Yet another website? (Re: [Ambassadors] belux ambassadors meeting log 15th April 2009)
Paul W. Frields
stickster at gmail.com
Sun May 10 14:25:41 UTC 2009
On Fri, May 08, 2009 at 11:40:09PM -0500, Matt Domsch wrote:
> On Sat, May 09, 2009 at 04:05:05AM +0200, Christoph Wickert wrote:
> > OK, let's take the question from my previous mail: Why are
> > rules for community members stricter than for Red Hat or the Fedora
> > Project? Or, to be more specific: How can community websites violate the
> > trademark agreement by only mirroring fedoraproject.org?
> > According to the trademark agreement community websites must label
> > "Fedora" as trademarks, at least their first appearance on each page.
> > Also each page needs a link to the fpo start page named "Fedora
> > Project," "Official Fedora Project web site," or "Visit the official
> > Fedora Project web site. We are not doing this at fpo ether, so it's
> > impossible to mirror fpo to something outside of Fedora infrastructure.
> As I understand it (IANAL), The Fedora Project itself is not a
> licensee under the Fedora trademark license. That would be similar to
> saying "Coca Cola must have a license from Coca Cola to produce Coca
> Cola products".
Correct -- and in fact you see the same behavior on sites as varied as
Disney, Nike, and BMW, just to name a few. The reason for having
requirements on licensed sites is to address the possible confusion
that could arise between the official site and one set up by a
licensee. No such potential confusion exists on the official site;
cocacola.com (or coke.com?) is owned by Coca Cola.
> Instead, The Fedora Project is legally an entity of Red Hat, whom also
> owns the trademark. Red Hat, and the Project directly, does not need
> a license to use the trademark. The Project works very hard to avoid
> bringing detriment to the trademark through its actions, but is not
> bound by the trademark license.
>  does note:
> As the trademark owner, Red Hat strives to use the Fedora Trademarks
> under the same guidelines as the rest of the community.
> Guidelines - not license.
This is all a correct reading. There's no intention to split hairs
here -- in Fedora we always try to obey the rules for presenting the
logo and other trademarks the same way others do. At particular times
we do have to make small changes to accommodate certain designs. An
example would be "glow" borders around the logo in specific places, to
ensure it stands out appropriately. And the Project itself has to be
free to make those alterations when it suits the design, the same way
that Coca Cola is allowed to "morph" or alter their own logo when it
suits a particular kind of advertising design.
Nevertheless, we try not to go outside the guidelines as much as
humanly possible, because we want to be using our logo in a way that
gives good examples for everyone in the community. And lest anyone
think we only pay attention to how volunteer community members treat
the logo, I have also spent time over the last year policing usage by
Red Hat as a community member, thus trying to keep things as equitable
> Now, I'll admit, the license clause about having specific words and
> specific links in specific places on licensee web pages could be
> annoying. There may even be room to adjust these requirements. But
> it's not more significant than "annoying".
And the guidelines remain open to discussion for such changes. In
fact, that language has already been changed at least once due to
licensee critique and input, to be less confusing and annoying.
> > I'm afraid we need translations. Not sure if we need all of them, but if
> > someone requests one, he needs to be able to get it (in time).
> > And why do we need to cut that from our (=Fedoras) spending? Red Hat is
> > the trademark owner, it's in their interest, so IMHO they should pay.
> I don't see that it is in Red Hat (or the Project)'s interest to try
> to let just anyone be a trademark licensee for any purpose, and to
> bear that expense. If that were the case, there would be no reason
> for a trademark, and nothing could really be done to protect such a
> trademark. I value you and Robert's contributions, and do want to see
> your continued participation. But there are lots of ways to
> participate besides running your own domain.
And to address the question of spending -- this discussion is being
framed in a way that looks like Red Hat is the only party with an
interest here, which isn't true. When a trademark owner licenses a
trademark to someone, both parties have an interest. The trademark
owner benefits from having their brand recognition and value
expanded. The licensee benefits from associating with that brand and
the positive qualities it holds. It's a two-way relationship.
> > > I think if there are concrete questions about the intent or meaning of
> > > anything in the agreement, we can freely discuss it here. Most of the
> > > language is fairly standard and, as I've explained to everyone who has
> > > requested or received it, is not designed to trick or damage anyone.
> > > The agreement represents a fair way of both:
> > Sorry to interrupt you here, but I think we all agree that setting the
> > pattern for the community more strict than for the project itself is not
> > fair.
> I agree it's not fair. Which is why, instead of trying to be "fair",
> we should be looking for ways in which contributors are brought under
> the umbrella of the Project, so as to reduce or eliminate the need for
> such a license. XX.fedoracommunity.org is a step in this direction.
>  notes:
> Not every local community requires a local domain. Many local
> communities can function perfectly well in the existing Fedora
> Project domain(s). Fedora already offers the ability for communities
> to provide complete translations for our main web site and other
> pages. We are also working on the capability to have a translated
> MediaWiki that will not require as much manual work on the part of
> In addition, splitting off a domain has the tendency to keep local
> community members from getting up to date information that flows on
> the official Fedora channels. It multiplies the number of areas a
> community member needs to monitor and thus takes away from the time
> they could otherwise spend on contribution directly to Fedora.
> I'm sure we could all come up with even more reasons why having tons
> of separate Fedora-trademarked domains is a bad idea.
> But as noted, there are some good reasons to have such too. As I
> understand it, XX.fedoracommunity.org exists exactly so that groups
> within the Project can host content and capabilities that FI cannot
> presently provide, and that the content hosted there must comply with
> the trademark and logo usage guidelines. I don't believe the
> trademark license agreement, which is about domains using the
> trademark in their name, applies then.
That's right -- the agreement isn't necessary for fedoracommunity.org,
but the normal trademark guidelines apply, just as they would anywhere
that uses, for example, the Fedora logo. These community domains,
because (1) they are hosted outside the FI, and (2) their domain name
*clearly* indicates they are not run by the official Fedora Project,
can potentially host content that is not as strictly regulated.
The fedoracommunity.org domain and available subdomains is something I
talked directly to Red Hat Legal to establish. It seemed to me at the
time that we needed an alternative for community members to have the
power to set up a site that used the Fedora trademarks *without*
having to deal with the license agreement. And given this
conversation, it seems even more apparent that was a good solution.
Paul W. Frields http://paul.frields.org/
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