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Re: Fedora: Freedom is a Feature.

On Fri, 5 Oct 2007, Matthew Miller wrote:

Maybe we could leave off the TM but include somewhere some lighthearted fine print about it being a trademark irony notwithstanding and we know that sounds silly but hey, gotta use the law to protect freedom too. I'm too tired to be really witty right now but maybe someone else can pick up from there. :)


Let me be honest about another motivation: my suspicions about the general usefulness of "protecting the marks" of open source projects.

I admire the Debian practice of having some marks that are fiercely protected, and other marks that are completely open. The Debian swirl is completely open; the Debian swirl atop the genie bottle is fiercely protected. Which has allowed the open Debian mark to proliferate.

I'd hoped to get this kind of agreement with Red Hat legal in regards to the Fedora mark -- i.e. create an open Fedora mark that anyone could use in any way they wished -- but was unsuccessful.

As a consequence, Fedora must now take a very aggressive stance on mark usage, which takes up legal time and resources that could, IMHO, be *much* better spent elsewhere. It also leads to long and confusing Board-level discussions about "who is entitled to use the Fedora mark and when," in all kinds of areas: respins, derivative works, ambassador collateral, etc., etc.

There are some pretty long and protracted debates about The Value of Marks to the open source community. The OSI's aggressive enforcement of their Open Source mark certainly hasn't prevented the Enemies of Open Source from co-opting and confusing the Open Source mark, for instance.


Greg DeKoenigsberg
Community Development Manager
Red Hat, Inc. :: 1-919-754-4255
"To whomsoever much hath been given...
...from him much shall be asked"

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