[License-review] Approval submission for the Qlovatech License
email at quentinquaadgras.com
Fri Feb 12 00:44:01 UTC 2021
> I'm not a lawyer but I'm not sure I understand the motivation here. A FOSS
> project can protect their trademark right now and many do, like Mozilla
> does for Firefox.
That's correct but there are different legal protections depending on whether a trademark is registered or not. In the United States, I believe unregistered trademarks can claim limited trademark rights where as in New Zealand (where I'm from) unregistered trademarks have no legal standing at all and cannot be enforced. For an open-source project which is available internationally, you really need an international trademark to be able to protect and/or enforce your brand. These can be filed but a single international trademark has been estimated to me at $26,527.34 USD through the Madrid System. This is prohibitively expensive for a software project unless it has substantial growth and revenue. Even limiting the countries to ANZAC + EU + UK would cost $2,989 USD which is more affordable but still expensive for a small project.
> Whether in a license or not, don't trademarks still need to be enforced
> to be protected?
Yes, this is why the Qlovatech license provides builtin pseudo-trademark protection, this protection only applies to derivative works. Any copyright holder may reserve the right from any derivative works to use their declared brand/trademark and maintain the rights to promote and endorse products and services under their declared brand/trademark. This allows the license in a limited form to enforce an unregistered (or registered) trademark.
> What is the urgent problem being appropriately solved here and why is it
> something that is within the limits of the Open Source Definition?
Consider the author of a software project is implicitly branded as (without a registered trademark) 'AwesomeApp'. ThirdParty makes a copy of this software and distributes 'AwesomeApp' on a popular app store so that users misleadingly believe that they are using the author's version of the project. Perhaps 'AwesomeApp' is recognized as a brand that is updated regularly, does not track it's users, etc, ThirdParty copy could be unmaintained and contain tracking software. Alternatively, perhaps this modified version of 'AwesomeApp' is hosted on a cloud service by ThirdParty and sold as a service to users. Users may believe the service is using the authors version and does not track them . This type of brand confusion hurts both the copyright holders and the users. Filing an international trademark is too expensive for the author at this time.
* The Solution *
Instead, consider the author of the software project declares 'AwesomeApp' as a trademark and releases this project under the terms of the Qlovatech license. They now reserve the right to title, promote and endorse products and services derived from this software. They can release & redistribute this software as 'AwesomeApp' for a fee on any app stores and/or distribution platforms at the time of their choosing. Nobody else has the right to title, promote or endorse any forks and derivative works as 'AwesomeApp'. Since anyone can rebrand the software covered by the license, ThirdParty can rebrand their software as 'GreatApp' , respect any other declared trademarks and are now free to use the software for any purpose. Any copyright holder may when funds permit, file for an international trademark in order to register and therefor acquire additional protections to their trademark.
My intention is for the license to be Open Source, I am specifically writing this license to conform to the definition and if it does not, I consider this to be a 'bug' in the license that needs addressing.
I believe most of the contention with the license will be about legal clarity & "Integrity of The Author's Source Code", because as long as covered software is 'rebranded' or 'brandless' and the source code is made available, there are no restrictions on the use of that software.
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