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Re: An official trademark policy for CheapBytes-type RHL CDs?

On Sun, 2003-08-17 at 06:27, Lance Davis wrote:
> On Sat, 16 Aug 2003, Stephen Smoogen wrote:
> > On Sun, 17 Aug 2003, Lance Davis wrote:
> > 
> > >We have always felt that cheap cds are a good way to introduce new 
> > >users to different distributions, and some will then go on to purchase 
> > >boxed products or support contracts, or recommend that their companies 
> > >roll out a particular distro and it really hasnt done redhat any favours 
> > >having their brand diluted, or sold as 'pink tie' etc , possibly because 
> > >of their lawyers misunderstanding of the way that gpl software is distributed.
> > 
> > Red Hat has very good lawyers who know a lot about the GPL and have
> > spent most of their time defending it when used in products that do not
> > give any support. The main issue is that TradeMark law is very very
> > explicit. If a company does not defend their trademarks to the death
> > they will lose them if challenged later on it. It is up to the owner of
> > the trademark to show that they have done their best in making sure that
> > the trademark is not used by others no matter how silly the case may be.  
> > In comparison to normal trademark controls Red Hat has been very good
> > about even allowing the name to be licensed.
> I think that you are wrong there, Redhat have used trademark law to 
> prevent the distribution of 100% GPL code, and have restricted the rights 
> under the GPL of someone who has purchased a GPL product to redistribute 
> it.
> Protecting your trademark and using your trademark to restrict GPL rights 
> are two very different things.
> All you have to do to protect it is to insist that your mark is recognised 
> as such by those using it.
>  > 
> > One of the big issues other than Trademark concerns was that the number 
> > of support tickets that would be opened to Red Hat when the product was 
> > bought without Red Hat support elsewhere. At one point in 1998, for 
> > every 5 tickets being opened up, about 1 was for a CheapBytes CD, 2 were 
> > for MacMillan CD's, and the other 2 were legitimate tickets. It didnt 
> > matter that the CDroms had labels telling them to get their support at 
> > XYZ place. The people would still go to www.redhat.com and expect it to 
> > be supported because it had Red Hat's name on it. 
> So Redhat should have recognised that as an opportunity to sell mini 
> support contracts without the baggage of having to produce the retail 
> boxes etc, and it also meant that at least 60% of the increase in their 
> user base was being driven by outside companies at no cost to them !!
> We quite clearly say that the software comes with no support.
> Lance

I am an Enterprise Level Technical Support Engineer here at Red Hat, and
I can say that the thing that *really* upsets people who call in for
support is being told that the "Red Hat CD's" you got from the back of
the "Red Hat Linux Bible" were not purchased from Red Hat, and there is
no telephone or web-based support provided by Red Hat for that
publishers product. Most of these people even tell you that our phone
number is printed *in* the book! I looked and it is, however they never
read down to the part that says that they can *buy* support from Red
Hat. It is still possible to buy a single incident of installation level
support from the website for Red Hat Linux 7.1 through 9, but it's just
not widely advertised. So most of those conversations tend to end
abruptly with a click after I tell them about the option to buy support
from the website. In their minds they have already paid (for the book)
and expect support.

For those of you who might care to examine the option to buy install
support (no it won't work for the beta, and never got updated to say Red
Hat Linux 9 explicitly) the link is:


Chris Kloiber
Red Hat, Inc.

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