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Re: trademark policy draft

Philip Hands <phil@hands.com> writes:

> Francesco Poli <invernomuto@paranoici.org> writes:
> ...
>> [...]
>>> \item You cannot alter the DEBIAN trademarks in any way.
>> [...]
>>> \item Any scaling must retain the original proportions of the logo.
>>> \item Logo should only use ``official'' logo colors.
>> [...]
>> These restrictions are currently violated by countless uses of Debian
>> logos (above all) and of the Debian textual trademark (sometimes).
>> Several such uses are done by the Debian Project itself, most notably
>> in desktop themes shipped as official Debian themes (for instance the
>> very nice default wheezy theme, named Joy [2]).
>> [2] http://wiki.debian.org/DebianArt/Themes/Joy
>> I think that these restrictions should be dropped entirely, since they
>> seem to be incompatible with the basic Free Software principles.

I agree that these restrictions prohibit many uses of the logo that I
would consider acceptable. As Russ pointed out they might be necessary
to be able to protect our logo at all. In that case I think we should
not register a trademark for the logo. Maybe we could ask the SPI
lawyers if a policy in a similar spirit to the one for the text mark
would be possible for the logo. In other words do not use the logo in a
misleading way (formulated in proper legal language).

> There are some things that one needs to do simply to maintain a
> trademark.  I'm pretty sure that the bits you are objecting to are
> included in that set (although IANAL).
> If we don't do those things, we might as well not have a trademark, so
> if you're arguing for us to avoid doing those minimum things we might as
> well just discard the trademark now.
> The alternative would seem to be a lot of wasted time here, followed by
> a lot of wasted effort for the lawyers who are kind enough to give us
> their time, arriving at the eventual discovery that as a result of our
> own incompetence we don't have a defensible trademark anyway.
> Note that I'm not arguing that we _should_ have a trademark -- I'm with
> Lars in that I think it's somewhat distasteful for Debian to be dirtying
> our hands with this, but if that's the only way we can stop some bastard
> From distributing "Official Debian CDs" that turn out to be packed with
> back-doors and trojans, then we need to do the legal bits properly, and
> that involves following the legal advice we receive, rather than
> spouting unfounded drivel about what we might like the law to be.

A middle way could be to not tradmark our logo. As Stefano stated in the
initial mail they are not trademarked at the moment, but SPI lawyers
recomend it. This would still stop evil doers from distributing
"Official Debian CDs" but not from distributing CDs with the Debian logo
without any mention of Debian. As the Debian (open use) logo is far from
unique anyway this would be a fair compromise IMHO.


Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.
Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
~ Samuel Beckett ~

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