On Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 04:16:46AM -0800, Don Armstrong wrote:
> On Thu, 09 Dec 2010, Ibrahim Haddad wrote:
> > To start with, the goal is to avoid any confusion around what is and
> > what is not MeeGo. Anything that is or will become associated with
> > the MeeGo trademark has to be in conformance with the compliance
> > program.

> Unfortunately, there's no way that Debian can possibly comply with the
> compliance specification as written. [I only got as far as ยง2.3 to
> find an obvious deal-breaker.]

> This sounds like yet another case where an unbranded name[1] is
> required for actual use in the community, ala iceweasel.

This situation is not analogous to the iceweasel case.  For iceweasel, there
was a copyright license on the graphics included in firefox that imposed
trademark-like restrictions; so under the DFSG the graphics had to go, and
the maintainer took the decision to also rename the package at the same
time.  But for Meego, there don't appear to be any such trademark-like
copyright license provisions.

Over the years there have been a large number of packages in the archive for
software whose upstream has a trademark on their name, none of whom have
granted open-ended licenses to use these trademarks.  We nevertheless have
always made a practice of using those names unmodified as package names and
binary names, on the grounds that these are interfaces that are *not subject
to trademark*.  This is why, whereas RedHat ships packages of 'httpd',
Debian has always had packages of 'apache' even though the Apache trademark
license clearly states that modified versions of the software may not use
the mark.  The trademark license is only relevant if we're doing something
that's in scope for trademark law in the first place!

This is not a position we should back down from as a project without some
very specific legal counsel about the risks and a *consensual* decision *as
a project* to change our handling of trademark claims.  Maintainers going it
alone to ask upstreams for trademark permission, as in this case, erode
Debian's overall position on trademarks vs. package and file names.  Please
don't do this.  Far from "playing it safe" legally, you're instead putting
at risk the work of all those other maintainers who have put countless hours
into integrating around the standard upstream names.

Thanks,
-- 
Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slanga...@ubuntu.com                                     vor...@debian.org

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