For Approval: GPLv3

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Wed Aug 29 02:50:58 UTC 2007

Chris Travers wrote:

> I mean that section 7 allows one to disclaim trademark rights.


  Hence one
> can attach any other restrictions to a trademark license and force someone
> to remove trademarks before excersizing any arbitrary set of rights granted
> by the GPL.

Sure, that's allowed.  These onerous restrictions are okay, because I
can also say:

"You have no trademark license for the name "ProgramFoo".  Thus, your
distribution of ProgramFoo under that name will violate applicable
trademark law [unless it's fair use]"

That would just mean I have to change the name before distributing.  Any
other trademark license (or lack thereof) is also okay.

> THis seems to be the way around this.  For example, a trademark
> could be applied to a work, and a license statign that the trademark could
> only be used for verbatem copies could apply.  Thus if you wanted to modify
> the code, you would have to strip the trademarks out first.  This seems
> legitimate.


> What I am trying to say is that this provides a way of addressing business
> concerns about such matters.

I don't know which concern you mean.  This is the policy Mozilla takes,
apparently because they're afraid of confusing the marketplace (Why does
this version of Firefox work different from that one?)

  Of course, the flip side is that it could be
> used to add an arbitrary amount of work to a fork's initial outlay (or to
> the excersize of any GPL-granted rights).

Not an arbitrary amount.  It's a little annoying, but it's relatively
simple and only needs to be done once.

> This might be an abuse according
> to some but such an option is probably necessary.

It's not an abuse.  Using someone else's name for the program is not a
right under either OSD or the Free Software Definition.

> Well, it avoids my truth-in-advertising concerns because one can always say
> "you must  not use this trademark with your product if you want to remove
> these additional concerns."

Yeah, that's okay.  However, the author/copyright holder's name (which
may be the same as the trademark in some cases) would still be in the
copyright notices.

> I am aware though that this contradicts the position of the FSF.

I don't think the FSF has a position on MS-PL.

Matt Flaschen

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