Discussion:
GPL-2+ with additional trademark spice
(too old to reply)
Mihai Moldovan
2018-01-30 10:31:01 UTC
Permalink
Hi


While working on a package (not yet part of Debian), I noticed the following
copyright and license notice:

# This copyrighted material is made available to anyone wishing to use,
# modify, copy, or redistribute it subject to the terms and conditions of
# the GNU General Public License v.2, or (at your option) any later version.
# This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT
# ANY WARRANTY expressed or implied, including the implied warranties of
# MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General
# Public License for more details. You should have received a copy of the
# GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the
# Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA
# 02110-1301, USA. Any Red Hat trademarks that are incorporated in the
# source code or documentation are not subject to the GNU General Public
# License and may only be used or replicated with the express permission of
# Red Hat, Inc.

The first part obviously is just stating that the file in question is being made
available under the GPL-2 (or any later version) license. However, how does the
trademark notice play with that?


If that was a BSD-3-clause license, I assume that this additional specification
wouldn't interact badly (as long as the trademark holder and author as the same
legal person), but I am unsure how GPL-2+ compatible that actually is.

One might argue that this a combination of the third BSD-3-clause license clause
with GPL-2+ and since BSD-3-clause is compatible (to a degree) with GPL-2+
through LGPL-2.1(+), this usage should be fine. Pure speculation on my side
only, though.


Additionally, if the trademark clause as such does not cause licensing issues,
do I have to mention it in debian/copyright explicitly? How would I do so
correctly? By "creating" a new tag like "GPL-2+-with-trademark-exception" and
copying the full notice?


Thank you for any advice.



Mihai
Daniel Hakimi
2018-01-30 13:08:10 UTC
Permalink
This is allowed, but it is not an exception or modification to the GPL. You
cannot remove permissions from the GPL under any circumstances. Rather,
this is allowed because the GPL is, in no way, a trademark license. If
anything, the above comment merely clarifies that fact. While many projects
are not trademarked, or, if they are, do not aggressively enforce their
trademarks, some are and do, and this is fine.

See, for example, Kodi/XMBC's trademark policy FAQ:
http://kodi.wiki/view/Official:Trademark_Policy_FAQ. They enforce their
policy because their application is sometimes used for illegal means, and
if it is, they don't want to be associated with this illegal action.

This is perfectly consistent with the DFSG (see 4)
https://www.debian.org/social_contract. It is also allowed under the FSD
("Thus, it is acceptable for the license to require that you change the
name of the modified version, remove a logo, or identify your modifications
as yours.", https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.en.html) and the OSD
(again, see 4) https://opensource.org/osd.

In the specific case of RedHat -- I trust you've heard of CentOS? CentOS is
essentially RedHat with the RedHat trademarks removed.


Daniel J. Hakimi
B.S. Philosophy, RPI 2012
B.S. Computer Science, RPI 2012
J.D. Cardozo Law 2015
Post by Mihai Moldovan
Hi
While working on a package (not yet part of Debian), I noticed the following
# This copyrighted material is made available to anyone wishing to use,
# modify, copy, or redistribute it subject to the terms and conditions of
# the GNU General Public License v.2, or (at your option) any later version.
# This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT
# ANY WARRANTY expressed or implied, including the implied warranties of
# MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General
# Public License for more details. You should have received a copy of the
# GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the
# Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA
# 02110-1301, USA. Any Red Hat trademarks that are incorporated in the
# source code or documentation are not subject to the GNU General Public
# License and may only be used or replicated with the express permission of
# Red Hat, Inc.
The first part obviously is just stating that the file in question is being made
available under the GPL-2 (or any later version) license. However, how does the
trademark notice play with that?
If that was a BSD-3-clause license, I assume that this additional specification
wouldn't interact badly (as long as the trademark holder and author as the same
legal person), but I am unsure how GPL-2+ compatible that actually is.
One might argue that this a combination of the third BSD-3-clause license clause
with GPL-2+ and since BSD-3-clause is compatible (to a degree) with GPL-2+
through LGPL-2.1(+), this usage should be fine. Pure speculation on my side
only, though.
Additionally, if the trademark clause as such does not cause licensing issues,
do I have to mention it in debian/copyright explicitly? How would I do so
correctly? By "creating" a new tag like "GPL-2+-with-trademark-exception" and
copying the full notice?
Thank you for any advice.
Mihai
Mihai Moldovan
2018-01-30 22:59:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel Hakimi
This is allowed, but it is not an exception or modification to the GPL. You
cannot remove permissions from the GPL under any circumstances. Rather, this is
allowed because the GPL is, in no way, a trademark license. If anything, the
above comment merely clarifies that fact. While many projects are not
trademarked, or, if they are, do not aggressively enforce their trademarks, some
are and do, and this is fine.
That is good to know. My naïve understanding was that limiting trademark usage
is somehow also limiting the distribution of modified source code. It probably
makes sense to assume that other laws (in this case, trademark laws) might limit
the freedoms provided through the source code license, without invalidating the
latter as a whole or even in part.
Post by Daniel Hakimi
This is perfectly consistent with the DFSG (see 4)
https://www.debian.org/social_contract. It is also allowed under the FSD ("Thus,
it is acceptable for the license to require that you change the name of the
modified version, remove a logo, or identify your modifications as yours.",
https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.en.html) and the OSD (again, see 4)
https://opensource.org/osd.
Okay, but the DFSG also mentions that this is a mere compromise. I understand
why it is labeled as such.
Post by Daniel Hakimi
In the specific case of RedHat -- I trust you've heard of CentOS? CentOS is
essentially RedHat with the RedHat trademarks removed.
Naturally! Yes, it is essentially a re-branded RHEL.
Post by Daniel Hakimi
This is a really old form of Red Hat license notice. It predates my
original joining of Red Hat in 2008, even though, if this is about the
Spice project (https://www.spice-space.org/), that project did not
exist as such until after 2008. As soon as I became aware of it I got
rid of it as an internally-recommended license notice.
Heh, no, the subject was meant to be a metaphor, not relating to the project I'm
working on.

I actually found this in dnf's source code, which I am currently packaging for
Debian.
Post by Daniel Hakimi
If anyone wants to submit a patch to the project proposing that this
language be replaced -- say, with the FSF-recommended language
contained in GPLv2 -- I will be supportive. (Since it doesn't strike
me as the most egregious or important problem in the world and I have
a lot of other things to do at the moment I am not likely to act on
this myself in the short term.)
That's fine. So for the time being, can I just tag this as GPL-2+ as usual
without mentioning the trademark restriction part in debian/copyright? Given
that it doesn't affect the license itself, I think that I can omit this detail
in the packaging.



Mihai
Ben Finney
2018-01-30 23:42:57 UTC
Permalink
So for the time being, can I just tag this as GPL-2+ as usual without
mentioning the trademark restriction part in debian/copyright?
To clarify: As said in this thread, it is not a restriction (because it
imposes no restriction that isn't already there in the absence of the
clause). I agree that it appears to be phrased as a restriction.
Given that it doesn't affect the license itself, I think that I can
omit this detail in the packaging.
You would do best, IMO, to put the full license grant including that
clause, into ‘debian/copyright’. Our analysis here of the clause's
effects notwithstanding, Debian Policy requires the full copyright
information in that file, and IMO this clause is part of that
information.
--
\ “It is a part of probability that many improbable things will |
`\ happen.” —Aristotle, _Poetics XXV_, 335 BCE |
_o__) |
Ben Finney
Ben Finney
2018-01-30 20:14:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mihai Moldovan
While working on a package (not yet part of Debian), I noticed the following
Thank you for posting the full text of the grant of license.
Post by Mihai Moldovan
# This copyrighted material is made available to anyone wishing to use,
# modify, copy, or redistribute it subject to the terms and conditions of
# the GNU General Public License v.2, or (at your option) any later version.
[…] Any Red Hat trademarks that are incorporated in the
# source code or documentation are not subject to the GNU General Public
# License and may only be used or replicated with the express permission of
# Red Hat, Inc.
This is confusing, because the GNU GPL v2 has no mention of trademark. I
would advise the copyright holder to phrase this in terms of what the
GPL actually permits or forbids.
Post by Mihai Moldovan
The first part obviously is just stating that the file in question is
being made available under the GPL-2 (or any later version) license.
However, how does the trademark notice play with that?
In my opinion, the addendum is completely null. The grant of license,
above, *already* grants no trademark permission (because it doesn't
mention trademark otherwise, and the GNU GPL v2 doesn't mention
trademark at all).

So it is *apparently* just an assertion of what is already the case – no
special permission to use trademarks – in the absence of that statement.
Post by Mihai Moldovan
One might argue that this a combination of the third BSD-3-clause
license clause with GPL-2+ and since BSD-3-clause is compatible (to a
degree) with GPL-2+ through LGPL-2.1(+), this usage should be fine.
Pure speculation on my side only, though.
Yes, I think it would be helpful to ask the copyright holder to re-write
that license grant, to express their intention more clearly so we don't
need this speculation. Ideally, if the clause is not any additional
restriction or permission, they should remove it from the license grant
text entirely, and just use the standard license grant text.
--
\ “[T]he great menace to progress is not ignorance but the |
`\ illusion of knowledge.” —Daniel J. Boorstin, historian, |
_o__) 1914–2004 |
Ben Finney
Richard Fontana
2018-01-30 20:33:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ben Finney
Post by Mihai Moldovan
While working on a package (not yet part of Debian), I noticed the following
Thank you for posting the full text of the grant of license.
Post by Mihai Moldovan
# This copyrighted material is made available to anyone wishing to use,
# modify, copy, or redistribute it subject to the terms and conditions of
# the GNU General Public License v.2, or (at your option) any later version.
[…] Any Red Hat trademarks that are incorporated in the
# source code or documentation are not subject to the GNU General Public
# License and may only be used or replicated with the express permission of
# Red Hat, Inc.
This is confusing, because the GNU GPL v2 has no mention of trademark. I
would advise the copyright holder to phrase this in terms of what the
GPL actually permits or forbids.
(Red Hat lawyer here)

This is a really old form of Red Hat license notice. It predates my
original joining of Red Hat in 2008, even though, if this is about the
Spice project (https://www.spice-space.org/), that project did not
exist as such until after 2008. As soon as I became aware of it I got
rid of it as an internally-recommended license notice.

If anyone wants to submit a patch to the project proposing that this
language be replaced -- say, with the FSF-recommended language
contained in GPLv2 -- I will be supportive. (Since it doesn't strike
me as the most egregious or important problem in the world and I have
a lot of other things to do at the moment I am not likely to act on
this myself in the short term.)

Richard
Andreas Röhler
2018-02-01 08:24:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Fontana
Post by Ben Finney
Post by Mihai Moldovan
While working on a package (not yet part of Debian), I noticed the following
Thank you for posting the full text of the grant of license.
Post by Mihai Moldovan
# This copyrighted material is made available to anyone wishing to use,
# modify, copy, or redistribute it subject to the terms and conditions of
# the GNU General Public License v.2, or (at your option) any later version.
[…] Any Red Hat trademarks that are incorporated in the
# source code or documentation are not subject to the GNU General Public
# License and may only be used or replicated with the express permission of
# Red Hat, Inc.
This is confusing, because the GNU GPL v2 has no mention of trademark. I
would advise the copyright holder to phrase this in terms of what the
GPL actually permits or forbids.
(Red Hat lawyer here)
This is a really old form of Red Hat license notice. It predates my
original joining of Red Hat in 2008, even though, if this is about the
Spice project (https://www.spice-space.org/), that project did not
exist as such until after 2008. As soon as I became aware of it I got
rid of it as an internally-recommended license notice.
If anyone wants to submit a patch to the project proposing that this
language be replaced -- say, with the FSF-recommended language
contained in GPLv2 -- I will be supportive. (Since it doesn't strike
me as the most egregious or important problem in the world and I have
a lot of other things to do at the moment I am not likely to act on
this myself in the short term.)
Richard
Whilst the precise issue seems solved - remember a case in Germany where
a distributor was condemned as the author made a trademark of the
code-files name. The ruling was: it is permitted to distribute the code,
but not to mention the protected name at the website of the distributor.

Best,
Andreas

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