Re: gnome-logos package

On 12/17/05, Alan Cox <alan lxorguk ukuu org uk> wrote:
> On Sad, 2005-12-17 at 11:32 -0500, Luis Villa wrote:
> > IANAL (yet), but... under US trademark law (and most European
> > trademark law, as I understand it) basically all users of the mark
> > must ask us for permission before use. We cannot adopt a permission
> > scheme which allows any use of the logo which might be confusing to
> > consumers without our permission. So this basically rules out any sane
> > community-oriented permissioning scheme. I go into that in some more
> > detail in the paper i linked in the blog post, if you have more time
> > to read it.
> Other people have successfully dealt with granting of blanket
> permissions. Fedora for example allows anyone to make 'Fedora' CDs under
> a blanket agreement that requires the CD be a true copy and any media be
> warranted.

(1) bit-for-bit copies don't trigger serious trademark concerns
because there is no risk that they would dilute or confuse, so they
are a little different. GNOME doesn't really distribute anything that
we could cover with such a case.

(2) My entire concern with our current trademark policy is that it
centralizes control and permissible innovation, and raises the
barriers to participation. Our community is successful in large part
because we decentralize control, decentralize innovation, and lower
barriers to innovation. We should be very skeptical of any policy
which centralizes and raises barriers.

> It gets truely horrible once you want flexibility because the role of a
> trademark is to define what something is and if it can be anything then
> it is meaningless. The gnome trademark policy attempts so far have been
> utterly farcical however.

Well, we do now have a defensible/non-farcical policy. So we've made
the lawyers happy. I don't think it actually satisfies the needs of
anyone else, though.

> It ought to be possible to find a way to license a mark or form of the
> mark that can be sensibly used. Again that has been done by companies
> before (one 1990's example of direct relevance was the Novell 'yes it
> works with Netware' program).

That would likely be a certification mark, which has different rules
than 'traditional' trademark.

> Having a logo for a program which is a
> "gnome program" and for "gnome developer" ought to be doable given the
> right definition, and "foundation member" is definitely one that can be
> done today as the foundation has a defined membership.

These are certification/collective marks, as I mentioned in my last
email. We can do those. (Sadly, we didn't know about them when we
started the last round of this process, and for some reason our
lawyers never told us.) There is still a need for a 'general purpose'
mark, though (no one is going to use the 'gnome certified' mark for a
menu or background, for example), and that is what I think we need
extremely permissive (basically political-party-like) licensing for.


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