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Re: trademark licenses and DFSG: a summary

On 21/02/12 10:55, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
Aren't you confusing trademark policies (the position of trademark
owners on what we'll be considered infringement and what won't) with
trademark licenses (one-to-one agreements between trademark owners and
users, that allow the latter to use the trademark under potentially
different conditions than the general ones stated in the trademark

Well, AIUI, in order to use a trademark in a way controlled by trademark law, you need a licence. A trademark policy may give you and other people such a licence, in some sort of blanket way, but you still need one. (Do tell me if I'm wrong about that.)

My proposal is that we should never enter in specific trademark
*license* agreements. On the other hand, we'll base our assessment of
whether we should rebrand some software or not based on various inputs,
including trademark *policies*.

OK. So "I trust Debian, and their policies, QA and processes - they can do whatever they want but everyone else must rename it, or ask me" is definitely not OK, but "here is a list of the 23 things you can change about the software and keep the trademark, and another 20 things you definitely can't; for anything else contact me" _might_ be OK, depending on what the 23 things and 20 things are?

For an organization which likes to preserve freedom to change software, this seems an odd position to take. Let's remember that, in the first case, the software is still free software in a copyright sense (otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion at all), whether or not it has the trademark attached.

I can certainly see why Debian would not want to take copyright licenses that were specific to Debian. I can see why Debian would not want to take trademark licenses that were specific to Debian in the sense that if someone else distributed the _Debian_version_, they weren't covered, but Debian was, for exactly the same bits. Both of these things stuff up redistributors.

But why would Debian not be happy that people trust it enough to give them permission to use certain marks of quality, given that Debian is happy with the idea of using marks of quality, such as the word "Debian", to indicate good software? (People in the "Debian should not have any trademarks of its own" camp are being consistent on this point, I agree :-)

It can't be because there would be additional work for downstream (who are not automatically covered) to remove the trademark if they made changes - because the licenses you are recommending, of the "list of 23 and list of 20" sort, also require additional work for downstream of they made changes. They have to check the lists of what is permissible and not themselves, to see if their changes mean they have to remove the trademark.


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