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Re: trademark licenses and DFSG: a summary

Le Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 10:05:32AM +0000, Gervase Markham a écrit :
> On 20/02/12 16:12, Charles Plessy wrote:
> >I support dropping our trademarks.  We have to show the way.  We have a strong
> >tradition of idenfifying ourselves via trusted information networks that are
> >under our control; mostly our keyring.  We can also make a step further and
> >include links (possibly qrcoded) to specific subpages of www.debian.org in the
> >printed material we distribute which would explain how to authentify the
> >material.
> So you are happy with certain marks of authenticity - exclusive
> rights to the use of domain names, handed out by a registrar - but
> not with other marks of authenticity - exclusive rights to the use
> of logos, handed out by a government?


I think that it follows well our do-o-cratic philosophy to identify ourselves
with what only us can do, rather than with what we can forbid others to do.
This is more direct and indeed does not necessitate to rely on a third party.

We are a well-established project, and as far as what I can see with search
engines, the name “Debian” is massively used to refer to us or our work, in any
activity that has some presence on the Internet.  In that sense, I think that
it is important to question whether we really need to own, manage, and protect
a trademark.

Take for instance www.debian-administration.org.  Do we need to give Steve a
license in order to justify to keep our trademark, or is his disclaimer
enough ?  And what about redistributors ?  Would Raphaël's Squeeze DVD with
alternative artwork need a trademark license ?  If yes, would this license pass
the DFSG (provided that we accept that the DFSG also apply to trademark-based
restrictions ?).

The justification for defensive use could be extended to patents.  What if
Debian were actively seeking the property of patents to make sure that nobody
will enforce them ?  Would that be compatible with our philosophy ?  I found
Russ arguments quite convincing, but I think that it would be good to know if
this can only be done through enforcing a trademark, given that the word
“Debian” very clearly define, in practice, the product of our work.  In many
countries, it is simply forbidden to misrepresent a product for another, even
if no trademarks are involved.



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