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Re: Firefox/Thunderbird trademarks: a proposal

Gervase Markham <gerv@mozilla.org> wrote:
> This modified version has been approved of by at least one list 
> member[2].

I don't remember much about Michael K Edwards except he's currently
MIA from the New Maintainer queue.
Then again, I'm not very good at making whoami clear when it
would help. I'll try to improve.

debian-legal is advisory. The decision-makers are the ftpmasters
(ultimately, but they're a bit busy and tend to listen to advice)
and the package maintainers. Sorry if that wasn't clear. That's
probably the biggest omission from the web site at the minute. I'll
see if I can change it soon (needs me to relearn some things).

Usually, the maintainers ask debian-legal, but there are some
notable exceptions, IMO thanks to various hate campaigns. If
two maintainers have totally different views, I guess ftpmasters
get to play referee while debian-legal are the linesmen.

> What if we come up with something, and later project-wide discussion on 
> the general issue of trademarks decides that it's in fact non-free?


Looking at it another way, use debian-legal as a vocal, interested
focus group for your development. If you can't even convince this
bunch of liberal law-abiders, then you really might have a problem.

> [...] Debian 
> approached us to make sure that they are doing the right thing, and this 
> is what we are working out here. Or would you rather I did everyone else 
> first, and left the Debian package in legal limbo?

This latest round started with your proposal. I'm sorry, but my
brain is too addled to remember who approached who and I didn't
find a backlink.  I'm not sure it matters.  I think it's rather
unhelpful to suggest that licensing and being left in limbo are
the only two options here. At least, there's "acting to avoid"
that Eric could do.

More to the point, Mozilla Foundation knows about Fedora's
infringement and have not done anything. Is this common? Have
the trademarks become generic?

> Let's take just one example. The Mozilla Foundation is very keen that 
> nothing ships as "Firefox" which contains spyware. How would you define 
> "spyware" in a watertight way for the trademark license document? 

How does MF's trademark scheme stop that happening? No offence, but
the Mozilla codebase is damn huge and I can't believe you'll check
every line of every package.

The debian project is very keen that nothing ships as "debian" which
has security flaws. We don't go around stomping on CD distributors
who are selling old releases, do we? (Honest question: I might just
not have heard about it.)

Maybe it's not possible for anyone other than MF to ship Firefox
as free software while they have their current aims for the
trademarks. It would be a defining case study in free software
and trademarks.

> > If I did have a trademark on "Eric Dorland", and I didn't like what
> > someone was doing with it, I could ask them (legally) to stop. I don't
> > need a Trademark License to enforce that.
> You would rather Debian was in the situation where the Mozilla 
> Foundation could ask them to stop using the Firefox trademark 
> immediately and totally at any time?

No, but that power isn't given by current law.
 w  ,  )tm.   
<FirE   fOx     For example, an ASCII riff on the "fox
xFIRE/   fo     in a washing machine" idea.  As I
xFIRE`   FOx    understand it, it's not a web browser,
dFIR`   .fOx    so not a trademark law problem, and
fIREfox fIRe    it's not a copyright problem because
fOXTRA demAr    it's the smallest amount needed for
kPAINfiREFo     the commentary.

Sorry, I got carried away. Basically, please stop overstating
the impact of having no trademark agreement with MF. I think
we could even use it to describe a web browser in a way.

My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
Subscribed to this list. No need to Cc, thanks.

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