Charles Plessy | 14 Mar 01:47 2012
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Debian's trademarks and logos, and their terms of use.

Dear Wouter, Gergely and Stefano,

one of the conditions for a work to be considered free is to allow others to
use it without making contribution back to the original authors (even if we
whish everybody would do when they can).  In the non-free section of our
archive, we therefore have software where the authors reserve commercial use
for themselves.

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 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.

Have a nice day,

--

-- 
Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

Stefano Zacchiroli | 14 Mar 23:45 2012
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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.
(Continue reading)

Wouter Verhelst | 15 Mar 21:51 2012
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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
(Continue reading)

Gergely Nagy | 1 Apr 00:31 2012

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

Charles Plessy <plessy <at> debian.org> writes:

> 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.

There is a huge difference between copyright and trademark. While I like
to see my software under a free license, I would not neccessarily want
my name to be used by or associated with some of the places where they
are used.

> 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.

I think all three of us have a similar position, and vision. Allow me to
not echo back what Stefano and Wouter have written already: Stefano
explained it well what steps we should take, and what work is already
being done to update Debian's trademark policy, and Wouter also
expressed his concerns, and the dangers of a policy too weak.

If elected, I'd ask Stefano to supervise the work he started, and bring
it to completion.

--

-- 
(Continue reading)


Gmane