[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Trademark policy for packages?

* Simon Josefsson:

> My question is: What is Debian's policy on trademarks for terms used
> in documentation and package descriptions?

There are no established policies, AFAIK.  As long as trademark issues
do not prevent creation and distribution of derivative works, or
prevent an interoperable reimplementation, trademarks are outside
Debian's scope.

> I have established a contact with the MIT Technology Licensing Office,
> and while I have a basic answer permitting me the usage permitted by
> law, I'm wondering if there are particular permissions that would be
> useful to request as far as Debian is concerned.

Beyond what is permitted by law, we need to be able to use the
trademarks in our package names, and the names of commands, library
functions, and the like, even if a modified or completely different
implementation is used (see kerberos4kth1, OpenSSH vs. non-free SSH,
or Lesstif vs. OpenMotif).  This kind of trademark usage could be
generally permitted by law (like "X is a reimplementation of the FOO
framework"), but it is hard to tell for sure.

However, this is largely theoretical at this stage because
historically, Debian does accept explicit trademark-based restrictions
on derivative works (see PHP, TeX, Apache, Mozilla).  Strictly
speaking, this means that we need to rename the PHP packages if we
apply a backported security patch, and this is why such restrictions
are silly.

Reply to: