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

From: Jean Louis
Subject: Re: My take on trademarks vs. copyright, patents, etc.
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2020 12:16:05 +0300
User-agent: Mutt/+ (1036f0e) (2020-10-18)

* Arthur Torrey <> [2020-11-04 04:23]:
> & Trademarks don't stop you from modifying, or issuing modified
> software under a different name, this is sometimes called FORKing
> the code....  (assuming you don't want to share your mods upstream /
> upstream doesn't want to include them...)  Trademarks ONLY serve to
> keep you from distributing your modified version under the SAME
> trademark

I am well aware, so I have to be careful with it.
> % By principle I should be able to modify software AS I WISH, right?
> & Yes, absolutely...  However you should not be able to use someone
> else's name in distributing your modified version.  You may be
> benign, but there are bad actors out there that might want to damage
> your reputation, or cause other harms...

I understand your point and you validate that Mozilla's protection of
trademarks is good policy.

I do not validate it as good policy and think that companies should
not mix trademark with free sofware they are issuing. For example if
Mozilla produces Firefox, they should make trademark for Mozilla but
not do fuss for "Firefox".

How many packages are out there? 50,000? Probably 150,000 free
software, mostly unpackaged. So much software in Debian IS changed and

By following that principle we would all need to change software names
to something else, so that does not fly and is not useful.

> & I have no idea if 'vi' is trademarked, I never looked, but if "I"
> held the 'vi' trademark, I would be seriously upset if someone
> started distributing 'vigor' under the vi name, as it is NOT the
> same program....

Which command name to use is kind of matter of agreement, sometimes
commands use same name and collide. It is up to OS distributors to
harmonize the command names. Sometimes commands are prefixed to
distinguish them from other commands. That is quite different issue.

Myself I am not worried about that as people automatically wish to
distinguish their software especially when distributed through OS

How many times I launch "emacs" on some systems and I get vi, so
what. Or I get mg or e3em for Emacs or zille, people make systems
how they want, that does not violate freedom in computing.

Point is very simple: if anybody wish to give free software, should
not bother users with whatever trademarks.

Using trademarks is fine, but use it without bundling or mixing it
with free software.

Using trademark like Mozilla, creator of Firefox -- would allow others
to use Firefox as they wish and modify and distribute it, but disallow
pretending to be Mozilla. That would be fine.

But making "Firefox" a trademark is nonsense, how many troubles did
that already create? Come on.


This license requires all recipients to proactively help the licensor
enforce its trademarks. This is an unreasonable condition to place on
users' rights, so the license is nonfree. It also has other practical
problems: some of the requirements are vague, and it uses the term
“intellectual property”.

Truecrypt license 3.0 (#Truecrypt-3.0)

    This license is nonfree for several reasons. It says that if you
    don't understand the license you may not use the program. It puts
    conditions on allowing others to run your copy. It puts conditions
    on separate programs that “depend on” Truecrypt. The trademark
    condition applies to “associated materials”.

It is obvious that strict usage of trademarks can make software
non-free. The licensing condition for trademark can be separate from
license of software, thus software license can be free and strict
licensing conditions can render software effectively non-free. That is
exact reason why how you said, forks take place for example for
Iceweasel-UXP in Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre


Comparisons with other software trademarks

Some users have correctly mentioned that many other software packages
have trademarks, do we plan to remove them all? No. We are not against
all trademarks, only those which explicitly prohibit normal use,
patching, and modification.

As an example, neither Python PSF nor Perl Trademarks currently
prohibit patching the code without prior approval. They do prohibit
abuse of their trademarks, e.g. you cannot create a company called
“Python”, but this does not affect your ability to modify their free
software and/or apply patches.

Due to the anti-modification clause, Rust is a non-permissive
trademark that violates user freedom.

One solution could be:

Getting Rust to change its trademark agreement to allow modifications
on the rust binary for any purpose in respect of Freedom 3.

Packages with trademark issues in Hyperbola:

    173:cargo::hyperbola:736:[semifree] has trademark issues
    428:firefox:iceweasel-uxp:fsf:firefox:[semifree] has trademark issues, 
recommends nonfree software, [uses-nonprivacy] by default has non-privacy 
search engines
    430:firefox-beta:iceweasel-uxp:fsf:firefox:[semifree] has trademark issues, 
recommends nonfree software, [uses-nonprivacy] by default has non-privacy 
search engines
   2125:rust::hyperbola:736:[semifree] has trademark issues
   2161:seamonkey:iceape-uxp:::[semifree][trademark-issue] contains propietary 
artwork and trademark issues [[issue384]], points to the nonfree addon site 
   2283:thunderbird:icedove-uxp:::[semifree][trademark-issue] contains 
propietary artwork and trademark issues [[issue384]], points to the nonfree 
addon site [[issue66]], [semiprivacy] nonprivacy searchplugins and provides 
support for services that are unsafe and dangerous for privacy

Among so many packages, just one company is making a problem how I
understand it, it is Mozilla.

So I cannot endorse using trademark how Mozilla does it as it prevents
freedom in computing.

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