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Re: [Possibly OT] Trademarks



On Mon, 10 Jan 2005 18:58:59 -0500, Jack Aboutboul
<jaboutboul speakeasy net> wrote:
>         This is almost exactly like the qmail situation. 

No there's a huge difference... you can't even rebrand qmail and
distributed modified versions.  Mozilla is saying something else, they
are saying 'you are free to modify this.. but if you do.. remove the
trademark protected material when you modify'  Qmail's restrictions
prevent you from distributing any modifications. Mozilla's policy
forces you to make certain modifications if you modify without
approval. Its apples and oranges.

Trademarks and copyright are very different things handled in the
legal system in very different ways.  You have to be much more
diligent in proactively protecting a trademark in the US than you do
about protecting copyrights.  Qmail's restrictions are completely and
utterly circumscribed by copyright.  Mozilla's restrictions try to
limit themselves to aspects of trademark law without unduly burdening
the distribution and modification rights to the un-trademarked
codebase.  I don't think i've seen a reasonably informed legal opinion
which says compelling someone to remove trademarked content when
modifying any software under an OSI approved copyright license, breaks
the copyright license conditions.

Whether or not mozilla's approach to protecting trademarks associated
with an open source project is the best model remains to be seen.
However, I don't think its wise to write-off trademarks and branding
completely as something open source projects cannot make use of as a
means of legal protection against people who would try to take
advantage of the projects efforts.

-jef


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