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Re: The current Trademark License Agreement is unacceptable

On Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 08:20:00PM +0300, Dimitris Glezos wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 7:29 PM, Stephen John Smoogen<smooge gmail com> wrote:
> > Can you tell them to get professional advice versus asking on a mailing list?
> I'll be very sad if we conclude that we want to foster a community in
> which a member will need professional legal advice to start a fan
> site. Such an energy stopper..

I don't think anyone has concluded that, Dimitris.  What I think
Smooge is saying is that a bunch of non-lawyers advising a bunch of
non-lawyers about what a legal text might mean is not a good basis for
making decisions, or for advising others for that matter.  If I
thought that this process required people to go get attorneys I'd
agree it's an utter failure.  A few rough spots that need to be ironed
out, especially when they involve misunderstandings, do not cause me
to think the same thing.

Because we have a whole project full of very smart people --
particularly engineers -- it's naturally tempting for us to think we
can solve problems through analysis.  But just as I wouldn't expect an
attorney to figure out how to debug kernel problems, I wouldn't expect
us on this list to be able to debug a legal agreement.  However, we
definitely can *report* problems and help in the testing.  Both
activities are important, just as they are in our project when we deal
with code.

> My suggestion is to trust our users by default. To catch bad guys,
> create monitors (eg. local community champions) that can detect when a
> site does bad things. The Board at that point can send this person a
> letter to hand off the domain. As we did all this time, quite
> successfully.

You are not taking into account that through inaction in other places
-- which I agree needs to be guided by respect for the issues raised
here by community members, and addressing them wherever possible -- we
can easily make it impossible for the Board to effectively do that.

When our TM guidelines forbade basically *everything,* it was easy to
just police misuse at will.  But that also meant Red Hat had much more
unilateral and inflexible control over the trademarks, even though
everyone seemed to ignore that glaring fact most (and maybe all) of
the time.  Now that our TM guidelines have been overhauled and create
many more liberal permissions, we have a more difficult (but I think
worthwhile) job in creating a landscape where we're helping to
safeguard the trademarks but at the same time permitting broad and
liberal use.

Paul W. Frields                                http://paul.frields.org/
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