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Mozilla The Internet Businesses Debian

Mozilla Cracks Down On Merchandise Sellers 565

Posted by timothy
from the likelihood-of-confusion dept.
An anonymous reader writes "MozillaZine reports that the Mozilla Foundation is cracking down on those selling unofficial Mozilla-branded merchandise. This takes the form of an open letter addressed to retailers of goods that bear the Mozilla name or logos. The letter suggests that the Foundation are willing to work with those selling Mozilla wares, as long as they get a cut and the retailer isn't operating in the US, Canada or Mexico, where they would be competing with the Foundation's own Mozilla Store. Threats of legal action for non-compliance are issued, albeit with friendly overtones. This open letter is part of the Mozilla Foundation's campaign to better enforce its trademarks, an effort that began when the Foundation was launched in July. In a related move, the Foundation announced that the new Firefox artwork is not open-source and can only be used in official builds or those sanctioned by the Foundation - this has led to debates about whether Firefox is free enough to be included in the Debian Linux distribution."
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Mozilla Cracks Down On Merchandise Sellers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:04PM (#8585043)
    Just keep changing the name every month. No one will want to produce bootleg merchandise.
    • by ron_ivi (607351) <sdotno@ch[ ]comp ... m ['eap' in gap]> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @10:04PM (#8585451)
      Following the link to the Debian debate, Andrew Suffield from debian.org wrote: " think so, but I'm not so sure about modified versions of Firefox. Clause 7 is the relevant one here. You can always construct something that is distributable under the GPL by modifying it to change the name and artwork, though.

      So the Debian guys could just change one letter and change the "o" to a "u" in FireFox, pronounced firefu.. :-)

      • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @03:40AM (#8586962) Homepage
        When the name was changed from Firebird to Firefox there was a lot of prattle from the Mozilla people about how they had carefully researched the name and chosen it to have no trademark issues. I took this to mean that the new name would be unencumbered and one could use it without infringing any trademarks.

        But it looks like they had something else in mind. In fact, they wanted to create their own legal obstacles to using the name. I wish they had made this clear from the start.
        • by Gerv (15179) <gerv@@@gerv...net> on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @04:39AM (#8587143) Homepage
          In fact, they wanted to create their own legal obstacles to using the name.

          We only want to create obstacles for those who would _ab_use the name. If you want to call your modified version "Firefox", get in touch and let's talk. For unmodified binaries, distribute away - there's no restrictions there. See our licensing page [mozilla.org].

          Gerv

          • I think it would help if you suggested a name that people could use which isn't subject to legal restrictions. Otherwise you end up with everyone calling the browser different things. There needs to be a name which has a technical meaning, but not necessarily a legal meaning. When OpenBSD includes perl, they have patched it a little, but it is still perl. Similarly, Linux is a trademark, but you don't need to get permission from Linus or change the name for any alteration you want to make.
          • For unmodified binaries

            How about source distributions? For example, can Gentoo include firefox, using the name firefox, and include the firefox artwork? What if they include a couple minor bugfix patches?

            It seems to me that Free Software shouldn't be encumbered by trademark issues any more than is required by current trademark law.

            I sure hope the foundation doesn't become _overly_ concerned with legal matters; that is the path to boorishness.

            I have donated money and time to the foundation, and if

  • Um... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NeoGeo64 (672698) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:04PM (#8585048) Journal
    Isn't Mozilla a generic name used in all headers for web browsers? I'm pretty sure IE6 uses the word "Mozilla" in it's information headers...

    What are they trying to do? Copyright a generic name?
    • Re:Um... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ADRA (37398) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:07PM (#8585081)
      The word is trademark, not copyright:
      http://www.mozilla.org/foundation/lice nsing.html

      Redhat does the same thing with their distribution, but its spread out thoughout the entire distro.
      • Re:Um... (Score:5, Informative)

        by ComputerSlicer23 (516509) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:59PM (#8585420)
        Actually, it's not spread out amonst the entire distro. It's in precisely two packages. redhat-logos, and anaconda-artwork if I remember correctly. You can strip those two things off, and you should be good to go.

        Everything else is part of a GPL'ed package, that you have to be allowed to distribute as is. If you read their license, they are quite clear that those are the only two things they hold copyright and trademark over.

        Kirby

    • yes and no (Score:5, Informative)

      by qortra (591818) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:11PM (#8585109)
      Yes, IE does reference Mozilla in its "User-Agent" header, but no, it is not generic; it is still refering to the Mozilla foundation (or a Netscape standard of somekind, anyway). Even if it was generic, there is still the matter of the logo; that is certainly not generic.
    • Re:Um... (Score:5, Informative)

      by mlk (18543) <[michael.lloyd.l ... [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:47PM (#8585346) Homepage Journal
      No, the Moz in IE (and many others) is to try to get round the evil stupid twats that think restricting web content using browser sniffing is a "good thing".

      Netscape has always(1) used the term "Mozilla" internally for its browser. Back in the Netscape 3/4 vs MSIE 3/4 days, Netscape was winning the browser war, and the aformentioned evil stupid twats that think restricting web content using browser sniffing is a "good thing" was restricting access to Netscape only. MSIE put the Mozilla (Compatabile; ...) (in direct violation of an RFC, but hey) to get round the evil twats that should be kicked lots, then sold into slavery on eBay.

      (1) May or may not be "always" :)
    • Re:Um... (Score:3, Informative)

      by MntlChaos (602380)
      Isn't Mozilla a generic name used in all headers for web browsers? I'm pretty sure IE6 uses the word "Mozilla" in it's information headers...

      No. Mozilla is the original Netscape code name for its browser. When Microsoft introduced their first browser, IE 2.0, they touted it as Mozilla compatible. That's where that came from. To answer your question, no, Mozilla is not a generic name
  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:05PM (#8585057)
    I know I'm missing something, but shouldn't they be encouraging this form of free-adversiting?
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by prof187 (235849) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:22PM (#8585188) Homepage
      I think that what they are concerned with is that if somebody sells something that, say, falls apart as soon as they get it, they associate the name Mozilla with poor quality. And beyond that, they might not make the connection that the store isn't an official Mozilla-type-product seller, so they could mistake it as being something sold directly by Mozilla Foundation.
      • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Myopic (18616)
        I don't really agree. I mean, if I take any piece of GPL software I can modify it so that it sucks and redistrubute it. Sure, someone could think that emacs sucks if my personal version of emacs sucks, but that's the tradeoff for freedom.

        If you're worried that derivitave works will reflect poorly on your work, Free Software might not be for you.
        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Gerv (15179) <gerv@@@gerv...net> on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @04:41AM (#8587153) Homepage
          If you're worried that derivitave works will reflect poorly on your work, Free Software might not be for you.

          How so? See the Apache license, for example - it says you can't endorse any derivative works with their trademarks. Other versions of the BSD licenses say the same. There are a large body of free software hackers who believe they shouldn't have to put their name or their trademarked brand names on (potentially) rubbish derivatives.

          Gerv
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mingot (665080) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:24PM (#8585204)
      No, not if it competes with a business interest that they already have. Try going to a rock concert with some freshly printed T-Shirts and then explaining to the nice people that they should be happy you're bootlegging their shit because hey, free advertising!
    • Do we need a TGPL (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ron_ivi (607351)
      Sounds like we need a Gnu Trademark General Public License.

      Perhaps something that lets other people use the a trademark in most cases, so long as the guy using it doesn't use it in ways that invalidate the trademark..

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by eyegone (644831) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @10:03PM (#8585446)

      I know I'm missing something, but shouldn't they be encouraging this form of free-adversiting?

      No.

      If you don't defend a trademark, you lose it.
  • If this were Fark (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ObviousGuy (578567) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:05PM (#8585060) Homepage Journal
    This article would get an Ironic tag.

    This, like the GFDL, is one of those aspects of some aspects of the OSS movement that doesn't seem to really follow the tenets of the whole OSS movement.
    • I fail to see how them protecting their rights is a violation of the OSS tenets.

      Mozilla is trying to prevent the selling of illegal merchandise that takes away from their rightfully, and legitimate business.

      OSS isn't about stealing. It's not about denying people their legal rights.
    • by brucmack (572780) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:21PM (#8585179)
      Personally I can't really see how the artwork should fall under open source. They're binary files, right?

      This is purely a branding issue, it has nothing to do with the underlying program. They want to be able to make some money off of merchandise that they will hopefully invest in bettering their technology. How is this a bad thing?

      I found it funny that the original poster felt it necessary to add "albeit with friendly overtones". I guess this was an attempt to ward off the knee-jerk reactions? Really, I wouldn't see the problem if they were rude about it, they have a right to protect their name and logo.
      • Personally I can't really see how the artwork should fall under open source. They're binary files, right?


        Raster graphics are just binary files, but that doesn't mean there's no source. Most raster icons are made with multiple layers and with paths, so a GIMP .xcf file would be the source. Vector graphics generally are already in an editable "source" format.
      • by liquidsin (398151) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @10:56PM (#8585803) Homepage
        I actually see it as more of a way to prove authenticity. By only allowing the logo to appear on official builds, it's a way for users to know that this binary was built and (theoretically) tested by The Mozilla Foundation (tm). Debian, RedHat, and everyone else are all free to include Moz in their distro, but unless they're using Moz-built binaries, they can't include the logo. Thus, the user knows whether it's an official Mozilla build or not. Makes sense to me, anyways...
    • Re:If this were Fark (Score:3, Interesting)

      by C10H14N2 (640033)
      Ironic also because they have ONE FSCKING PRODUCT at the Mozilla store. A t-shirt. Period. Come on guys, they're not "competing" with your single crap t-shirt. Why didn't they spend their energy developing, say, a coaster and a ballcap instead of writing pithy letters. Why not just set up licensing terms? If you got nothin' and other people are already making something, just ask for the cut. This idea of "competition" with a store that sells basically NOTHING is just lame.
    • by adagioforstrings (192285) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @10:06PM (#8585460)
      I really don't think this is ironic; unfortunate, perhaps. US law does force an organization to police its trademarks in order to retain protection:

      Title 15, Chap 22, Subchap 1, Sec. 1065:

      no incontestable right shall be acquired in a mark which is the generic name for the goods or services or a portion thereof, for which it is registered.

      Companies who do not make the effort to defend their marks are seriously disadvantaged should they require a legal remedy to a branding issue. I think it's probably a wise move for Mozilla.org being high profile software.
      Look at the next sentence...
      "Could you google something for me on MSN?"
      That could happen, especially the way the google name is thrown around these days. I really think this is a case of 'being prepared' and protecting the integrity of the brand. That can be important, even for OSS.
  • by JVert (578547) <corganbilly.hotmail@com> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:06PM (#8585067) Journal
    Free as in advertising?

    At the sound of the tone free software will have officially "sold out".

    Damn this dragon! its only producing one egg a day! lets cut it open and harvest a lifetimes worth of eggs!!!
  • by dzym (544085) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:06PM (#8585069) Homepage Journal
    rip out the firefox artwork, make firesomething [cosmicat.com] a part of the default package, name the package mozilla-firesomething, and throw in a patch that makes sure the default firesomething configuration doesn't put together the words "fire" and "fox".

    Problem solved.

  • Good for Them (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hideyoshi (551241) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:07PM (#8585078)
    More power to them I say. Free Software shouldn't be equated with the right to brazenly steal from those who provide it.
    • Re:Good for Them (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rampant mac (561036) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:31PM (#8585248)
      "Free Software shouldn't be equated with the right to brazenly steal from those who provide it."

      I agree! I mean, no open source projects have ever looked very similar to Windows or MacOS... They've all treaded their own paths, much like jTunes or WindowMaker!

      Evolution looks so much like Outlook, there should be royalties involved.

    • yes, it should! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by qortra (591818) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:33PM (#8585266)
      One could offer value-added services for a GNU/Linux distribution that they have invested no time in, or burn Debian CDs and sell them for a profit, use the Linux kernel to build evil devices for one's own sadistic pleasure (within the bounds of the law). That's what it is to be free! When something becomes truely free, those kinds of restrictions are nullified. So, if I release music for free (and I have), you have the right to brazenly sell them in your business for a profit and give nothing back to me.

      Those are the costs of freedom. Live with it or don't. But don't pretend to support OSS when you aren't willing to suffer the cost.
  • Wait... (Score:5, Funny)

    by GregThePaladin (696772) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:08PM (#8585088) Homepage Journal
    Mozilla has a store? Well I wouldn'tve bought my "I downloaded the best damn browser on the next and all I got was this lousy mousepad" mousepad had I known THAT...
  • That's cute (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lingqi (577227) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:08PM (#8585089) Journal
    Just on the trademark thing, I think because of obvious reasons, the Mozilla icon in Japan is a fat "mo" in hiragana. I thought I'd point it out because it seems ironic that it's not Touhou (big japanese media company that distributes most of movies, good anime, and more importantly the Godzilla series) isn't doing the rademark legal actions...

    (I mean, I am all for Moz, but the irony is unignorable)
    • Re:That's cute (Score:5, Informative)

      by GarfBond (565331) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @10:17PM (#8585532)
      The Mozilla Foundation and Toho (sp?) have an agreement concerning trademarks. This was resolved way back when Mozilla was under AOLTW/Netscape's wings. I don't remember the exact details, but basically it allows Mozilla to continue use of the name Mozilla and logos, and all current products named "-zilla," such as ChatZilla. I don't know if it allows new -zilla named products, but it might not (and that would be a bad idea anyway).

      If you want, the proof is likely on google or mozillazine.
  • Oh come on... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TwistedGreen (80055) <twistedgreen@NOSPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:09PM (#8585095)
    How is an open letter 'cracking down'? Talk about biased reporting...
  • Free (Score:5, Insightful)

    by molafson (716807) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:10PM (#8585105)
    Either you believe in freedom or you don't, right? Wrong! These bootleggers are (presumably) profiting off the work of the Mozilla collective, without contributing anything back. That goes against the spirit and the letter of the project. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    • Re:Free (Score:3, Interesting)

      Either you believe in freedom or you don't, right? Wrong! These bootleggers are (presumably) profiting off the work of the Mozilla collective, without contributing anything back. That goes against the spirit and the letter of the project. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

      This is wrong. The point of free software is to provide a common base from which all people can profit. Read the GNU Manifesto... the goal is to have software available for free. This would allow someone to setup an internet cafe, setup
      • by jaaron (551839) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:59PM (#8585417) Homepage
        The point of free software is to provide a common base from which all people can profit.

        Uh, the point is they (Mozilla) wanted to use a license which allowed users to have access to the source code. Anything above and beyond that is reading into the motives of the developers (in this case, originally the Netscape company) and supposing all open source developers have some sort of unified altruistic mission. There is no single open source movement. Open Source describes a licensing scheme and, perhaps, to a degree a programming methodology (though that's a stretch). Thus each organization or company which releases software under an open source license can do so for many reasons, but that doesn't necessarily mean they do it to "provide a common base" or that "all people can profit."

        Some organizations and individuals have made Open Source into a sort of social-political movement. The foremost of these is the FSF. But not everyone agrees with them, nor needs to.

        Read the GNU Manifesto... the goal is to have software available for free.

        Mozilla does not use the GPL. It uses the MPL [mozilla.org] which is very different. Additionally, Mozilla is not part of the FSF, is not "free software" in this sense, and can have completely different goals from the rest of the so-called open source movement.

        The first mistake most people make when evalutating open source software or the individuals and organizations which produce such software is to assume there exists a united effort with a single goal. Such a case is just about as likely as all humanity having a common purpose and single goal.

        More on this subject at my blog [jadetower.org]
      • Re:Free (Score:3, Informative)

        by hburch (98908)
        because it's GPL'd, they are specifically opting out of the ability to profit from selling licenses.

        The truth is much more complex than that. Under GPL, you are granting others permission to distribute package A under restrictions designed to force them to distribute package B than uses package A under a similar license. If you will, "I'll give this to the community, but, if you use it, you have give your stuff too".

        However, this does not preclude you from distributing the same software under a differ

    • Re:Free (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cmburns69 (169686) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:20PM (#8585178) Homepage Journal
      These bootleggers are (presumably) profiting off the work of the Mozilla collective, without contributing anything back


      They are contributing brand awareness.. ;)

    • Re:Free (Score:3, Informative)

      by jelle (14827)
      " profiting off the work of the Mozilla collective, without contributing anything back. That goes against the spirit and the letter of the project. Please correct me if I'm wrong."

      Spirit, probably, but agains the letter of the project? If that were true, then the license would have to have a part that specifically states that the license is only valid if you either not profit from using the product, or give stuff back...

      If the artwork of the firebird browser is not covered by the same open source license
  • Firefox artwork (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orthogonal (588627) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:11PM (#8585108) Journal
    the Foundation announced that the new Firefox artwork is not open-source and can only be used in official builds or those sanctioned by the Foundation - this has led to debates about whether Firefox is free enough to be included in the Debian Linux distribution."

    Will the Debian Linux distribution refuse all Open Source Software that also says, "you can re-compile this software, and even add your own modifications, but you can't represent your own compilations or modifications as official builds"?

    Because that's all that reserving the artwork does: the artwork is an imprimatur, a symbol essentially equivalent to a signature, that identifies a build as official.

    I've made some of my code open source, but I've never said that people could remove my name from the copyright, or conversely, put my name on their own work. If my signature were a Chinese ideogram, or a picture of fox wrapped around a globe, I wouldn't let anyone else use that.

    If the Debian Foundation decides that Firefox isn't "free enough", can I produce my own Linux distribution and call it "Debian Linux"?
    • Re:Firefox artwork (Score:5, Informative)

      by petabyte (238821) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:31PM (#8585246)
      "you can't represent your own compilations or modifications as official builds"

      Its more than official builds. If Debian compiles their own build of Firefox, they cannot call it Firefox or use the Logo. If you read the thread you'd know that. To quote Mr. Dotzler: "Before we're willing to sanction the distribution of a modified version of Firefox under our trademark name and logo, we need to know what those changes are, specifically."

      That's not an unreasonable request, however Eric Dorland (Debian's Firefox maintainer) also has valid concerns:

      "I understand that you would want Firefox to have the highest level of quality when using that name. But even if you approved of my patches today, what about tomorrow? Would I have to have you approve of every release that I do? If we disagreed and could not find a compromise would you disallow us from using the name? I'm not sure I would be comfortable working in that kind of situation."

      Personally, I thing it is probably a non-issue. If they can't reach some sort of agreement then Debian can still compile the modified Firefox code with another set of artwork and call it something other than Firefox. I propose it be called "Phoenix" ;)
      • Re:Firefox artwork (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eclectro (227083)
        I propose it be called "Phoenix" ;)

        Except that their is a company [phoenix.com] that writes BIOS code that would probably object to other software being called Phoenix.
    • by Chris Pimlott (16212) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:53PM (#8585387)
      Debian is not saying their builds are official. They just want to be able to say what they supply _is_ FireFox. Mozilla is saying you can't use the name and image unless you haven't changed it at all.

      Contrast this with Debian's logo policy [debian.org]. Anyone is allowed to use the Debian name and logo in a derivative product, but there is a *second* logo reserved solely for Debian's use on official builds and any approved projects, at their discretion. This way other people can use the name and logo that the Linux public knows while marking a distinction between them and official Debian-endorsed products.
  • Relax (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CaptainSuperBoy (17170) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:13PM (#8585123) Homepage Journal
    They have to defend the Mozilla trademark, I'm sure the lawyers told them to cover their ass and do it already, so they did it. It doesn't seem any more complicated than that.
  • by baximus (552800) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:14PM (#8585124)
    ... software should be free to be downloaded by the masses. go forth and download all the Open Stuff you want. BUT don't you dare use our pictures or graphics, or we'll sue.

    Seriously, all this litigation, threats of lawsuits, license clauses in software, logos and so on - it's starting to make "Open" look a heck of a lot more like "Closed" to me; imagine what it looks like to the Clueless Observer.
  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:15PM (#8585134)
    Hey! Don't rip off our Godzilla rip-off!
  • by fembots (753724) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:22PM (#8585190) Homepage
    I guess it is fair to put a stop to such brand dilution. No matter how free a product is, it is still important to maintain its identity based on some standards/rules. Without such control, the brand/goodwill will eventually become less valuable.

    Some might argue if you're doing something for free, why do you want to protect your branding. Well, branding is what consumers look for in making a decision (most of the time), and if a company can maintain a strong branding, it is able to continue pushing its mission/objective using the same brand, and consumers will continue to use products based on that mission/objective.

    If Sun didn't control the use of naming of Java, we might have too many different version of *Java*, and eventually consumers couldn't find one to stick to and the standard might be lost.

    Imagine if people start printing Slashdot logo all over all kind of vibrators...
    • by Compenguin (175952) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:27PM (#8585226)
      But mozilla.org is not a for profit company, if the brand loses some value so what, i don't see apache making distros remove branding, in fact it has gained more publicity that way. Very few Linux users get mozilla from mozilla.org, most used distribution versions, making the distros use other names will only hurt their name recognition in the end.
  • by x00101010x (631764) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:23PM (#8585193) Homepage
    Correct me if i'm wrong, i'm too lazy to do research...
    Isn't all the artwork in the chrome themes? Even the default?
    So why not replace the default theme with a "free" theme?
    Or would that substitution somehow break the license?
    Yeah, it'd mean it couldn't be directly included, but once the theme .jar (or whatever they are) is created, a simple script could update the latest FireFox build to be included in a "free" distro.
    Hell, if it's really that simple, I'll learn how to make themes and make a "free" (beer+libre) theme and a script to replace the default with it prior to distribution.

    Of course, there is the issue of the icon on win32, but that's neither here nor there.
  • by steveha (103154) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:25PM (#8585209) Homepage
    When I first read about the trademark on the Firefox logo, and the plan that if you see that logo you know it's a quality build, I just assumed that mozilla.org had thought it through completely.

    Looks like I was wrong.

    Debian asked about how the logo works, and from the mozilla.org answers, it appears there is no fallback plan yet! They don't have an alternate logo available. Worse, you can't even call a modified version "Firefox" anymore? That's a problem!

    Given the mozilla.org plans for trademarks, I really don't think Debian can build with the official logo and the official name. That's a shame.

    If mozilla.org lets Debian use the name and logo, Debian will build Firefox for about a dozen different architectures (Power PC, 68000, Alpha, etc.) and mozilla.org won't have to do it. mozilla.org would be crazy to keep this from happening.

    I suggest a compromise plan: allow the artwork and the name for any version of Firefox, but add an official "seal" logo to the about: dialog, and add "official build" to the name in several places.

    steveha
    • That was just my same thought. They've chosen a rigid policy that has little room for compromise; you can't even use the name of the browser!

      I also resent the implication of the article that Debian is somehow being stuck up about holding FireFox up to some impossibly high standard of freedom; Mozilla said "you can't use the name or logo on modified builds," Debian is saying "We're doing some minor modifications, but we can we still use the name?"

      Mozilla made new rules, Debian is simply trying to follow t
  • by meganthom (259885) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:31PM (#8585244)
    The Mozilla store features one lousy t-shirt. One!!! Who's going to help me with my Mozilla coffee (www.rjtarpleys.com) addiction? They give proceeds to the Mozilla Foundation, but they aren't included in the Mozilla store, and they operate out of the US.
  • by michaelepley (239861) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:37PM (#8585289) Homepage

    The first patentable business method on slashdot:

    1. Write kick-a$!$# software
    2. Give away core product(s)
    3. Develop strong trademark
    4. Profit!!

    Seriosly, this is a good move for Mozilla; trademarks themselves are valuable, properly nurtured. The Mozilla foundation and the Mozilla's users would certainly like to be able to build value without ever having to sell its core product.

  • by cenonce (597067) <anthony_t@@@mac...com> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:43PM (#8585317)

    The only thing Mozilla has is its brand. If it doesn't protect the brand, it can't control the quality of the product. It doesn't want others claiming to represent Mozilla through the use of its brand, nor does it want consumers to go to others when there are problems with Mozilla. I believe trademarks are the most important aspect of an open source project. A lot of open source projects have great programmers, great quality, but if they don't have a strong brand, they will never get the following needed to keep the project going, let alone make it big (like Mozilla or Ximian). You have to known... and to be known in any business, you need a strong brand and some decent marketing.

    Trademark law may be lumped in with intellectual property, but it less about monopolizing an idea (patents) or controlling access to creative works (copyright) and more about eliminating consumer confusion.

    If somebody wants to take Mozilla code and make their own browser or mail client, they can do that... but they can't call it Mozilla.

    I wonder how many slashdot readers would have a problem with Mozilla enforcing its trademark rights if it was Microsoft who was selling Mozilla merchandise or a Microsoft Mozilla web browser?

  • by UpLateDrinkingCoffee (605179) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:45PM (#8585330)
    The red t-rex Mozilla head or the fox-like shape wrapped around the globe might have geek appeal, but if they are trying to capture the "average desktop user" I think they need to look at their branding strategy. My mother or even "Bob User" is much more likely to warm up to the Linux penguin or the Gnome foot than the angry t-rex head or a depiction of any kind of flaming animal.

    Just one man's opinion, but scary icons and unfortunate names (GIMP comes to mind) probably have a much bigger impact on adoption than people realize.

  • by sgarrity (262297) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:46PM (#8585339) Homepage
    There is a simple option for those that don't get official permission from the Mozilla Foundation to use the trademarked artwork.

    A simple "--enable-official-branding" flag can be used when building to include the official artwork. Otherwise, generic versions of the artwork are included (which are free/open). This is being worked on as we speak and should be in the nightly builds this week.

    Steven Garrity
    Mozilla Visual Identity Team
    • by zenyu (248067) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @10:27PM (#8585595)

      There is a simple option for those that don't get official permission from the Mozilla Foundation to use the trademarked artwork.

      A simple "--enable-official-branding" flag can be used when building to include the official artwork. Otherwise, generic versions of the artwork are included (which are free/open).


      This seems like a good compromise. I hope you also let the distributions use FireFox or in the icon names, such as "FireFox (Mandrake)" or "FireFox (Debian ed.)"

      My main concern is for "Mozilla Coffee" though. This is the best mail order coffee I've tried, I doubt any other dealers can offer that level of quality. I've ordered a few other coffies online from vendors such as Gevalia, Cafe Britt, and my SO got some Gourmet Garage coffee with a donation to the local NPR station. These were all undrinkable, we tossed it all. But I put in a standing order for the Mozilla Coffee from R.J. Tarpleys, it's not quite as good as the same day roasted stuff I get from my local roaster, but it's good and they tell me some of the proceeds go to Mozilla. If you can get a fair licensing deal that keeps the quality as high, I implore you to make a US distributor excemption for them. Roasted coffee doesn't last many days, no one else online seems to be able to deliver it still fresh enough to drink.

      I may be a coffee snob in your estimation, but you will profit more from 25 cents a pound on coffee I can drink than $2 a pound on lesser coffee.
  • by wowbagger (69688) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @09:55PM (#8585399) Homepage Journal
    There are 2 seperate issues here - while they may both stem from trademark they are NOT the same.

    The Debian issue is due to the fact that Mozilla.ort does not want people taking the Mozilla icon data and using it other things - for example, they don't want me writing a Bittorrent program and using the Mozilla icon in it.

    However, that means that part of the Mozilla source tree is NOT freely reusable - not even in a GPL style context. I can take a chunk of Mozilla *code* and put it in my GPL program, but not the Mozilla *artwork*.

    ---------------<hr type="poor mans">-----

    Now, the second, seperate issue is this issue of folks making Mozilla mugs, hats, jackets, license plates, doggie dishes, and what have you, and selling those. THAT IS NOT A CODE ISSUE!

    That is a STRAIGHT trademark issue - if Mozilla.org does not control such issues they will lose the trademark.

    Now, first of all I think it's a pretty damn good sign that people feel it is worth making Mozilla branded whatnots - it is a sign we are winning, REJOICE!

    However, it IS pretty scummy to cash in on the Mozilla name and not give back. Sure, I'd buy a Mozilla patch for my jacket, but I'd want to know that at least SOME of the money was going back to Mozilla.org!

    So chill out, folks. Take a breath, read the letter, engage brain.
  • Mozilla Store (Score:3, Interesting)

    by awful (227543) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @10:11PM (#8585494) Homepage
    yeah, well maybe if Mozilla added a few more items to meet demand they wouldn't have this issue. In the store.mozilla.org they ONE WHITE T-SHIRT with a mozilla logo on it.
  • Alternative Icons (Score:3, Informative)

    by LPetrazickis (557952) <leo@petr+slashdot.gmail@com> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @10:29PM (#8585609) Homepage Journal
    Here are some alternative icons for Debian Freefox:
    -Firefox Icon v3 [deviantart.com] by Jyrik (remade from scratch)
    -Mozilla Firefox Final [deviantart.com] by auto-logic
    -Firefox Experiment N3 [deviantart.com] by weboso
    -Tails as Firefox [deviantart.com] by polimero

    I am sure all of these people would be happy to open source their designs.:P
  • Probably dumb luck, but it's interesting that this happens less than 48 hours after I put this page [paulcouture.com] and sent it to the licensing and marketing folks at Mozilla - mainly because as they mention in the letter they don't offer much in their store. God forbid the community try to continue this grass roots movement that is OSS an get the word out that there is something on the planet besides IE to use.

    I sent a request to their licensing folks to see if I can continue to offer the free graphics I spent a few hours on (reworking the FF logo as a vector, etc.) for download, but I'm not feeling too good about the reply I'll get. I guess that no one in this industry can work on something for the love of working on it, everything has to boil down to a f*ck!ng paycheck. I guess it's true that everyone has a price, and everyone that has a product used by more than 3 people HAS to have a team of lawyers to make being a fan/supporter hell... pretty damn disappointing.

    • Give them a cut, give them the credit they're due, and everybody wins. Their move is based more around the harsh realities of our present-day overlitigious society, not around an interest in snuffing out everyone who's a fan of their product.

      • Cut of what, I'm offering the graphics on that page for download for free, I don't make a red cent off of it, hell - it costs me money if it becomes a popular graphic because I have to pay for the hosting costs. It was my way of giving back to the developers with no intention of raking in any cash, but rather providing something useful in getting brand awareness out there.

        I'm not able to contribute to the code, that's above my skill level, I built these graphics so I could make some tee-shirts for myself a

  • by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nokrog]> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @10:47PM (#8585744)
    It's idotic reasons like this that c an cause a Open Source implosion. What are we, the users, supposed to think? I think Mozilla seems to forget that to get users, they need to get the browser in front of eyes. Linux distros using Mozilla Firefox as the default browser can expose lots of users to the browser. Same goes for people making t-shirts. People can ask...what is that symbol for and the wearer can say te best damn drowser in the world! That is FREE publicity. Also, last I checked, Mozilla was considered open source. Anyone can download it. It's not like the Mozilla project is there to MAKE money unlike Microsoft and IE.
    • by bonkedproducer (715249) <paul@paulcoutu[ ]com ['re.' in gap]> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @11:38PM (#8586041) Homepage Journal
      HERE HERE!! You know something I forgot to mention in my earlier posts, since I have wore my "Unofficial, illegal, paid for out of my own pocket with no profit potential, done out of love for the product and the OS movement" Firefox t-shirts I've had more than a dozen conversations with complete strangers about Firefox. They went similar to the conversation you mentioned above. If we had to wait for programmers to become clothing vendors, none of those conversations would have happened, and that was only two times ONE person went out in public with FF's logo on their chest. This is a devisive move on Moz's part and a bad move in general considering the fact that their most ardent supporters are going to be turned off by this sort of action.
  • Stupid (Score:3, Interesting)

    by C_Kode (102755) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @11:31PM (#8586003) Journal
    I think Mozilla should protect who it is. If debian needs to change the source, then it's not longer Mozilla, and shouldn't use Mozilla's logo without it. Now, I believe they could apply for recognition as Mozilla, but if I wrote an application and some distribution wanted to change it and still call it as if I had wrote it without my approval I would tell them to screw off too. While I'm a big debian fan and a supporter, Eric Dorland (and whatever other Debian maintainers) need to get a grip. I'm sure the Mozilla maintainers are willing to work with Debian. There is no need for Debian to be a jackass about this. Geez.
  • WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <(dadinportland) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @11:48PM (#8586087) Homepage Journal
    "The letter suggests that the Foundation are willing to work with those selling Mozilla wares, as long as they get a cut and the retailer isn't operating in the US, Canada or Mexico, where they would be competing with the Foundation's own Mozilla Store"

    They will happily take a contibution fof source code, without paying, but you can't sell or distribute the product?

    We used to laugh when people said companies would abuse OS developers. we would say, anybody can distribute it, it can't be controlled.

    Well, thanks for shitting on us Mozilla.

    hmm, since its a trade mark issue, maybe I'll just compile my oen sans any reference to 'Mozilla' or any of there oh so valuable trademarked Godzilla rip off image.

  • How Long Until (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @12:35AM (#8586301) Homepage
    How long they send a letter to The Toronto Raptors [go.com] for selling products with their logo.

    Or are the Toronto Raptors supposed to send the letter, since they existed first.
  • by Jamie Zawinski (775) <jwz@jwz.org> on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @12:44AM (#8586340) Homepage
    Damn The Man. Damn The Man.
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @12:57AM (#8586394) Homepage
    If open source programmers had artist girlfriends with any real talent, this wouldn't be a problem.
  • by ca1v1n (135902) <snook@NOSPAM.guanotronic.com> on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:28AM (#8586754)
    Am I the only person who has noticed that the practice of everyone and their dog rolling their own open source license for their project is extremely detrimental to the movement? We have the GPL, LGPL, BSD, MIT, X, and Apache licenses to name a few, and even these go through revisions. Then there are the people who make "GPL-compatible" (or so they assert) licenses, and things like that, further muddying the waters with regard to which code you can reuse where. It actually makes the headache of dual-licensing start to sound attractive.

    Maybe, just maybe, a bunch of people with a lot more influence than I have could put aside their differences and egos and accept that there are a variety of rational views, and we should have a small set of standard licenses that is varied and general enough that just about everyone should be able to pick one and be almost completely satisfied.

    Creative Commons got it right. Look at their list of licenses. It's not very long. I was actually considering publishing something under a creative commons license recently, and couldn't find any license that perfectly described what I wanted, but I found one that was close enough for practical purposes. I recall reading that Linus Torvalds used the GPL for Linux in deference to the GCC project, rather than an absolute devotion to the FSF's ideals. If accepting a "pretty good" license works for him, it ought to work for most of the rest of us.

    Choice and uniformity both have value, but striking a balance between them requires either some organization or evolutionary dumb luck, which I don't think we should wait for. So, how about it, people?
  • by ishmalius (153450) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @04:34AM (#8587122)
    Really, all of this ruminating about what should be done with this Open Source project's resources is moot. The project and its assets belong to Mozilla.org and its contributors.

    The license allows others to use it. The Mozilla guys are not pulling stuff out of Open Source. They are taking material which is originally their own, and putting it into Open Source.

    People seem to forget this.

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