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Re: What the DFSG really says about trademarks

On Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 09:57:20AM +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> Ian Jackson <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote: [...]
> > This would make it clear to everyone, SPI included, that we ought to
> > grant the trademark licence, and it would stop MJ Ray's
> > shit-stirring by making it clear that he could bugger the whole thing
> > up but only if he can get a General Resolution (for which he wouldn't
> > even get quorum, of course, let alone a majority).
> I do not want a strange not-for-profit *trading* as Debian here,
> instead of just holding donations for debian.

I do not understand to what specific activities you are referring to when
you refer to "trading".

> It would compete with long-standing suppliers (debianshop.com?)  and may
> deter UK commercial support, which needs to grow.

Being cognizant of this problem is worthwhile, but at present I have no
data with which to evaluate it.  I suspect I'm not alone -- can you
elaborate on this list for the benefit of the members of the Project who
are not intimately familiar with Debian-related affairs in the U.K.?

> The society will not solve its originally-stated problem well, if at all.

Can you remind us what that is?  My impression is that the Debian UK
Society was founded largely to mitigate the problem of there not being a
charitable organization closely affiliated with Debian in the U.K. (as, for
example, SPI is in the U.S.).  It's my understanding that the status quo
was people just giving money to Steve McIntyre personally and trusting him
to dispose of it in the project's interests.

> A GR would be doubly useless on this: Debian-UK Society (DUS) is not
> bound by Debian GRs, so it would be indirect (perhaps to reverse a
> leader's trademark decision); and I suspect too few people care to reach
> quorum, which I won't blame them for.

Any trademark license grant would not be irrevocable.  If DUS did anything
meriting revocation of that license, I'm sure it would be noteworthy in the
press and tarnish their reputation.

> Why not treat DUS and DCC similarly? Both are developer business
> initiatives presenting themselves as done deals using Debian's name, and
> DCC is a lot less secretive, as far as I can tell.

I don't understand in what sense DUS is a "developer business initiative".
I do not claim to possess perfect understanding of the goals of the DCC
Alliance or of the Debian UK Society, but what understanding I do have
suggests that the organizations pursue very different strategic aims, while
sharing the broad premise of making the world a better fit for Debian (and,
complementarily, Debian a better fit for the world).

I am unable to adduce a hidden agenda (nefarious or benign) on the part of
either the DCC Alliance or the Debian UK Society.  Perhaps those who can
would care to enlighten the Project?

G. Branden Robinson
Debian Project Leader

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