Subject: Re: Open Content woes
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 12:01:43 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "rms" == Richard Stallman <> writes:

    [I think this was Mark Stone; anyway, it wasn't Richard]

    We don't have such permission. We have permission for one-time use: the
    right to include the screenshots in this specific book. 

    rms> the issue here has nothing to do with which free license you
    rms> use, nothing to do with whether it is a copyleft license or
    rms> not.  It is a more general issue.  In order to make a free
    rms> manual, you have to get permission for each and every part of
    rms> the material to be used in modified versions.

What is the definition of freedom in this application?  _Refusal to
license "trademarks" at all is already present in principle in such
free software licenses as BSD._  "Thou shalt not take the name of the
Board of Regents of the University of California in vain."  In fact,
that is the _only_ restriction of importance common to all members of
the BSD family of licenses.

That aside, this is a free software business opportunity: coordinating
(and perhaps designing, although the scope for change seems limited
given Richard's opinion) licensing of such stuff.

    rms> Perhaps if a number of us ask Netscape, they will agree to
    rms> this.  Or perhaps they would gladly say yes as soon as you
    rms> ask.

If I were a company with a strong brand image and established
trademarks to go with it, I would want to be insured against the
possibility that a court decides that a permissive license of use of
trademark to a free work constitutes abandonment of the trademark.  Is
this a reasonable worry, or can it be discounted?

In particular, if Red Hat had given permission to a book to use their
logo under a free license, would they have a leg to stand on in
prosecuting the Linuxcare "covering my ass" usage?  Or say a book
cover with a BSD daemon tromping on the Red Hat package and flashing a
V for Victory.  Or a bug report in HTML form using their logo next to
bugs found in software they distribute.  Or in the opening screen of a
competitor's product.

I think trademark is a case where we want to rethink the definition of
"free".  [I had more to say, but evidently Richard is thinking about it
already, so there should soon be a more serious proposal than mine
on the table.]

I think restrictions on derivative use of trademarks is well within
the scope of "free" since Copyleft already enshrines the principle of
restricting others from exercising rights we ourselves retain but have
decided in principle against exercising.

    rms> However, Netscape (as distinguished from Mozilla) is not a
    rms> part of the Debian GNU/Linux system, so should it be included
    rms> in this book at all?

Yes.  The Debian GNU/Linux system supports such applications (it
includes installers for them), so including documentation of them is
appropriate.  Using screenshots can be construed as advertising for
the product, however, and given the Debian project's deprecation of
the use of even semi-free software, the authors and editors should be
sensitive to the issue of whether they're promoting their book with
slick screen shots of deprecated wares.

OTOH, if this is an independent work, and not a work of the Debian
Project itself, then the authors can take their own position on what a 
useful Debian GNU/Linux system should contain, and they can use screen 
shots as they please.  The Debian Project can then include the book on 
the list of "deprecated wares" if they don't like the outcome ;-)

University of Tsukuba                Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences       Tel/fax: +81 (298) 53-5091
What are those two straight lines for?  "Free software rules."