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Re: trademark licenses and DFSG

On Sun, Oct 09, 2011 at 08:05:33PM +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> "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. [...]"  -- Bruce Perens, in
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2005/08/msg00069.html

Thanks for this link. This and subsequent posts in that thread are
helpful here.

> So I would amend your proposal as follows:
> - DFSG apply to software, not licenses; trademark restrictions may
>   make a package DFSG non-free (philosophical part)
> - however, trademark restrictions that seek to restrict things which
>   cannot be restricted by trademark law (like honest description or
>   naming of internal components) should be diregarded when evaluating
>   a trademark licence.
> Requirements to rebrand or seek permission before adding a security
> patch or making other non-identity changes are not acceptable:
> probably the package should be rebranded before being accepted into
> the archive.  Other unacceptable restriction types may be spotted by
> the security team, release team, ftp-masters or maintainers.
> Does that work as well?

This is indeed an interesting alternative proposal, which I must admit
I'd like more than my own initial proposal.

However, it seems to me that to go that way we'd need to amend DFSG
§4. In particular, we'd need to expand "name or version number" to also
include visual identity stuff such as logos and the like. Or, at the
very least, we should agree on a broader interpretation of "name or
version number".

In fact, that is the same point you raised back then in [1]. It seems to
me that Bruce's reply in [2] is supportive of such a broader
interpretation, but I'm not sure I'm parsing it right.


[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2005/08/msg00194.html
[2] http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2005/08/msg00195.html
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