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Re: On the uselessness of Debian trademarks.

* MJ Ray (mjr@dsl.pipex.com) wrote:
> On 2004-05-07 14:20:37 +0100 Stephen Frost <sfrost@snowman.net> wrote:
> >Uh, or they use the Debian trademark for something that's not Debian 
> >at
> >all..  That's not necessairly claiming it as backing or endorsement 
> >from
> >Debian.
> If it's software, it seems illegal anyway. If it's not software, it's 
> probably outside the scope of debian's registered trademark.

Uh, it'd only be illegal if we have a trademark on Debian which made is
illegal.  If we don't then I don't think we'd have a leg to stand on

> >I don't get it.  Doesn't this mean, also, that in the UK people 
> >*could*
> >sell shirts with the Coke logo on them?
> If it is just the logo, I think it could be argued that the shirts 
> were represented as a product from the registrant, which may be 
> blockable depending on the registration details. It would be difficult 
> to use trademark law to stop you honestly selling shirts with a 
> picture of a Coke can or bottle on it, as I understand it. I'm not a 
> lawyer and I think you should consult one before trying this at home, 
> though.

Well, that's really my question.  It seems likely that Coke would find
something to bitch about in that case, but I'm not really sure.

> Do you support trying to use the debian mark to crack down on sellers 
> of shirts without contracts with SPI?

Erm, not if they're using the mark to mean Debian.  Possibly if they're
claiming the mark means something else, which would kind of be the
point.  It sounds to me like what you're saying is *exactly* why we'd
want a trademark, and why it *would* be enforcable even if we don't have
a contract with everyone who sells Debian t-shirt's (which isn't
something I'd want to see being required).

> >In which case it would seem to
> >me that the reasons above for having a trademark in the UK would be
> >perfectly legit and very reasonable and enforceable, and their 
> >intended
> >use?
> I don't understand how this follows from the trademark law not 
> preventing sale of Coke-related shirts.

The concern was that we have to enforce our trademark in all cases if 
we want to be able to keep it and enforce it in certain circumstances.
This doesn't make sense if you can use the Coke trademark without Coke
doing something about it if you don't have a contract with them.

> >Or is the problem with the Coke logo really with it being
> >copyrighted,
> I believe this is a problem and part of the reason why the Coke logo 
> design changes periodically. The coke photo shirt mentioned above may 
> infringe copyright, depending on its purpose.

Alright, that's fine, we can stipulate the license under which the
Debian logo is used.  Having a generous license there should *not*
detract from our ability to enforce the Debian trademark since trademark
and copyright are seperate and distinct from each other.

> >in which case having the trademark for the reasons above
> >and the copyright with a different license than the Coke folks do 
> >would
> >seem perfectly reasonable and, again, seemingly enforcable unless
> >there's some reason you can't enforce a trademark unless you're very
> >strict with the copyright on it?  The two would seem like seperate
> >issues to me.
> They are almost completely different, which is why using copyright 
> licence conditions to enforce trademarks usually results in a non-free 
> licence. That's all I was noting.

This doesn't make sense.  You shouldn't need copyright license
conditions to enforce trademarks, that's the point of trademarks, they
don't have the same limitiations on them as copyright does but they do
have other requirements different from copyright in order to be legit.
Therefore, we could have a generous copyright license *and* a trademark
and still be able to enforce the trademark, which makes having the
trademark worthwhile and a good idea in general.


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