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Re: trademark licenses and DFSG

Le Sun, Oct 09, 2011 at 08:02:01PM +0200, Stefano Zacchiroli a écrit :
> My own proposal, that I submit to your consideration, is as follows:
> - DFSG applies to copyright license; trademark restrictions should not
>   make a package DFSG non-free (philosophical part)
> - however, trademark restrictions that get in the way of "usual Debian
>   procedures" should not be accepted in the Debian archive (practical
>   part)

Dear all,

	The DFSG stem from our Social Contract, where they are introduced as a
tool to determine if a work is free.  We can decide that they apply to
copyright licenses only, and that would leave on our archive administrators the
burden of determining  if a trademark license is free.  Usually, ‘trademark
restrictions that get in the way of usual Debian procedures’ are also
restrictions that make the works non-free, as we would not accept them as part
of a copyright license.  I think that we would benefit from having a written
consensus on what trademark restrictions make a work non-free. 

	It looks that there is no equivalent of the BSD, GPL or Creative
Commons for trademark licenses, which may explain why the terms are sometimes
clumsy or difficult to work with.  We would benefit from gathering trademark
licenses terms in a way the can be easily compared, for instance in the Debian
wiki, or in our source packages as a debian/trademark file or in the
debian/copryight file.  The best would be if they were mechanically extractable
in the sense of Policy §12.5.  When the upstream author confirms trademark
restrictions that make the work non-free, I think that it would be better to
respect his choice, and not package the software, even if there is a
possibility that the laws do not give grounds to the author for enforcing the
restrictions.  Going against Upstream's will seems to result in seeing him
transfer the restrictive terms to the copyright license.

	Regarding the point 4 of the DFSG, which is “a compromise”, I wonder
who are the parties.  Is it between Debian and the upstream authors, or is it
within Debian ?  If it is not a compromise within Debian, then I feel a strong
contradiction between the DFSG point 4 and restrictions in the copyright or
trademark licenses for our logo.  We have a strong culture of using
cryptography to establish our identity.  Said in a non-technical way, we
identify ourselves by doing something that only us can do.  We could do the
same for the uses of our logo, without needing restrictive licenses, for
instance by always including an URL in (possibly encoded) in our printed or
displayed materials, which would point to a page on www.debian.org describing
the associated software, event, etc. and in a way that shows to the visitor
that he holds something official in his hands.

By the way, do we have a sublicence from the Linux foundation for ‘Debian GNU/Linux’ ?

Have a nice day, and many thanks to Stefano for addressing this difficult issue.

Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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