Fedora spin from RpmFusion
dmc.fedora at filteredperception.org
Mon Oct 1 08:54:34 UTC 2007
Matt Domsch wrote:
> On Sun, Sep 30, 2007 at 04:23:33PM -0500, Douglas McClendon wrote:
>> Matt Domsch wrote:
>>> On Sun, Sep 30, 2007 at 11:55:34AM -0500, Douglas McClendon wrote:
>>>> Can trademark guidelines on free software restrict the ability to
>>>> redistribuite bit-for-bit copies of the software, that don't use the
>>>> trademarks in any other way than the fact that they are included in
>>>> those bits?
>>> yes, they can, which is why one of the feature of Fedora 8 is to clean
>>> up the fedora-logos and redhat-artwork packages, and the addition of
>>> the generic-logos package, exactly so one can create a derivative of
>>> Fedora using and containing only Free Software, easily, without including
>>> the Fedora trademarks.
>> Certainly for derivatives and any other modification, it seems obvious
>> that trademarks are protected. My question rather involved bundling an
>> unmodified copy of free software with other (free and/or non-free) software.
>> My not-a-lawyer hunch is that the nature of free software suggests that
>> it may be redistributed unmodified in any and all manner. But a hunch
>> is hardly anything to go by.
>> My scenario involved supplying the end-user with software that makes it
>> dirt-simple (i.e. a bootloader choice) for the end-user to apply
>> patches. This is somewhat similar to the ideas I have heard kicked
>> around regarding supplying kernel modules as source along with scripts
>> that make it as simple for the end-user to turn the source into the
>> binary, which for obscure legal reasons could not be distributed as a
> AIUI, the obscure legal reasoning seems to be that if the distribution
> delivers pre-linked kernel modules, such infringes the kernel's
> copyright; but if the linking is done by end users, that it somehow
> doesn't infringe that copyright. I've never been comfortable with
> this line of thinking myself. If true, it feels like passing the
> buck, and I grew up in Independence, MO.
Sure, but it appears the point is passing the buck of a distributor who
is not legally allowed to do something, to the end-user who is legally
allowed to do something. The question is, since it is obviously a silly
legal hack, whether it should be legal for the distributor to do the
patching prior to distribution, or whether it should be illegal for the
user to do the patching after distribution.
> One challenge to Free Software is that it's based upon copyright
> law. The other two pillars of "intellectual property law" are patents
> and trademarks, neither of which are often adequately addressed in
> copyright licenses, insofar as they're not even mentioned. GNU GPL v2
> does include some text regarding patents; v3 even more so. So unless
> you adequately license patents and trademarks too, copyright licenses
> don't convey "all" the rights one might need to do "anything you
> want". GPL doesn't speak to modifications - it's obligations are
> incurred at point of distribution of the work, modified or not.
From my not-a-lawyer understanding, the trademark issues don't come
into play if the trademarks are not actually used in any way other than
merely existing as part and parcel of the original software package
distributed by the tradmark rights holder.
And yes, then there are patents. Of course the predominant wisdom seems
to be that just like the rest of our legal system, the best tactic is to
always assume that what you want to do is legal, until someone who can
afford more lawyers than you tells you otherwise. Certainly that seems
to be the example the executive branch is setting...
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