Re: Python Software Foundation trademark policy
In message <4586B146.firstname.lastname@example.org>, Gervase Markham
MJ Ray wrote:
If I purchase Debian CDs and type "python", or I do "man python" and
read all about the interpreter which I can invoke by typing "python"
which interprets the Python programming language, or I install
"python-doc" and read some more, isn't that use of the trademark?
What trade is happening when one types "python", or does "man
and reads, or installs python-doc and reads? If someone is paying you
to do those acts, I expect it may be necessary to beware the
<sigh> Could you really not work out what I meant?
The CD I have been sold by the Debian distributor uses the Python
trademarks to label their shipped version of the Python code. I notice
this when I interact with what I have purchased in any of the ways
listed above. The fact that the name Python is not printed on the
outside of the CD is surely not relevant to whether the distributor is
passing off their version of Python under the trademark.
The policy says:
"Use of the word "Python" when redistributing the Python programming
language as part of a freely distributed application -- Allowed. If the
standard version of the Python programming language is modified, this
should be clearly indicated. For commercial distributions, contact the
PSF for permission."
As I understand it, you are asserting that someone selling Debian CDs
does not need to request permission from the PSF under this clause. But
I don't understand why. In the case of a Debian redistributor selling
me a set of Debian CDs, is your position that:
a) The distribution is not "commercial distribution" of Python; or
b) The distributor is not redistributing the Python programming
c) The distribution does not use the word "Python"; or
d) The distribution does not meet the test of being a "freely
distributed application"; or
y) The PSF does not have the right, under trademark law, to make the
restriction quoted above for the uses to which Debian puts the word;
Actually, I think this is pretty damn close to the situation.
If the Debian version is unmodified (although I gather it is :-) then
for Debian to describe it using the word "Python" CANNOT (aiui) be a
trademark violation. They are describing a product, using its
trademarked name. There is no violation. Whether it's a commercial
distro or not is irrelevant.
Rule one of trademarks: Describing a genuine product by its trademarked
name NEVER requires permission.
Seeing as it has been modified, however, this muddies the waters
somewhat. I guess if it's just bugfixes and mucking about with
installation paths etc, that doesn't count as "modified", though. If,
however, the actual code of the programs has been significantly altered,
then you do have a problem.
You might be thinking here of the "Red Hat issue", where RH forced the
removal of their trademarks from copies of the distro. That's very
different - there was real consumer confusion about whether the CD came
with official support from RH. If the Python people expect most distros
to package Python (and don't do (much) distro customisation themselves,
they won't be able to argue anything like this.
z) something else?
(For the sake of argument, I concur that Debian is complying with the
middle sentence of the paragraph about labelling modified versions.)
Anthony W. Youngman - email@example.com