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Re: trademark licenses and DFSG

Stefano Zacchiroli <leader@debian.org> writes:

> Problem statement
> =================
> The question we need to answer is whether DFSG should be applied to
> trademark licenses or not.

That doesn't seem quite right.

The DFSG doesn't apply to licenses; it applies to works of software.

Social Contract §1 refers to the DFSG as “the guidelines we use to
determine if software is "free"”. So the DFSG determines the freedom of
the software work.

Much of the discussion on the ‘debian-legal’ forum raises the point that
Debian's consideration for the freedom of a work doesn't consider
licenses primarily, but considers the freedom of a specific work when
determining whether it is free software.

This is borne out by several sections of the DFSG referring to “the
rights attached to the program”. It's my understanding from later
discussions about the DFSG that this is the intention of the whole of
the DFSG: to determine the freedom of a work when all applicable
licenses or restrictions are considered.

> From a philosophical point of view, there are essentially two stances
> we can take: either DFSG should be applied to trademark licenses or
> they should not (i.e. they should be applied only to copyright
> licenses).

So I'd phrase this as: Either the DFSG should consider all the freedoms
and restrictions attached to a work, or should allow some restrictions
on a work that would otherwise fail the DFSG.

 \          “It's dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” |
  `\                                   —Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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