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Re: GPL-2+ with additional trademark spice

This is allowed, but it is not an exception or modification to the GPL. You cannot remove permissions from the GPL under any circumstances. Rather, this is allowed because the GPL is, in no way, a trademark license. If anything, the above comment merely clarifies that fact. While many projects are not trademarked, or, if they are, do not aggressively enforce their trademarks, some are and do, and this is fine.

See, for example, Kodi/XMBC's trademark policy FAQ: http://kodi.wiki/view/Official:Trademark_Policy_FAQ. They enforce their policy because their application is sometimes used for illegal means, and if it is, they don't want to be associated with this illegal action.

This is perfectly consistent with the DFSG (see 4) https://www.debian.org/social_contract. It is also allowed under the FSD ("Thus, it is acceptable for the license to require that you change the name of the modified version, remove a logo, or identify your modifications as yours.", https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.en.html) and the OSD (again, see 4) https://opensource.org/osd.

In the specific case of RedHat -- I trust you've heard of CentOS? CentOS is essentially RedHat with the RedHat trademarks removed.

Daniel J. Hakimi
B.S. Philosophy, RPI 2012
B.S. Computer Science, RPI 2012
J.D. Cardozo Law 2015

On Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 5:31 AM, Mihai Moldovan <ionic@ionic.de> wrote:

While working on a package (not yet part of Debian), I noticed the following
copyright and license notice:

# This copyrighted material is made available to anyone wishing to use,
# modify, copy, or redistribute it subject to the terms and conditions of
# the GNU General Public License v.2, or (at your option) any later version.
# This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT
# ANY WARRANTY expressed or implied, including the implied warranties of
# Public License for more details.  You should have received a copy of the
# GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the
# Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA
# 02110-1301, USA.  Any Red Hat trademarks that are incorporated in the
# source code or documentation are not subject to the GNU General Public
# License and may only be used or replicated with the express permission of
# Red Hat, Inc.

The first part obviously is just stating that the file in question is being made
available under the GPL-2 (or any later version) license. However, how does the
trademark notice play with that?

If that was a BSD-3-clause license, I assume that this additional specification
wouldn't interact badly (as long as the trademark holder and author as the same
legal person), but I am unsure how GPL-2+ compatible that actually is.

One might argue that this a combination of the third BSD-3-clause license clause
with GPL-2+ and since BSD-3-clause is compatible (to a degree) with GPL-2+
through LGPL-2.1(+), this usage should be fine. Pure speculation on my side
only, though.

Additionally, if the trademark clause as such does not cause licensing issues,
do I have to mention it in debian/copyright explicitly? How would I do so
correctly? By "creating" a new tag like "GPL-2+-with-trademark-exception" and
copying the full notice?

Thank you for any advice.


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