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Re: [Fsfe-uk] GPLv3 last days for comment, and other news links

From: MJ Ray
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] GPLv3 last days for comment, and other news links
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 12:03:34 +0100
User-agent: Heirloom mailx 12.2 01/07/07

address@hidden wrote: [...]
> Trademarks exist to protect consumers by marking products as having  
> come from an identified source. Debian taking Firefox and hacking on  
> the code but still releasing it under the Firefox trademark clearly  
> breaks this. And it breaks it for the consumer, not for the Mozilla  
> Foundation.

That isn't a reasonable argument because that the debian project
changes the code less than other people who are still allowed to
release under the Firefox trademark.  If debian breaks it for the
consumer, it is also broken by others.  See Mike Hommey's analysis
"Facts about Debian, Mozilla® Firefox® and Ubuntu" 

But the debian project released in the past with some important
patches from Mozilla quicker than Mozilla themselves, offered support
for longer than Mozilla offer support for their editions and used to
be allowed to release as Firefox, before MozCorp replaced MoFo.

At one point, some people (I forget their affiliations) were
suggesting that the trademarks mean debian should not include a
/usr/bin/firefox (or /etc/alternatives/firefox or similar), which
would mean patching more things.

But this is merely a specific case to illustrate: trademarks are
used to interfere with the permissions granted by GPL.

> You cannot use trademarks to prevent modification of software in the  
> same way as copyright or as patents. Trademarks are therefore not the  
> same potential or actual threat as patents. You can remove them,  
> although it may be very inconvenient to do so. [...]

While not as restrictive as copyrights, trademarks have been used to
prevent modification of configurations and to tie Free-copyright
software to proprietary-copyright software.  Submarine trademarks like
Firefox, Ion and maybe others, where the terms are changed after the
name gets popular, are a growing problem.  Sometimes you can remove
them only if you remove other things as well as the name.

Patents cannot be used on software at all here.  It's disappointing
if software patent problems are being exported to us by GPLv3.

Why is one a licence issue when the more widespread problem is not?
I feel that GPLv3 should be a copyright licence, not an IP one.

Hope that explains,
MJ Ray - see/vidu http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html
Experienced webmaster-developers for hire http://www.ttllp.co.uk/
Also: statistician, sysadmin, online shop builder, workers co-op.
Writing on koha, debian, sat TV, Kewstoke http://mjr.towers.org.uk/

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