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Re: trademark policy draft

On Wed, Aug 01, 2012 at 05:10:41PM +0100, Lars Wirzenius wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 01, 2012 at 05:50:56PM +0200, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> > (Fearing an increase in nitpicking threshold.) Well, you can, people
> > will, and I'm sure nobody will bother, on average. But I can imagine all
> > sorts of "journalistic" declarations about Debian that would undermine
> > the project reputation. If they are factual (or non-disprovable) fine,
> > if not this gives the project a edge to defend its reputation/identity.
> > This is what trademarks are about.
> Do I understand correctly? If a journalist says bad things about Debian,
> you want to use trademark law to shut them up?

No, I'm trying to explain why there are provisions like this one. But
I'm kind of man in the middle here and I can't say I like it. In fact, I
don't like it at all.

We've some trademarks, and that's a fact. We've been advised, via the
legal trademark owners (SPI), to set up a proper trademark policy for
it. Because without it: (1) it might turn out to be useless to have
them, and (2) we hand up over protecting on other sides (e.g. licensing
stuff like our own logo under non-free licensing). I'm trying to solve
this intertwined mess.

Also, I do have an interest in this, because it's ended up also on my
shoulder for the past years to deal with trademark stuff, including when
they're actually useful (e.g. in retrieving squatted domain names).

And the way I've chosen to do it is given a spec to SPI lawyers saying,
"as free as possible" (with only one exception, which I've clearly
marked as such). And I've posted here the result. It is possible that
some of not needed stuff has creeped in, of course, but it is unlikely.
To stay on the safe side: I'll double check by explicitly asking about
this provision and if it is a good idea or not to remove it (with a

In the meantime, I'd appreciate if you can refrain from assuming that
it's me wanting to have specific provisions in the policy (modulo the
mentioned exception) and also from assuming I want to use them in
specific ways.

> > I've been correct by Mako on this before. Short answer: hostname !=
> > domain name, so "debian.mirror.my.org" is perfectly fine.  (No, I don't
> > have a clear definition for "domain name" to offer, but it is intended
> > here as "the things that you register via a domain name registrar".)
> If you don't have a clear definition of what it means, then having it
> in the license is not acceptable, in my opinion.

It is not a license. It is a policy. As such it is more fuzzy.

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
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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