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

Re: Some questions about trademark, copyright and dfsg

On Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 3:22 PM, Sam wrote:

> 1) If I have an free software/open source project and I register its logo
> and name as a trademark. It seems legit for several reasons
> -> I want to promote and protect my brand. If someone modify the code it's
> fine but he or she should change the name of the project to avoid any
> confusion between the original project and fork (this doesn't seems contrary
> to open source software since it's the code which is open and available for
> everyone)

Debian accepts such works, but this is a compromise (see item 4 of the DFSG).


> -> can for instance debian distribute a modified version of my software with
> the original name ? It seems like a lie to me since your potential
> modifications might introduce bugs and issues I'm not responsible for. It
> gives to my project a bad picture.
> What's done to prevent this ?

Require all redistributors to rename your software to something else.
This means that every distro will probably name your software
differently, while applying no modifications to the source code, or
perhaps minimal modifications.

> -> imagine if someone modify debian and introduce bugs and doesn't change
> the name. It's your project that will have a bad reputation. It's not just a
> theoretical case but it happened in one of the project where I contribute.

This happens with Mozilla Firefox quite often and the modifications to
it are often malicious. With Debian re-distributors and derivatives
that doesn't appear to happen often if at all. I think how people
treat your trademarks depends on what kind of project you are.

> 2) As a way to get funding and money. If a commercial company wants to
> support an open source project by becoming sponsor and include their logo in
> the software (for instance in an about menu or in the map of a game). Their
> logo and name are obviously trademarked and copyrighted. If I include this
> logo will my project be considered as dfsg friendly ? Considering the whole
> package except the logo and sponsors part are open and free for
> modifications.

The logos will usually not be DFSG-free so we will have to strip them out.

> There is no way a company will "openly" allow their logo to be modified.
> In fact even debian protect its own logo.

The main Debian logo is licensed under a FLOSS license. We do have a
separate logo for our own use but it basically never gets used.


> Does that mean open source and free software project can't include sponsor
> logo and company name ?

Logos will probably need to be removed, sponsor information is fine.

> 3) if a debian packager modify my software for any reason. Will they warn me
> about modifications ? Will they change the name to avoid any confusion
> between my original project and the "fork" made by debian ? Will they remove
> sponsor logo for instance without warning us ?

The Debian Social Contract encourages contributors to work
constructively with upstream developers to get modifications included.


In most cases that will happen. If the license requires it, we will
rename our copy of your software, generally we do not do that because
it is time that could be better spent on other things. Logos will be
removed if they are under non-free licenses, probably sponsor
information would not be removed.

Personally I would encourage upstream developers to only put
sponsorship information on their websites and not in their software,
except maybe in the README file.

I would encourage you to read the Debian trademark policy and the
CollabMark website and adopt something similar for your software if
you do intend to trademark it.




Reply to: