Ciaran O'Riordan | 6 Jun 13:13 2007
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GPLv3 last days for comment, and other news links


The fourth-and-last discussion draft of GPLv3 was released last week.  The
plan is to continue the public consultation until June 29th and then finally
release the official GPLv3.  So, if you might have a comment, take a look
asap.

The text of discussion draft 4 can be seen here:
http://gplv3.fsf.org/comments/gplv3-draft-4.html

And that's also the page where you can make a comment.  You first make an
account, and then you can highlight a piece of text, press 'c', and enter
your comment in the box that appears.

For an explanation of what's changed, here's one of Stallman's
presentations:
http://fsfeurope.org/projects/gplv3/brussels-rms-transcript

And here's a FAQ explaining some parts, such as the exception to
tivoisation, in more detail:
http://gplv3.fsf.org/dd3-faq

And some other links, in case the above isn't news.

Creative Commons look to have dropped some of the licences so that the
remaining licences all permit non-commercial redistribution:
http://creativecommons.org/retiredlicenses

Xandros seem to have made a very stupid patent deal with Microsoft:
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070604183519938
(It's like the Novell one, but Xandros are dumber since the dated clause in
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Jon Grant | 10 Jun 18:57 2007

Re: GPLv3 last days for comment, and other news links

Does anyone think any "trademark torpedo" prevention clauses should be
added? The trademark issue being the one that allows a company (e.g. Red
Hat) to prevent redistribution "as is" of their offered packages.
Requiring any distributor (e.g. CentOS) to spend time hunting through
documentation and images for any trademarks, re-branding the package and
then retesting it.

I should add that with the example of CentOS, they mentioned this was
taking them weeks, but Red Hat have moved trademarked items into one
place now, which simplifies the task somewhat. The task does still exist
though, and is probably expensive to ensure its done completely each time.

Should the GPL protect against companies using trademarks to prevent
redistribution "as is" ?

Kind regards,
Jon
--

-- 
Weblog: http://jguk.org/
Alex Hudson | 10 Jun 21:11 2007

Re: GPLv3 last days for comment, and other news links

On Sun, 2007-06-10 at 17:57 +0100, Jon Grant wrote:
> Does anyone think any "trademark torpedo" prevention clauses should be
> added?

Personally, no, although I do have sympathy with the viewpoint you put
forward. A trade mark is, fundamentally, something unique you can use to
identify yourself as the supplier of something. That's basically
incompatible with a copy of free software, which could come from
anywhere, and even if it's identical to your version the supplier is
still different.

It does seem pretty clear to me that trade marks can be used to make
modifying/distributing free software more difficult, but I'm not sure
how you can get around that. Trade marks don't have to be registered;
you could be sued for passing off (though the standards are a fair bit
higher to meet). You'd essentially be asking people to commit to not sue
you under those rights, but I'm not sure how that could be enforceable
without a proper contract. 

There are any number of ways an original author can make license
something as free software but essentially make it difficult/impossible
to redistribute or modify. Personally, I wouldn't worry about it that
much - it's only really a problem if third parties can impose those
kinds of restrictions. In the case of the original author, they're not
bound by the license and can therefore do what they please anyway.

Cheers,

Alex.
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Alex Hudson | 11 Jun 11:00 2007

Re: GPLv3 last days for comment, and other news links

Hi Philip,

(I assume you meant to send this to the list - apologies if not!)

On Sun, 2007-06-10 at 22:52 +0100, Philip Hunt wrote:
> On 6/10/07, Alex Hudson <home <at> alexhudson.com> wrote:
> > There are any number of ways an original author can make license
> > something as free software but essentially make it difficult/impossible
> > to redistribute or modify.
> 
> Surely the main point of the GPLv3 is to prevent this from being
> possible. And if it is still possible, then doesn't the GPLv3 need to
> be revised again?

Not really. No IPR license - the GPL or any other - really has any power
over the IP owner. So, they can basically do what they please, even if
it doesn't make sense and/or doesn't make the full freedoms available.

Cheers,

Alex.
Ciaran O'Riordan | 11 Jun 20:17 2007
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Re: GPLv3 last days for comment, and other news links


I think the reason GPLv3 isn't tackling trademarks is that they haven't
become a big problem, and there aren't clear signs that they will.

The problem might even regress.  When I was at the Ubuntu conference last
month, one of the workshops focussed on what needed to be done to make
Ubuntu more easily re(/de)-brandable (to help the gNewSense folk).

--

-- 
Ciarán O'Riordan __________________ \ http://fsfeurope.org/projects/gplv3
http://ciaran.compsoc.com/ _________ \  GPLv3 and other work supported by
http://fsfe.org/fellows/ciaran/weblog \   Fellowship: http://www.fsfe.org
Jon Grant | 11 Jun 23:06 2007

Re: GPLv3 last days for comment, and other news links

Hi.

Thanks for the reply.

On 11 Jun 2007 19:17:25 +0100, Ciaran O'Riordan <ciaran <at> fsfe.org> wrote:
>
> I think the reason GPLv3 isn't tackling trademarks is that they haven't
> become a big problem, and there aren't clear signs that they will.

That's good then. It seemed possible trademarks could be used to exert
some "control".. in the same sense that a software license ensuring
source code is useless if the code is all covered by software parents
which are enforceable. A clause would prevent trademarks being used in
the same way, It'd be a shame to have to say "I told you so" in the
future.

Imagine if a toolkit vendor said all the "Zt" had to be removed, and
all the classes have the trademark "Z" name prefix removed on anyone's
redistributed copies. It might be practically not worth the effort in
attempting the task!

Kind regards, Jon
Dave Crossland | 12 Jun 09:35 2007

Re: GPLv3 last days for comment, and other news links

On 11/06/07, Jon Grant <jg <at> jguk.org> wrote:
>
> Imagine if a toolkit vendor said all the "Zt" had to be removed, and
> all the classes have the trademark "Z" name prefix removed on anyone's
> redistributed copies. It might be practically not worth the effort in
> attempting the task!

We have http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regular_expressions for that :-)
I think whats happened with Mozilla's Firefox(TM) and Debian Iceweasel
is as bad as it gets.

--

-- 
Regards,
Dave
MJ Ray | 12 Jun 10:08 2007

Re: GPLv3 last days for comment, and other news links

"Jon Grant" <jg <at> jguk.org> wrote:
> On 11 Jun 2007 19:17:25 +0100, Ciaran O'Riordan <ciaran <at> fsfe.org> wrote:
> > I think the reason GPLv3 isn't tackling trademarks is that they haven't
> > become a big problem, and there aren't clear signs that they will.
>
> That's good then. It seemed possible trademarks could be used to exert
> some "control".. [...]
> Imagine if a toolkit vendor said all the "Zt" had to be removed, and
> all the classes have the trademark "Z" name prefix removed on anyone's
> redistributed copies. [...]

More than possible - it's already happened.  As one example, to get
trademark permission to call a Firefox-based browser Firefox, IIRC you
have to:
- include proprietary graphics, which is a problem for debian;
- use their approved configuration that points at a site which offers
to install proprietary plugins for you, which is a problem for GNU; and
- obey some MozCorp release policies, which is a problem for both.

I'm surprised if GPLv3's authors are ignorant of the problems this has
caused for the GNU and debian projects, or think it's not worth
addressing when the more limited (at present) problem of swpat is.

The functional name problem is possible (but not necessary) in both
the Open Font License and the PHP License (again IIRC).

Hope that explains,
--

-- 
MJ Ray - see/vidu http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html
Experienced webmaster-developers for hire http://www.ttllp.co.uk/
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rob | 12 Jun 11:44 2007

Re: GPLv3 last days for comment, and other news links

Quoting MJ Ray <mjr <at> phonecoop.coop>:

> "Jon Grant" <jg <at> jguk.org> wrote:
>> On 11 Jun 2007 19:17:25 +0100, Ciaran O'Riordan <ciaran <at> fsfe.org> wrote:
>> > I think the reason GPLv3 isn't tackling trademarks is that they haven't
>> > become a big problem, and there aren't clear signs that they will.
>>
>> That's good then. It seemed possible trademarks could be used to exert
>> some "control".. [...]
>> Imagine if a toolkit vendor said all the "Zt" had to be removed, and
>> all the classes have the trademark "Z" name prefix removed on anyone's
>> redistributed copies. [...]
>
> More than possible - it's already happened.  As one example, to get
> trademark permission to call a Firefox-based browser Firefox, IIRC you
> have to:
> - include proprietary graphics, which is a problem for debian;
> - use their approved configuration that points at a site which offers
> to install proprietary plugins for you, which is a problem for GNU; and
> - obey some MozCorp release policies, which is a problem for both.

This is different from the case that was being discussed.

Debian's refusal to distribute Firefox because of trademark issues is  
different from if they were being prevented from distributing  
unmodified versions of Firefox by trademark misuse.

> I'm surprised if GPLv3's authors are ignorant of the problems this has
> caused for the GNU and debian projects, or think it's not worth
> addressing when the more limited (at present) problem of swpat is.
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Ciaran O'Riordan | 12 Jun 12:23 2007
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Re: GPLv3 last days for comment, and other news links


MJ Ray <mjr <at> phonecoop.coop> writes:
> I'm surprised if GPLv3's authors are ignorant of the problems this has

Of course there're not.  Fixing those problems with Firefox was one of RMS's
checklist items for gNewSense, so he knows about it.  And the GNU project is
working on Gnuzilla:
http://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/
so the GNU project knows about these problems.

> caused for the GNU and debian projects, or think it's not worth
> addressing when the more limited (at present) problem of swpat is.

The only reason that swpat is such a limited problem, at present, is that
people worked from 1998 until 2005 to prevent a directive that would have
made 50,000 software patents valid.  All those software patents are still
sitting around, and more are still being granted, and there are new
proposals for how to validate them all (EPLA, Community Patent, etc.).

Swpat is a huge potential problem, and requires ongoing work at present as
well as planning for the future (as GPLv3 does).

I'd say their trademark activities are hurting Mozilla more than helping
them, and rather than it spreading, Mozilla may eventually see sense and
start behaving like other members of the community.

There're enough signs to justify a wait and see approach.

--

-- 
Ciarán O'Riordan __________________ \ http://fsfeurope.org/projects/gplv3
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Gmane