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Re: I'll let the Freemasons know Debian is distributing their trademark

William Ballard <nospam_40811@alltel.net> writes:

> On Tue, Jan 11, 2005 at 11:44:13AM -0500, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
>> He might violate their trademarks -- say by proclaiming that he is
>> selling Humvees when actually selling Pintos.  But that's got nothing
>> to do with Debian, and he'd be doing so whether or not this clip art
>> were nearby.
> Kind of makes Debian an accessory.  Listen, everybody, these images are 
> no big freaking deal.  You write the company, they're gonna say "who 
> cares?  This little thing doesn't matter."

No, that's not an accessory.  And a typical company will take the
approach which generates less billable hours for their very expensive
lawyers, and say "No, you can't do that.  We may not have rights to
stop you, but we're sure not giving you permission."

> The approach -- taking something clearly what it is and using it unless 
> somebody tells you you can't or it's a big deal -- such as including the 
> NFL logo would be a big deal, including this isn't, makes me rather 
> uncomfortable.

I can't make any sense out of this sentence, except to tell that
you're unhappy.  I suspect the problem is in this phrase "something
clearly what it is".  Duracell has no right in law to stop others from
depicting black oblongs with copper ends.  They *do* have a right to
stop others from selling batteries which are confusable with Duracell
batteries, or from falsely implying that Duracell, Inc. endorses some
product or idea.

Look, I can even tell you this: I have two batteries, black with
copper ends, they say Duracell on them, and I use them to power a
Strange and Unusual Device.

> It's like this Clip Art package is the kernel and these couple of random 
> images -- they are clearly what they are -- are unaudited contributions 
> by a few people that spoil the whole thing.

No, we know who drew these, who owns the copyrights on them, and how
to contact these people.

> My intitution tells me that the picture of the McDonalds logo on the BBC 
> website and the inclusion of the FreeMason or Duracell or Rubik's cube 
> are different things.  One is a case of journalism or fair use and the 
> other is a case of merchandising - making something more attractive and 
> encouraging you to use it because it's there.
> But don't flame me, I get your point.  I still have a queasy feeling 
> about it, though -- mostly what it represents.  It's just not nice to 
> use other people's stuff and there's no good reason for a picture of a 
> rubik's cube to be in there.  You should go ask the guy who made the 
> rubik's cube for a picture.

I haven't flamed you.  You have flamed this list, and made juvenile
appeals to authority to cover your ignorance of the law.  This is not
other people's stuff.  This is pictures of other people's stuff.
There is no inherent property right to imagery of your public stuff.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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