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Re: Debian's trademarks and logos, and their terms of use.

On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 09:47:27AM +0900, Charles Plessy wrote:
> In contrast with what we require for the software we distribute, we are
> forbidding to use some of our logos for profit.  While there are some clear
> differences between software and carriers of visual identity, I feel that there
> is a strong mismatch between what we ask and what we give, if we reduce a
> software on one side, and Debian's reputation on the other side, to the fruit
> of the efforts of their makers.  Said differently, I see a contradiction
> between forbidding people making money by printing our name on T-shirts, and
> requiring that all the software we distribute can be used for profit.

I wholeheartedly agree. In fact, I think most of us agree with that and
side comments in the (not so) recent threads about how to deal with
trademarks in the archive [1] seem to confirm that impression.

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2012/02/msg00073.html

> I would like to know your position or vision on our trademarks and logos, and,
> if you indend to work on that question as a DPL, what would be the key points
> of your action.

Historically, the reason for having a restrictive copyright license was
related to the fear of losing the Debian trademark (note: a registered
trademark on the DEBIAN *name*, the Debian logo is not a registered
trademark) due to an excessively liberal license.

I've worked on this, with the help of SFLC and of other FOSS projects or
foundations who have had to face similar issues in the past (e.g. GNOME,
and Software Freedom Conservancy on a related issue). It is now clear to
me that there is no reason we couldn't have a DFSG-compatible license on
our logo.

However, to do thing properly, I need we should follow the following
chain of events / decisions:

a. Decide our position on the acceptability of trademark restrictions
   (of various kinds) in the archive *and document it*: in the past we
   have took decisions on a case by case basis, without coming to a
   general project position on the matter (also, I've been asked by
   ftp-master to help on this matter [2] and gladly accepted).

   Work on this point has been going on; a recent summary is at [3].

   [2] http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2011/07/msg00031.html
   [3] http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2012/02/msg00073.html

b. Update our trademark policy [4]. The one we have now is quite vague
   and discourage usage of the Debian name more than needed, as observed
   by people who has worked on revamping it in the past [5].

   I've worked on a draft of a new trademark policy, with the
   substantial help of Benjamin Mako Hill and of SFLC. I haven't yet
   submitted it to the Project for discussion yet just due to lack of
   time --- and possibly a minor desire to complete (b) first. I hope to
   be able to do that before the end of the term. Admittedly, this is
   one of the long running tasks that will likely overflow this term and
   that I'd like to have a change to supervise and bring to completion
   in the next one, if elected.

   [4] http://www.debian.org/trademark
   [5] http://wiki.mako.cc/TrademarkFreedom 

c. Re-license Debian logos under a DFSG-free license.

   This is trivial to do, we should just ask SPI to do so, but I see (b)
   as a precondition for this.

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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