The current Trademark License Agreement is unacceptable

Luis Villa luis.villa at
Thu Aug 27 23:00:16 UTC 2009

On Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 6:35 PM, Sebastian
Vahl<deadbabylon at> wrote:
> Am Freitag 28 August 2009 schrieb Tom "spot" Callaway:
>> On 08/27/2009 06:08 PM, Robert Scheck wrote:
>> > Can I assume, that there's only an interest in the "cool" domain
>> > names?
>> In America, there is a saying:
>> When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.
>> Don't make that assumption. Any sites using the Fedora trademarks not
>> asked to sign the trademark agreement are accidental, not intentional,
>> omissions.
> But Robert is the only domain holder in the german community to whom the TLA
> was send.
> But please don't intend to send it to the remaining ones. I'm in contact with
> all of them and sending the TLA at this time without further discussion and
> without changes being made will likely force them to shut down their domains
> (so the conclusion at this point). And so a main part of the german community
> will be extinguished...

[I am not a lawyer, yet; even if I were a lawyer I'm not your lawyer.
So take with a grain of salt.]

Look, I'm not a big fan of this trademark agreement; I think it is
probably overkill and certainly reflects a centralized view of
trademark that is harmful to how we operate as a peer production
community. If I had my way Fedora (and Mozilla, etc., etc.) would
radically reinvent how they license their marks. But that is a subject
for another day, because it is complex and will require many months or
years of lawyering to get completely right, and that is even if other
lawyers agreed with me- which most don't!

In the meantime, it is silly to talk about shutting down your domain
or 'extinguishing community' because of this agreement. If you're
using the Fedora mark in a domain name, Red Hat/Fedora can already
take it from you via ICANN. They're virtually guaranteed to win that
case. If they want, they can almost certainly go far beyond that,
using the rest of trademark law to shut down your website, not just
take the domain. Bottom line: even if you never sign the agreement-
even if the agreement had never been written- you'd still be at their
mercy when using the mark. All that unpleasantness is still there.

The agreement does not make that worse, and may well in some respects
make it better. So by all means work with Red Hat to simplify,
clarify, etc. But please don't make the agreement out to be a big deal
when it really isn't. It changes very little.


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