[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

My take on trademarks vs. copyright, patents, etc.

From: Arthur Torrey
Subject: My take on trademarks vs. copyright, patents, etc.
Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2020 15:02:06 -0500 (EST)

First off, I don't speak for anyone but myself, so this is NOT an FSF or other 
organization view, though they might (or not) agree...

I agree with RMS about the badness of patents and the desirability of copyleft 
(which REQUIRES copyRIGHT to work!) but as far as I am concerned, trademarks 
are generally a good thing and should be protected...

Trademarks on free software have absolutely no interference with any of the FSF 
/ GPL Four Freedoms, they don't prevent anyone from downloading, using, sharing 
or modifying a piece of software.  ALL they do is possibly prevent you from 
using the same name when you share a modified copy....  This is a GOOD thing as 
it tells the users that they aren't getting the original unmodified version, 
but something different.  This is a GOOD thing as it keeps the authors of the 
original from getting grief about problems with a modified version, or at least 
makes it easier for them to say that it isn't their issue....

To take an example from the "User Friendly" comic a few years back, "vi" is not 
"vigor" (vi enhanced by adding 'help' from Clippy)...

The same thing applies in the larger world - trademarks tell us that a product 
we are looking at was made by a particular entity, and not some unknown, so 
helps us make informed purchasing decisions...  It benefits the trademark 
holder to the extent that it means that whatever reputation the manufacturer 
may have earned is protected against cheap copies being sold with their 
label...  It means Chevy doesn't have to worry about seeing their branding on 

Trademarks are in essence nothing but SIGNS...  They convey information, but 
don't interfere...  It means that when I grab a box of something, assuming it 
isn't counterfeit, I know who made it...  If I go to the grocery store, I can 
choose the brand name product with the trademark name, or I can choose the 
store brand 'generic' version made by who knows - the trademarks tell me who 
made each one, and I might make a decision based on the brand's reputation / 
advertising / etc. but the trademark itself doesn't interfere with my choice.


Arthur Torrey - <>

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]