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What the DFSG really says about trademarks


In this case, I believe you're confused about what the DFSG says about trademarks.

DFSG #4 very clearly states: The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.

When creating the DFSG, I recognized, and respected, the right of authors to manage their own brand using trademarks, and to restrict the use of those trademarks in derived works as long as DFSG-compliant use of the software would be possible after a brand substitution. It was not my intent, or that of the many Debian developers participating in the framing of the Debian Social Contract, to mandate that trademarks be without restrictions meant to protect the perception of a brand. We only required that there be an escape from a restricted trademark to one compatible with the goals of the DFSG.

There are companies would profit from association of the Debian name with all manner of undesirable characteristics. This is even more obvious now that Debian has solidly beaten Novell in the market. It's necessary for us to have the means to restrain defamers. We must also resist brand dilution, lest we lose the power to restrain defamers.

This latest round was provoked by the DCC announcement. I participated in the DCCA meeting yesterday evening. The organization has agreed to call themselves the Debian Common Core Association in order to make it more clear that they aren't in control of Debian. If other changes are required, they will be cooperative.



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