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Re: Skype/Facebook trademark logos in Debian packages

On Sat, 14 Nov 2009 15:53:17 +0100 Luca Falavigna wrote:

> When looking for possible sponsorship for pidgin-skype package (see
> [1], and follow-up messages), I looked at the images located under
> icons/ directory, they are very similar (if not perfectly identical) to
> Skype trademark logos, whose terms of use [2] state the following:
>     "Skype’s trade marks and trade dress may not be used in connection
>      with any product or service that is not Skype’s, in any manner that
>      is likely to cause confusion among customers"
> pidgin-skype is a third-party software, not provided or associated with
> Skype other than it needs Skype application to be executed, so it could
> not do use of the Skype logos.

It seems to me that here the problem is two-fold.

First off, if these icons are confusingly similar to Skype trademarked
logos, then trademark laws probably forbid unauthorized third parties to
make use of them in connection with unofficial products (in the same
field of application) which are not endorsed or approved by Skype

By looking at the clause you quoted, it really seems that Skype Limited
*explicitly* states that no such use will be authorized.

This part of the problem alone could be enough to force the Debian
Project to exclude these icons from the package.

> But as you can see from copyright file, those images are not provided by
> Skype directly, but from another source [3], which licenses them under
> CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0:
>     Files: icons/*
>     Copyright: 2007, Jakub Szypulka - http://cubestuff.wordpress.com
>     License: CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0
> I strongly believe Skype didn't allow author of those images to
> redistribute them under CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0, and even if they are not
> directly taken from Skype itself but generated via SVG files not
> directly provided by Skype folks, they don't follow Skype terms of use,
> so they can't be distributed by Debian.

This is the second part of the problem.

If those icons can be considered derivative works (from a copyright law
standpoint) of Skype logo images, then I am under the impression that
the author of those icons (Jakub Szypulka) could not create and
distribute them in the first place, unless he managed to get an
explicit permission from Skype Limited.

Moreover, even assuming that the above mentioned issue is absent or
moot, the chosen license (cc-by-nc-sa v3.0) makes them non-free icons:
this means that they anyway must be excluded from a package meant for
the contrib section of Debian archives.

> This applies to pidgin-facebookchat package [4] too, which provides
> Facebook logo (see [5], facebook*.png files), probably taken from the
> same source [6], still not respecting Facebook terms [7]:
>     "You will not use our copyrights or trademarks (including Facebook,
>      the Facebook and F Logos, FB, Face, Poke, Wall and 32665), or any
>      confusingly similar marks, without our written permission."

This looks like a similar problem, indeed.
I personally think a serious bug should be filed against the
pidgin-facebookchat package, unless other debian-legal participants

> I believe repacking upstream tarball to exclude logos is the way to go.

I agree.

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..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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