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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:
> 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.

Stefano has already given an overview of the current state of things.
It's interesting that some work has been done in this area, and if
elected, I do intend to see this through. From Stefano's mail, it looks
like there's a good chance that we'll be able to change our trademark
policy to be less restrictive, which can only be a good thing.

As to my personal preference on the matter:

On the one hand, I think that whatever trademark policy we have or end
up with should be consistent with what we require from upstreams. For
instance, we currently do not ship mozilla products under their original
name, because we find their trademark policy too restrictive. We should
make sure that our own trademark policy would not be rejected by a
hypothetical downstream distribution with trademark policies similar to
our own. For the record, I'm not sure whether or not our current
trademark policy passes or fails that test.

On the other hand, I think it's important to remember that trademark law
and copyright law are two very different matters. The right to modify
software so it fits your own goal is core to what free software is
about; but the right to misrepresent others is not. A trademark policy
that is too liberal could allow people to take a piece of software, make
it do something extremely evil (like, say, install a password logger by
default that sends all passwords to some evil overlords on the far side
of the moon) and say "This is an unmodified Debian installation disk".
While I don't expect this to happen every other day, fighting this kind
of thing is exactly why trademark law was invented.

If we lose our trademark, then anyone can call anything "Debian" and we
wouldn't be able to tell them to stop.

So while I agree that perhaps a somewhat less restrictive trademark
policy may be in order, we should make sure we do not make our trademark
policy so liberal that we may lose control over it; and if that means we
have to make it more difficult for people to do some things in ways we
would rather not require of them, then I think doing that is the lesser
of the two evils.

The volume of a pizza of thickness a and radius z can be described by
the following formula:

pi zz a

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