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Re: [gNewSense-users] GLPv2 - License trademark

From: Alexandre Oliva
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] GLPv2 - License trademark
Date: Fri, 09 May 2008 14:03:12 -0300
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.2 (gnu/linux)

On May  9, 2008, "Dave Crossland" <address@hidden> wrote:

> 2008/5/8 Alexandre Oliva <address@hidden>:

>> It would be very hard to use trademark law to render Software
>> non-Free.

> A type design could be trademarked and then restricted in perpetuity,
> so that making a free software font might not be possible after the
> type design expires into the public domain (which varies a lot from
> country to country)

Hmm...  You mean it is possible to trademark a font, rather than
individual characters or combinations thereof?  This is news to me,
but I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it was possible indeed.

Of course, if one adds a trademarked logo as one of the characters in
a font, then users of that version of the font containing the logo
could face trademark problems, and I guess one could argue that that
particular version of the font is not Free Software, even if removing
the logo would bring it back to freedom.

Similarly, if one were to design a font such that a specific
combination of characters matched exactly a trademarked logo, then
that specific use of the font might be forbidden, but I don't think
this would make the font non-Free.

And then, if you name the font using a trademark held by another party
in the font business, you might end up having to rename it, but this
wouldn't render the font non-Free.

So, yes, there are corner cases in which trademarks can render
Software non-Free, but I do think they're rare and uncommon.  Which is
not to say that it's an issue to be disregarded entirely, just that in
most cases trademarks are not a problem as far as software freedom is

Alexandre Oliva
Free Software Evangelist  address@hidden,}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! =>
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   address@hidden,}

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