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Re: The current Trademark License Agreement is unacceptable



On Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 01:56:32PM -0500, inode0 wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 1:46 PM, Jeff Spaleta<jspaleta gmail com> wrote:
> > On Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 10:12 AM, inode0<inode0 gmail com> wrote:
> >> The use of Fedora trademarks without permission is granted in various
> >> cases in the Trademark Guidelines. Is it not possible to craft a use
> >> case here that would fall into that category and sufficiently cover
> >> Red Hat's needs while not being a worrisome burden on our
> >> contributors?
> >
> > Can you come up with an exhaustive and prescriptive definition of all
> > categories of misuse that could be agreed on?  I don't think you can.
> > There is an inherent fuzziness with regard to what is and is not
> > confusing usage..as a lot of it is in the context of how a mark is
> > used and the intent thereof. We maybe able to easily write down a
> > short list of activities we want to see the mark used for...but we
> > aren't going to be able to prescriptively list everything that
> > constitutes misuse...because misuse can and will be contextually.
> 
> Why should I be asked to do this? The current Trademark Guidelines
> have a section titled: Usage That Does Not Require Permission. My
> question above was whether one additional permitted use case could be
> crafted to add to the existing list that would cover some of the area
> of concern being discussed in this thread.

I'm not sure that's possible to do.  How would you phrase such a use
case?  "Anyone may register a domain with 'fedora' in it if..."  No
wait, we already goofed, because that means now it might be incumbent
on us to proactively police all new domain registrations or risk loss
of trademark integrity.  Not to mention the difficulty of getting a
domain *de-registered* once it's out there, even if we could manage
that policing effectively.

> > All this really boils down to whether or not its reasonable for a
> > rights holder to be able to make the judgement as to what misuse is
> > after the license is in place.  Since an exhaustive definition of
> > everything that encompasses all potential misuse is not available..I
> > think its perfectly reasonable to expect a rights holder to keep the
> > right to make that judgement as part of the decision process leading
> > to license termination. Now there maybe a better way to word the
> > termination clause to make it more palatable but I very much doubt the
> > legal import of the clause will materially change.
> 
> This is entirely a different matter. We don't ask authors for example
> to sign any agreement. We say in advance you may use our trademarks
> under these conditions without further bother. Why are they, as one
> example, exempted from signing an agreement to use the trademarks when
> our own contributors aren't?

Because AIUI it's almost impossible to enforce trademarks in the case
of books written for purposes like academic study, such as books on
how to use the Fedora distribution.  I believe this might also be true
of books such as a hypothetical "My Life in the Fedora Project"
(M. Spevack, Wiley & Sons).  We simply require among other minimal
protections that authors don't claim that we endorsed their books.
It's probably also fair to note that publishers, in general, are
pretty cautious over the use of any trademarks, which isn't true of
the average Internet denizen.  (Note that's general Internet
population, not Fedora community members, who I think are generally
far more mindful of such things.)


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