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Re: trademark policy draft

On Wed, Aug 01, 2012 at 07:10:51AM +0900, Charles Plessy wrote:
> I think that we should show the example and remove restrictions on the
> commercial use of our trademark.  We can of course, in a non-normative
> section, keep a recommendation to indicate if a donation will be made
> to Debian.

Thanks for your feedback on this.

> Here are minor comments.
>  - It would be nice to indicate somewhere which restrictions stem from
>    laws, and which restrictions are additions by us.

As a disclaimer, trademark policies are not as binding as other law-ish
stuff we tend to be more familiar with, such as copyright licenses. They
offer the owner own interpretation of what constitute proper usage of
some mark. This is to say that "stem from laws" is less well-defined
than what you might think.

That said, I think I've already commented on this in my premise. We've
asked SPI lawyers for a trademark policy "as free as possible", as long
as it allows us to retain our trademark rights. As long as we trust
their judgements what we've got is, essentially, "stemming from law".

The only addition is the merchandise provision, on which I've explicitly
asked for feedback.

>  - If this policy focuses on trademarks owned by SPI, perhaps it can
>    exhaustively list them ?

Yes, but they'll be listed side by side with the policy, rather than
within it. In fact, this is already the case at

>  - Is it necessary to capitalise DEBIAN in the document ?

In my experience is the canonical form that one use in such documents; I
believe textual trademarks are case-insensitive anyhow.

>  - Requests to "not be misleading" and be "truthful" are vague.

Again, common and tested practice in trademark law, AFAIU.

>  - When one can use the Debian trademarks without asking, is it because of fair
>    use, or is it because Debian grants a trademark license ?

Neither. First of all it wouldn't be "fair use" (which is in the realm
of copyright), but it'd rather be "nominative use" (which is in the
realm of trademark). And again, it is our own interpretation of what
would constitute usage of our marks in a way that does not dilute the
Debian identity, which is the purpose of a trademark policy document.

It'd be useful if people interested in participating in this discussion
could review some general info about trademark law. They're available in
a number of places, including wikipedia and --- for a more Free Software
oriented view --- in a nice FAQ on SFLC website.

>  - Imagine that we in Debian follow the spirit of this policy when using other
>    trademarks (GNOME, Linux, etc.) in our websites.  Wouldn't the requriement
>    of including a disclaimer be a bit heavy ?

Nope, as nominative use is permitted by trademark law in general anyhow.

Stefano Zacchiroli     zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} . o .
Maître de conférences   ......   http://upsilon.cc/zack   ......   . . o
Debian Project Leader    .......   @zack on identi.ca   .......    o o o
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