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Re: trademark licenses and DFSG: a summary

On 20/02/12 03:43, Craig Small wrote:
That all sounds like a good reason to reject this hypothetical package.
Retrospectively being able to change the trademark terms sounds like a
"tentacles of evil" problem.

Surely only if the "remove the trademark now, please" command has some effect on the functioning of the software?

Imagine some software with a README which says:

"This software and its derivatives are endorsed by Gervase Markham, until such time as he withdraws that endorsement for a particular derivative. If he does so and informs the maintainer of that derivative, this paragraph must be removed from that derivative."

Does the presence of those two sentences in a README make the software non-free?

The first is simply a statement of fact. The second is a requirement for non-misrepresentation, such as in a BSD licence. I don't see any freeness problems with such a statement. You could argue it's a restriction on modification, but it's not - you could, if you chose, remove the sentence at any time. Rather, it's a "forced modification under certain circumstances" - but one which, to my mind, fits with human notions of non-misrepresentation of other people's views, and non-lying. Would you say you had a right to retain the endorsement sentence in your copy even if I withdrew my endorsement? I would hope not. And, crucially, the forced modification makes no difference to the functioning of the software.

If the presence of such a statement does not make the software non-free, why does it become non-free if the endorsement is in the form of a logo rather than a set of words?


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