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Re: What the DFSG really says about trademarks

* Branden Robinson / Debian Project Leader (leader@debian.org) wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 26, 2005 at 09:57:20AM +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> > 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.?

It seems to me that there's certainly this general feeling among some
that Debian should not be involved in any commercial enterprises.  In
some cases/countries I believe it may also deny a company
'not-for-profit' status.  Seperate from that issue, I believe, there may
be cases in which an organization's policies might deny donations (of
money, hardware, or other resources) to a commercial entity, regardless
of if it's for-profit or not-for-profit.

Personally I disagree with this, but hey, that's just me.

If it's the general consensus that Debian (and SPI I suppose) shouldn't
be involved in commercial enterprises then I'd have to say that things
which appear to be "Debian arm in country ABC" should also have to
adhere to that.  Certainly, "Debian U.K." appears to be the U.K. arm of
Debian and as such I'd generally expect it to follow Debian's
guidelines, policies, etc, regarding what it can and can not do.

It's unfortunate that probably goes against what it's currently doing,
but that's life. :/

On the other hand, if it's the general consensus that it's acceptable
for Debian/SPI to do things like sell t-shirts to support Debian (but
continuing to be not-for-profit working in the public interest, etc),
then I'd encourage people to *do* that, and to raise funds by those
means so as to allow us to do things like:

a) Buy equipment
b) Buy services (such as an accountant, or whatever)
c) Buy hosting (for uber-important machines)
d) Fund travel for Debian-related activities (Developers themselves, or
   perhaps even for non-DD's, or for the DPL, or whatever, so long as
   it furthers Debian's goals, and is in the public interest, etc).

> 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.

I agree that we should only grant revokable trademark licenses, if
that's something we can sanely do in terms of the law (clearly this is
something which would need to be discussed with our counsel).

> > 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.

My initial answer to this, at least, is that I thought DUS was a
not-for-profit organization.  DCC is certainly made up of quite a few
for-profit companies and I have to say that the way DCC sounds to me
makes it much less clear that it's not actually some group within Debian
that controls the core packages.  Debian U.K. does at least make it
sound like it's not actually a part of Debian but something outside it,
though I don't feel that terribly strongly.  Were Debian U.K. a set of
commercial companies putting out something called "Debian" I'd be much
less pleased with it.

> I don't understand in what sense DUS is a "developer business initiative".

My guess is that this is the whole 'commercial' thing.  They sell
things, therefore they must be bad.  Not a sentiment I agree with but I
believe that's part of the concern being raised by some here.



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