[License-discuss] Doese GPLv3 allow misrepresentation and grant rights under trademark law?

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Thu Mar 21 20:34:23 UTC 2019

On Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 11:55 AM Patrick Schleizer <adrelanos at riseup.net>

Since GPLv3 says that "Prohibiting misrepresentation" is an opt-in, it
> could be argued in court that misrepresentation as per "pure" (no
> supplemental terms) GPLv3 licensed material is permissible?

You can argue anything you want, but the judge will laugh you out of court
if you claim that misrepresentation is explicitly licensed by the GPL or
anything else.

> Again, "Declining to grant rights under trademark law" is an opt-in.
> Does the reverse logically follow that GPLv3 "grant rights under
> trademark law"?
> So any source code released under GPLv3 contains any trademarks, that
> effectively equals giving up that trademark?

Again, no.  You can (and must, if you wish to keep it) police unauthorized
use of your trademark in any case.  The GPLv3 just allows you to make
that an explicit term of the license.

In general, I am allowed to put up "NO TRESPASSING" notices on my land,
but failure to put one up (in the U.S. anyway) does not constitute my
to trespass.  (Things are different in "everyman's right / freedom to roam"
countries.)  Similarly, the permission to forbid something provided by
this part of the GPLv3 does not mean that it is allowed by the GPLv3 if
*not* forbidden.

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