386.deb" is enough.
But putting Debian conspicuously in the short description and "as
packaged by the Debian Project" in the long description should be
ample. (This statement should be reviewed carefully by someone who
understands the Coty standard better than I do; other things may be
needed to meet its criterion of non-confusion in a software context.)
If this suffices, the Mozilla Foundation is probably better off this
way, since they aren't granting a trademark license and then leaving
QA up to the licensee (which is the sort of thing that compromises
one's trademark), nor are they forgoing any right to sue in the event
of actual harm.
I retract my earlier comment about how it's responsible of the Mozilla
Folks to put trademark language in the MPL (which was a factual error
anyway). It's responsible for them to discuss it with packagers. But
sometimes it's better to leave things out of the contract when the
statutory remedies and case law interpretations are satisfactory to
both parties. Can anyone point to comparable precedents elsewhere?