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[DotGNU]Re: proposal: DotGNU Trademark License

From: Norbert Bollow
Subject: [DotGNU]Re: proposal: DotGNU Trademark License
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2003 17:12:02 +0200 (CEST)

Richard Stallman <address@hidden> wrote:

> In any policy for use of a trademark we should make it clear
> that mentioning the name in the text of documentation or articles
> does not constitute "use" for trademark purposes, and is therefore
> not covered at all.  Lawyers will know this, but hackers will
> systematically misunderstand.

Ok, see the revised draft below.

>        (a) Some functionality is provided, and in addition there is
>          a description of this functionality, namely how the
>          service should be used and what it provides.
> That is very abstract.  I don't understand it.  Could you say it
> concretely?  Please avoid using the passive voice, since that
> introduces vagueness.
>        (b) The service is offered over a computer network (e.g. the
>          internet or an intranet) via standard protocols, i.e. protocols
>          that are open, widely published, and freely available for anyone
>          to implement.
> If this is meant to say that everyone is free to implement it,
> I think those words are not clear.  Also, why should this require
> "widely" published?  What point is there in that?  Also, if
> "open" is different from "published", what does it mean?

I originally wrote these words in a technical context; you have
convinced me that they are unsuitable for inclusion in a license
document.  In fact I'll simply drop the webservice definition
from the servicemark license, as for the purpose of protecting
the Free Software freedom rights of webservice users it is good
enough when the license makes sure that the user can get the
program which powers the webservice under the terms of the GPL,
it's not necessary for the license to educate service vendors
about the technical meaning of the word "webservice"... see the
new draft text below.

To answer your questions also from the technical perspective...

The main points of statement (a) are that

* there is no restriction on what kind of functionality the webservice
  may provide.  Here are some examples of functionality that could be
  provided by a "webservice":
  - Check an email message whether it is "probably spam" or not
  - Have an English document translated into German by a team of
    prefessional translators
  - Build a PC according to given hardware specifications and ship
    it to a given customer address
  Only the first of these three examples is a webservice that could be
  fully automated by means of a computer program.  In fact webservices
  make sense only for tasks that cannot equally well be performed by a
  computer program which runs on the user's PC.

* there needs to be documentation on how to use the webservice, and
  what it does.  (In the context of non-free programs, this is an
  important point.  For example, consider a software system with a
  client-server architecture where there is no documentation on how
  to write an alternative client that will work with the same server.
  Such stuff does not qualify as "webservices", and it's in fact very
  bad, because that lack of documentation can prevent replacing
  non-Free software with free alternatives on a machine-by-machine

To explain what I meant with the language in statement (b):  With
"widely published" I mean "published in such a way that it is
reasonably easy for anyone to obtain a copy of the specification".
The protocol is "open" if you do not only have the right to implement
the protocol as specified, but also have the right to implement
modifications of the protocol.  These terms "open" and "widely
publsihed" seem to be standard terms in technical literature about
webservices, and are precise enough for that purpose even though I
am not able to define e.g. "widely published" in a manner which is
precise enough for a license document.

> One final point: have you worked with a lawyer to write this text?

Not yet...

> Licenses must be reviewed by lawyers.

Will one of the lawyers of the FSF be able to take the time to review

Here is the revised draft:


"DotGNU Webservice" Servicemark License

Version 0.1-alpha2

Copyright 2003 Free Software Foundation, Inc.  
59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA  02111-1307, USA

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

"GNU" is a registered trademark of the Free Software Foundation, Inc.
"DotGNU Webservice" is a servicemark of the Free Software Foundation, Inc.


0. This License grants, to businesses which satisfy the
   conditions that are outlined in sections 2 and 3 below,
   permission to use the "DotGNU Webservice" servicemark
   in the context of their commercial activities.

   The conditions of section 2 do not apply to any of the following
   kinds of activities:

    (a) non-commercial activities of any kind

    (b) news reporting or commentary

    (c) writing documentation or other articles with technical or
        scientific content

   Using the term "DotGNU Webservice" in these contexts is allowed
   without restriction.  In any jurisdiction where that is not allowed
   by trademark law anyway without need for an explicit license, this
   License shall be interpreted as granting permission for that.

1. Every business which fulfils the conditions that are outlined
   in sections 2 and 3 below may choose to accept this License, thereby
   becoming a licensee.  Each licensee is addressed as "you".

   You are not required to accept this License, since you have not
   signed it.  However, nothing else grants you permission to use the
   "DotGNU Webservice" servicemark in the context of making commercial 
   service offerings; that is prohibited by law if you do not accept
   this License.  Therefore, by using the "DotGNU Webservice"
   servicemark in such a commercial context, you indicate your
   acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and

2. If you provide a commercial service and use the "DotGNU Webservice"
   servicemark, you must in addition satisfy the following two

   (a) You must ensure that whenever the service is usable, your customer
       is able to download all data which belongs to that customer
       plus the program which acts on the data (the "webservice
       program") in an executable form which can be used with a
       version of the DGEE ("DotGNU Execution Environment") webservice
       server that has been released by the DotGNU Project of the Free
       Software Foundation.

   (b) You must provide your customers with a written offer, valid for
       at least three years, to give them upon request, at no extra
       charge, on a medium customarily used for software interchange,
       licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License,
       a complete machine-readable copy of the source code of the
       webservice program plus any compilers and libraries which are
       needed to translate the webservice program into executable

   The term "webservice program" in sections (a) and (b) above refers
   to a computer program which can be used together with a version of
   the DGEE ("DotGNU Execution Environment") webservice server to
   provide a webservice which is identical in functionality to the
   webservice which the customer has purchased from you.  

3. Any violation of the conditions in section 2 will automatically
   terminate your rights under this License.  You must not use the
   "DotGNU Webservice" servicemark if you have previously violated any
   of the conditions in section 2.


Greetings, Norbert.

Founder & Steering Committee member of
Free Software Business Strategy Guide   --->
Norbert Bollow, Weidlistr.18, CH-8624 Gruet (near Zurich, Switzerland)
Tel +41 1 972 20 59        Fax +41 1 972 20 69

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