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Re: Moodle trademark

Hi Tomasz,

On Sun, Sep 05, 2010 at 04:07:56PM +0100, Tomasz Muras wrote:

> New version of Moodle (Moodle 2) contains new file in a source code:
> TRADEMARK.txt. You can see the whole file in their repository:
> http://git.moodle.org/gw?p=moodle.git;a=blob;f=TRADEMARK.txt;h=d73a0765b19b37729360780dd2af7f530fc5317c;hb=HEAD

> The restrictions in that file made me wonder if I have a legal right to
> package Moodle as "Moodle". I have asked their helpdesk as instructed
> and I've got "OK" from Moodle Trust - I can use "Moodle" trademarked name.

> The thing I don't fully understand is: is that enough to put package
> "moodle" in free? DFSG promises "Free Redistribution" and if somebody
> uses Debian & moodle package to advertise "Moodle service" surely they
> will breach the trademark agreement.

Advertising a "Moodle service" is not covered by DFSG's requirements of free
redistribution.  There are even existing *copyright* licenses which place
restrictions on advertising (i.e., the original BSD license) that we
consider free.

Simply put, a trademark license, even a restrictive one, has no impact on
DFSG compliance because it's unrelated to whether or not you use the
software in question.  You can infringe the moodle trademark by calling your
service "moodle" /without ever using moodle at all/; that it's still
possible to infringe this trademark when using the moodle software is
therefore not an issue for the freeness of the package.

Also, please don't ask trademark holders for permission to package software
under the trademarked name; this only leads to the confused belief that we
*need* such permission to use trademarks as package names, and we don't.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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