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GPL Software Gold Standard

From: PrussianSnow
Subject: GPL Software Gold Standard
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 19:20:59 +0100

While witnessing some of the apparent confusion about what software and
packages are or are not under GPL or GPL compatible licensed I had an idea.

Would it be possible for some interested party, possibly the FSF itself, to
trademark a logo, colours, and/or other packaging dress which this party
chose to represent "GPL compatible only" products? Since this party would
own the logo/dress when used for distribution of software, couldn't they
conceivably grant anyone a license to freely use this dress under a given
set of conditions? For example, license the dress for use only on
CDs/DVDs/other media containing only software licensed under GPL compatible
licenses. Of course, "compatible" would be defined by the licenser in this
case. For example, what about registered colours and border patterns for use
around the edges of discs? Things that could be incorporated and combined
with other dress without undue interference but still remain obvious.

The idea is to allow parties distributing GPL software a method to indicate
to their customers that they believe in the importance of GPL compatibility.
And furthermore, to allow the customer quick identification of products that
have only GPL compatible licensing. Obviously, this wouldn't restrict anyone
from distributing GPL software under other dress or for those distributing
mixed license packages using whatever dress they choose--save the "GPL
dress." If the mark usage license was written to allow use on a "per disc"
basis, a distribution with some GPL compatible components and some non-GPL
components could be distributed as more than one disc but with the GPL marks
only on the compatibly licensed disc. For example, operating system
distributions with some proprietary extensions and applications not under
the GPL could be shipped with one for more "GPL dress" discs along with one
or more discs lacking the "GPL dress".

Anyone with some legal knowledge care to comment on the possibility?

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