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Re: trademark licenses and DFSG: a summary

Le Sun, Feb 19, 2012 at 05:57:54PM +0100, Stefano Zacchiroli a écrit :
> Let's see if, once again, we can make a "a summary" thread an order of
> magnitude larger than the original thread. For more context (and
> comparison!) you can find the original thread at
>   http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2011/10/msg00028.html
> Proposal
> ========
> - We agree that DFSG §4 allows licenses to request changes of name,
>   version, as well as other distinguishing marks for distributing
>   derived works
>   (I.e. we accept the interpretation of the underlying principle of DFSG
>   §4 proposed in [2]. Note that "license" above is used in general
>   terms, because many of you correctly pointed out that DFSG care about
>   freedoms rather than specific world-wide monopoly rights.)
> - At the same time, DFSG §4 does *not* allow licenses to request changes
>   in implementation details that do not impact on author or software
>   distinguishing marks, no matter what published trademark policies say.
>   (Suggested by MJ Ray.)
> - Debian should neither seek nor accept trademark licenses that are
>   specific to the Debian Project.
>   (Suggested by Steve Langasek. In addition to Steve's reasoning, I
>   think that doing otherwise would go against the underlying principle
>   of DFSG §8 "License Must Not Be Specific to Debian".)
> - For trademark encumbered software that could at a given point in time
>   be distributed without rebranding, maintainers should carefully
>   evaluate the risk of having to rebrand them later on, and seek advice
>   from the teams that would be impacted by impromptu rebranding (e.g.:
>   security team, release team, ftp-masters).

Hi Stefano,

sorry to be difficult, but after reading again your proposal, I do not
understand whether you propose to apply the DFSG to trademark licenses and to
have a more liberal interpretation of DFSG #4 for copyright licenses which
attempt to implement trademark-like restrictions on distinguishing marks
(images, sounds, ...), or only to change our interpretation of DFSG #4 for
copyright licenses.

If DFSG does not apply to trademark license, isn't it an invitation to switch
from non-free license to free license plus trademark restrictions, and accept
in our archive some software that was considered non-free before, and that in
practice do not give extra freedom for the user unless they rebrand?  In
particular, the restrictions on commercial use come to mind.

If we decide to be more liberal with DFSG #4, can we also consider the case of
license restrictions enforcing integrity of scientific data ?  In scientific
packages, we regularly encounter works that distribute data with a license
forbidding to modify it, and it is very difficult to explain to the scientists
why on one hand we want the right to distribute files with erroneous data, and
on the other hand do not plan to do so anyway...   Think of "Science" as a
brand that we all share and must protect against deliberate data corruption ;)

(Or perhaps we can ignore these non-free license, because facts are not
copyrightable.  I have asked a clarification to the FTP team in
http://lists.debian.org/20120303110454.GB20446@falafel.plessy.net )

Have a nice week-end,

Charles Plessy
Debian Med packaging team,
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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