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Re: Debian logos and trademarks

On Thu, 8 Feb 2007 00:38:34 -0800 Don Armstrong wrote:

> On Thu, 08 Feb 2007, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > On Wed, Feb 07, 2007 at 11:57:13PM -0800, Don Armstrong wrote:
> > > On Thu, 08 Feb 2007, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > > > The DFSG refers to copyright licensing, it doesn't cover patents
> > > > or trademarks.
> > > It actually doesn't refer to any of them specifically. It does
> > > talk about licensing, but it doesn't clarify whether it's refering
> > > to copyright licensing or trademark licensing.
> > 
> > It talks about modification and distribution, which are copyright
> > issues.
> These are issues which involve copyright, but they also involve
> patents and trademarks as well.

I agree that the DFSG are *not* limited to copyright issues.
They refer to the freedoms that must be granted over a work for it to be
called "Free", whichever legal "obstacles" (copyright laws, trademark
laws, patent laws, and so forth) have to be worked around in order to
get those freedoms granted.

> > Having a free copyright license, and a reasonably permissive
> > trademark license is sufficient for a name or logo to be in main, cf
> > the terms Gnome, apache, java, or Debian for example.
> For non-functional names, an argument can be made that this follows
> from DFSG §4.

Yes, it can.

> For logos, there's no such clear argument.


As far as Debian logos are concerned, I stated several times that the
current situation is awkward and should be fixed.

See, for instance, the following threads or sub-threads:


I rapidly read the debian-project thread
and must say that I appreciate that the issue is being attacked again.

To reply to Anthony Towns' doubt expressed in the above-cited message:

| Back in October, during the firefox/iceweasel dispute, Branden
| Robinson and I expressed a little exasperation on IRC that Debian
| wasn't really setting a great example itself in how it licenses its
| logos. We had a bit of a chat about that and that resulted in a rough
| agreement on what to do, which Branden wrote up on the Debian wiki at:
|     http://wiki.debian.org/ProposedTrademarkPolicy
| Since then, that hasn't seen much real feedback, so I've been
| reluctant to push it any further -- it's hard to tell whether a lack
| of feedback means "we don't care, that sounds fine", "this is too
| complicated, whatever you do is wrong", or just "we haven't heard
| about this or looked at it".

my case is the last one ("I hadn't heard about this [wiki page] or
looked at it"), but now I learned about it, as the -project thread
slipped to -legal...

The following is my take on this problem.

The copyright side of the issue is pretty clear: relicensing under the
Expat license is the way to go.

As for the trademark side of the issue, the plan for the open use logo
that Anthony Towns proposes seems to make it clearly DFSG-free, since no
trademark restrictions would be imposed on the open use logo.

The official use logo would instead stay non-free (because of trademark
non-free restrictions): I don't know whether the Debian Project can
actually do better than this and *still* retain some sort of official

BTW, what happened to the non-free font concerns that were expressed by
Branden Robinson in the above-mentioned wiki page?

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