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Re: The current Trademark License Agreement is unacceptable

On Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 10:42 AM, Christoph
Wickert<christoph wickert googlemail com> wrote:
> Am Donnerstag, den 27.08.2009, 14:48 -0800 schrieb Jeff Spaleta:
>> Let me put it this way. Would you prefer that the Fedora brand be
>> unprotected by trademarks so that anyone could use them for any
>> purpose whatsoever even if they were deliberately attempting to cause
>> confusion in the market?
> No, but I think the current attempt to protect is counterproductive. We
> all know that intentions are good (TM), so let's not look at the
> intentions but at the results:
> Robert is the owner of the domain fedora.de. He used it to mirror the
> German parts of fedoraproject.org. Now with the TLA he can no longer do
> this because the webpages at fp.o do not follow the standards set in the
> TLA and the Logo Usage Guidelines. As a result he had to close down the
> page. This is a loss for both Fedora and Robert.

In volunteer communities such as open source, de-motivating factors
are tragic losses.

Christoph's arguments clearly bring to the surface some of my concerns
about the aggressive enforcement of our protection of the trademark.
I, too, believe we need to protect our trademark. But the real
question is: who do we want to protect it from?

Right now we're putting obstacles and red-tape to excited community
members. But these are the people who power our own community, these
are the people who represent Fedora in conferences, local
universities, at their jobs. If we trust them to be our champions and
defend our Project, we should trust them in domains too, for example:
"if you see that you're stepping away from active contribution, we
trust you'll hand the domain over to other members."

Because eventually:

 1. The only way we can enforce a signed agreement is if RH Legal
takes a community member of ours to the court. This should never

 2. Even without a signed agreement it could take them to court,
because they're using the trademark.

 3. But the above two are completely off topic, IMHO. The real problem
is this: We want to protect Fedora from bad people. These people who
WILL want to harm the trademark will do it ANYWAY. Signed agreement or
not, trademark or not.

I believe that a lot of people are trying to help. But I also believe
the whole red-tape we're putting is not the right way to do it because
it's not effective. It's like security in airports: asking people to
give away bottle of water and having mothers of 4 trying their own
breast milk, and taking away nail clippers... It just sucks, and
doesn't stop the real bad guys. It just makes our lives miserable.
Empowering our local users and tearing down all Stop-Energy factors
should be #1 priority as community architects.

Having said these, there *are* a number of ways to protect our
trademark from THESE users. For example, when we see such a site that
we suspect is not respecting the trademark, we could ask the person at
THAT point to sign the agreement.

>> I happen to think its worthy of protection against malicious use.
>> I don't want a Microsoft or Apple shill being able to put up
>> misinformation sites that use the Fedora trademarks. In order to
>> prevent that, trademark law must be invoked and all trademark usage
>> must be sanctioned.
> Was this intended or a Freudian slip? You mean *mis*use must be
> sanctioned, right? Currently I'm under the impression that "all
> trademark usage must be sanctioned" fits better to the TLA.

One of my arguments against these measures was that the examples of
malicious use are very rare, if they exist. Do we know of any,

And if yes, do we have proof that a) The person wouldn't comply with
an email from the board asking kindly to stop it? b) The person
*could* be approached via the legal way (or is the domain registered
on the Isle of man)? c) The cost for putting red-tape to the other 99%
community members IS WORTH this risk?

>> If you don't trust Red Hat as the mark holder to do the right thing
>> and to only exercise the legal power to terminate a license when a
>> license holder is misusing the mark..then I'm not sure what to tell
>> you as I don't think a satisfactory compromise could be reached that
>> did not require scrutiny by legal representation for all
>> parties..

Trust goes both ways. IMHO we should *by default* trust our community
champions to do the right thing. If they don't, we should trust that
they will if we simply ASK them to do it. Someone should be innocent
until proven otherwise. *Especially* in a community where "Freedom" is
a core value.


Dimitris Glezos

Transifex: The Multilingual Publishing Revolution
http://www.transifex.net/ -- http://www.indifex.com/

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