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Re: Proposed MBF - mentions of the word "Ubuntu"

On Saturday, November 09, 2013 22:36:49 Steve Langasek wrote:
> On Sat, Nov 09, 2013 at 06:00:01PM -0500, Scott Kitterman wrote:
> > Both the original letter and Mark Shuttleworth's comments make trademark
> > ownership claims that overreach.
> It's overreach based on the recipient's governing local law, not based on
> the sender's.  Isn't it the responsibility of each of us to know our rights
> under law?  If a corporation is attempting to police their trademarks
> internationally and someone hosts a site in a jurisdiction that doesn't
> recognize trademark rights at all, does the corporation have an obligation
> to *not* try to protect their trademark by dissuading this person?  Does the
> answer change if your local law says that not policing your mark against
> them could result in you losing the mark back home?  Does it change when
> the site is hosted in a jurisdiction that recognizes some subset of
> trademark rights that you consider "reasonable", but that nevertheless
> doesn't meet the standard for trademark defense in the corporation's home
> jurisdiction?

I think the party sending such letters has a responsibility not to mis-
represent the legal requirements for the recipient to take action.  I think 
the EFF response is quite correct.  Sending such letters is inherently 
chilling of free speech and open debate.  

> > I think it's entirely appropriate for Debian to work preemptively to
> > protect itself from future bursts of enthusiasm from the Canonical legal
> > department.
> I write the following as a Debian developer, not as an employee of
> Canonical.  Anyone who doubts this is welcome to check the Debian archives
> for my posts in similar threads, because I have been consistent on this
> point for years.
> In the event that an over-enthusiastic mark holder tries to tell Debian that
> their nominative use of a trademark (in a package name, file name, etc.) is
> infringing, the appropriate course of action for Debian to take is to
> *reject these claims*, and continue using the mark.  Not to buckle under
> pressure and set a bad precedent for other mark holders to follow; not to
> rename the software and cause confusion for our users.  When we know we're
> on the right side of the law, we should be resolute in our defense of our
> rights.  It shouldn't become a game where we pick and choose which names we
> will and won't allow into the distribution based on how friendly the
> trademark holder is.

I agree.  As far as I know, any use of Canonical trademarks in Debian is not 
the kind of use that it would cause our users confusion.  I think it makes 
sense to remove incidental uses of they type that (I think) kicked off this 
thread, but I don't think it should be a high project priority to do so.

I think we've run out of Debian related topic here, so I'll stop with this.

Scott K

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