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Re: [ox-en] RedHat and Fedora and SuSE and Novell

On Thu, Nov 06, 2003 at 06:47:16PM [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED], Martin Hardie wrote:
Now has anyone read the Fedora or for that matter Red Hat Trade Mark
pages?  Chris posted the link: They are a
form of Exclusive rights/ip rights are they not?  How come we feel
so comforatble (or some of us do) with these companies closing up
their property in this way?

It's not just the companies that are doing this. The name "Debian" is
also trademarked and controlled by Software in the Public
Interest. It's in the footer of every Debian webpages. SPI is currently
working on drafting something like an "Open Use Trademark Policy" but
there are real limits to how open a policy can get within the realm of
trademark law. If the mark doesn't refer to something clearly
delimited, the mark becomes generic and is lost.

"Trusted Debian" (now Adamantix) was asked to change its name because
it was non associated with the Debian project and because it was
implying that Debian was not trusted.

I think one reason folks like myself are much more comfortable with
exclusive rights in terms of trademarks than we are with copyrights
and patents is because some of us agree, for the most part, with the
introduction to trademarks given in the Fedora trademark guidelines:

  Trademarks are used to identify the source of goods and services in
  the market. Trademark law is best understood as consumer protection
  law, since it enables consumers of products to know the source of
  the products they purchase and allows them to distinguish those
  products from the products of other vendors. This is important in
  order to ensure that consumers are not fooled into purchasing a
  product of one company while believing it is a product of another.

Both Brazilian Debian developers and users are hurt when a big bad
corporation registers or prints boxes and CDs with he
Debian name and swirl and uses it to intentionally capitalize on the
good faith the volunteer Debian project has created in order to sell
its own non-Debian, non-free, or non-community based project.

Felix raised it another way I think on nettime the other day: "[This
is unlikely to be a legal case, though from a semiotic point of
view, it's nevertheless puzzling. Is using images that are released
under the GPL the same than using source code released the GPL? Is
including existing images into new images, in this case, a
screenshot of a kde desktop in a tv series, the same as including
existing source code into a new source code?  Felix] Posted by
Jonathan Riddell on Friday 31/Oct/2003, @17:09 from the
24h-to-3.2beta dept.";

The Debian legal mailing list has recently discussed the freeness of
the Debian logos under the DFSG and whether or not they'll be able to
be included into Debian.

So why is some property/info seen as "wanting to be free" whilst
other types are regarded as fair game for being treated as exclusive

There has always been a large chunk of the free software movement
who's primarily goal is not he realization of a purely libertarian
ideal of information freedom. The GPL sacrifices your freedom to
choose the license of derivatives works for pragmatic reasons. The 4
clause BSD attaches a advertising clause which is a little invariant,
non-removable bit. TeX and the artistic license attach their own
restrictions. We've decided that there's a line between what is a
packaging requirement, a mere inconvenience and what is truly non-free.
As discussion between RMS and Debian about the GFDL has shown, there
is not consensus within the Free Software movement on where that line
is all the time (especially in regards to non-programs) but it's been
a productive conversation so far.


Benjamin Mako Hill


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