trademarks [was: xulrunner 2.0 in rawhide (F15) bundles several system libs]

Nathaniel McCallum nathaniel at
Wed Oct 6 14:59:08 UTC 2010

On 10/06/2010 10:41 AM, Ralf Corsepius wrote:
> On 10/06/2010 04:08 PM, Michal Schmidt wrote:
>> On Wed, 06 Oct 2010 15:26:59 +0200 Ralf Corsepius wrote:
>>> On 10/06/2010 02:49 PM, Matej Cepl wrote:
>>>> Nonsense, trademarks exists to protect users and to avoid living off
>>>> somebody else brand recognition.
>>> I disagree - trademarks exist to protect the manufacturer from
>>> loosing profits because of their products being copied.
>>> Ask Adidas or Nike why they sue Chinese manufacturers and you'll see.
>>> They'll tell you that they loose money because of being copied.
>> Of course. But there's in fact no disagreement, only looking at
>> different aspects of the same thing.
>> Why do you think the copying takes place? Because the companies have
>> built a good reputation and brand, allowing them to increase profit.
>> Good quality =>  good reputation =>  solid brand =>  better profits.
> I am not disagreeing that restrictive trademarks, patents, restricive 
> license etc. all make sense in the commerical world.
> However, this here is Fedora, a project that once was aiming at 
> "Freedom" - As trivial as it is, restrictive trademark policies simply 
> do not fit into this philosophy.
>> Then copyists try to get better profits too without bothering to
>> build their own good reputation, by deceiving the buyers into thinking
>> the original company with good reputation produced their goods.
>> I'm really quite surprised about this thread. Of all the stuff
>> often put under the confusing term "intellectual property" I expected
>> trademarks to be the least controversial.
> Well, my view differs:
> To me, restrictive trademarks are in the same league as patents and 
> closed source.
> Last century's, commercial world's instruments of protectionism which 
> contradict the philosophy behind FLOSS. It's just thanks to the fact 
> "restrictive prosecution of trademarks" are rare in the FLOSS world, 
> which has caused it to get away more or less unattended.

I have an idea... I'm going to create a fork of Fedora.  I'm going to
fill it full of proprietary shit.  I'm going to find the buggiest closed
drivers I can find and load them into the kernel.  I'll also make it so
that you have to type in your credit card number just to login.  I'll
register a fedora derivative domain name and SEO the hell out of it.
Then, I'll tell people my distro is called Fedora Ultimate Edition.
Everyone will believe me because I'll leave all the Fedora artwork in
place.  I'll also publish is under the pseudonym of Ralf Corsepius: Ralf
Corsepius' Fedora Ultimate Edition.

Doing this harms real people and a real organization.  The "freedom" to
do this is not freedom at all but lunacy.  Its quite simple.  You're
free use my work however you like, even for evil.  But you are not
allowed to claim you are me.  Fedora and Mozilla go way beyond this.
They give you the FREEDOM to call yourself Fedora and/or Mozilla so long
as the work actually represents them. That is where the freedom is
found: freedom with conditions.  Just like every single Free/Open
license: freedom with conditions.  The default state of copyright is
that you have few freedoms.  Copyleft works by granting you additional
freedoms so long as your exercise of those freedoms don't damage anyone
else's use of those freedoms.  The trademark grants of Fedora and
Mozilla work the same way: you can use the trademark so long as your use
of the trademark doesn't impede on anyone else's use of the trademark
(including the original author).  Thus, your argument actually undoes
the entire power of the GPL.


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