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Old 08-04-2011, 05:53 AM
Toshio Kuratomi
 
Default Questions for legal about updating trademark guidelines

At today's Board Meeting there was discussion of Fedora's trademark policy
and how it applies to various products that are produced by Fedora
Contributors and third parties. Some of the perceptions from the meeting
(note, this is *not* a complete list of perceptions. It may be one-sided.
If other attendees of the meeting wish to add to this, they sho9uld speak
up. If non-attendees to the meeting wish to add to this they should also
speak up.):

* The trademark policy allows third parties to create Fedora Images that
consist solely of software in Fedora for use in cloud hosted providers
without explicitly asking for permission to use the trademark.
* This is a good thing as pushing for explicit licensing would simply poison
our own well. ie: we want people to be able to install Fedora on their
cloud hosts. If we make the cloud providers go through the same rigorous
approval process that we demand of "official" Fedora images, we'd quickly
lose support.
* The process for Fedora Contributors to be approved to use the trademark
for their spins is quite a bit more onerous than this. It's a quite hefty
review by several different groups within Fedora whose criteria for
judging are not written down.
* Various people have ideas of how we can change the trademark guidelines
but We don't know what is needed in order to "defend the trademark" from
a legal standpoint so we can't actually approve any of those changes.

So we're soliciting input here for questions that we need to pose to Legal
in order to compose a new policy and input on what changes we'd like to make
to the policy we have.

One proposal from the meeting that we'll need to find out if Legal would
approve is:

"if the image consists solely of software from Fedora it can use the Fedora
marks without explicit review and approval from the Board" and the Board
would forgo explicit review of images in those cases. (images == spins/AMI
images/etc)

Ideas from this thread will be discussede by the Board at their next meeting
and then forwarded to Legal.

Board members are highly encouraged to put forth any of their ideas in this
thread so that the public has the opportunity to see the discussion and
comment but, as is the case whenever the Board has a phone meeting, ideas
may be presented at the meeting that have not previously been discussed on
this list and those may go on to the next stage of review by legal without
prior comment by the public.

Thank you,
-Toshio
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:17 PM
inode0
 
Default Questions for legal about updating trademark guidelines

On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 12:53 AM, Toshio Kuratomi <a.badger@gmail.com> wrote:
> At today's Board Meeting there was discussion of Fedora's trademark policy
> and how it applies to various products that are produced by Fedora
> Contributors and third parties. *Some of the perceptions from the meeting
> (note, this is *not* a complete list of perceptions. *It may be one-sided.
> If other attendees of the meeting wish to add to this, they sho9uld speak
> up. *If non-attendees to the meeting wish to add to this they should also
> speak up.):
>
> * The trademark policy allows third parties to create Fedora Images that
> *consist solely of software in Fedora for use in cloud hosted providers
> *without explicitly asking for permission to use the trademark.

My layman's reading of the guidelines and the confusion expressed over
the meaning of the guidelines in another recent thread makes me wonder
if this is true or whether there has just not been any enforcement of
the actual guidelines in these cases.

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal:Trademark_guidelines#Virtual_images_or_appli ances_with_unmodified_Fedora_software

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal:Trademark_guidelines#Virtual_images_or_appli ances_with_combinations_of_Fedora_software_with_no n-Fedora_or_modified_Fedora_software

I guess which interpretation is correct hinges on the definition of
unmodified Fedora software. Question #1 to legal should be whether the
currect practice of such providers is actually in compliance with the
existing guidelines or not.

> * This is a good thing as pushing for explicit licensing would simply poison
> *our own well. *ie: we want people to be able to install Fedora on their
> *cloud hosts. *If we make the cloud providers go through the same rigorous
> *approval process that we demand of "official" Fedora images, we'd quickly
> *lose support.

Agreed.

> * The process for Fedora Contributors to be approved to use the trademark
> *for their spins is quite a bit more onerous than this. *It's a quite hefty
> *review by several different groups within Fedora whose criteria for
> *judging are not written down.
> * Various people have ideas of how we can change the trademark guidelines
> *but We don't know what is needed in order to "defend the trademark" from
> *a legal standpoint so we can't actually approve any of those changes.

I think there is a secondary issue here that needs to be given
consideration too. Aside from any trademark implications of a change
there will also be brand considerations. Any loosening of the
requirements, especially any broad loosening of them, will result in
the Fedora brand being diluted. I don't really have a firm opinion on
whether we should allow dilution or how much might be allowed without
overly harming the brand but I do know in the past a lot of effort has
been expended to create the brand so some careful thought about the
implications here should be made if for no other reason than to show
respect to those who have worked so hard to create the brand in the
past.

> So we're soliciting input here for questions that we need to pose to Legal
> in order to compose a new policy and input on what changes we'd like to make
> to the policy we have.
>
> One proposal from the meeting that we'll need to find out if Legal would
> approve is:
>
> "if the image consists solely of software from Fedora it can use the Fedora
> marks without explicit review and approval from the Board" and the Board
> would forgo explicit review of images in those cases. *(images == spins/AMI
> images/etc)

So we aren't just talking about virtual images or appliances here, right?

Bob in his basement can concoct some strange brew of bits from the
Fedora repositories and distribute it as "Fedora" in this world?

Or is this only with respect to "cloud providers" or some subset of
the universe of people/businesses brewing up Fedora based content?

I'm very sympathetic to part of the motivation here to reduce
roadblocks and frustration to some within the Fedora community who
have been and are still being negatively impacted by "process." I
don't know if legal needs to even be involved in what I'm about to
suggest or whether the Board could just do it but two situations it
seems to me could be settled by the Board granting trademark use to
two existing groups who I think have demonstrated both competence in
their work and in having a healthy respect for the Fedora Project and
brand.

So, can the Board just grant permission to use the trademarks to the
Cloud SIG community so it can go about the business of creating Fedora
images that are recognized as "official" images without following the
currently impossible to follow processes in place? Whether or not
providers of such images outside the Fedora Project are in compliance
with the guidelines or not this would at the very least put the Cloud
SIG on an equal playing field with them and would remove hurdles that
are currently impossible to cross.

Can the Board also grant permission to use trademarks explicitly to
the Fedora Unity Re-spin community to clear up any potential issues
that might exist with respect to the re-spins they produce? They are
long-time members of the Fedora community and have now a long track
record of quality work which also shows respect for the Fedora brand.

John
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:45 PM
Peter Robinson
 
Default Questions for legal about updating trademark guidelines

Hi All,

On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 6:53 AM, Toshio Kuratomi <a.badger@gmail.com> wrote:

At today's Board Meeting there was discussion of Fedora's trademark policy

and how it applies to various products that are produced by Fedora

Contributors and third parties. *Some of the perceptions from the meeting

(note, this is *not* a complete list of perceptions. *It may be one-sided.

If other attendees of the meeting wish to add to this, they sho9uld speak

up. *If non-attendees to the meeting wish to add to this they should also

speak up.):



* The trademark policy allows third parties to create Fedora Images that

*consist solely of software in Fedora for use in cloud hosted providers

*without explicitly asking for permission to use the trademark.

* This is a good thing as pushing for explicit licensing would simply poison

*our own well. *ie: we want people to be able to install Fedora on their

*cloud hosts. *If we make the cloud providers go through the same rigorous

*approval process that we demand of "official" Fedora images, we'd quickly

*lose support.

* The process for Fedora Contributors to be approved to use the trademark

*for their spins is quite a bit more onerous than this. *It's a quite hefty

*review by several different groups within Fedora whose criteria for

*judging are not written down.

* Various people have ideas of how we can change the trademark guidelines

*but We don't know what is needed in order to "defend the trademark" from

*a legal standpoint so we can't actually approve any of those changes.



So we're soliciting input here for questions that we need to pose to Legal

in order to compose a new policy and input on what changes we'd like to make

to the policy we have.



One proposal from the meeting that we'll need to find out if Legal would

approve is:



"if the image consists solely of software from Fedora it can use the Fedora

marks without explicit review and approval from the Board" and the Board

would forgo explicit review of images in those cases. *(images == spins/AMI

images/etc)



Ideas from this thread will be discussede by the Board at their next meeting

and then forwarded to Legal.



Board members are highly encouraged to put forth any of their ideas in this

thread so that the public has the opportunity to see the discussion and

comment but, as is the case whenever the Board has a phone meeting, ideas

may be presented at the meeting that have not previously been discussed on

this list and those may go on to the next stage of review by legal without

prior comment by the public.



I've thought about this a bit since the meeting and I was wondering whether a process similar to third parties wanting to use the Fedora name in their URL might be appropriate. Its obviously not exact the same but its a similar style of issue. Hosting organisations like amazon (I work for a hosting provider that does cloud stuff and we deal with this) have to do licensing processes for various other OSes so I wouldn't have thought it would be a major problem or change of process for them. Max might be able to comment on that though. We could put some simple guidelines in place that wouldn't have to be repeated for each release so they basically agree not to modify etc and it would protect and enforce the trademark. spot might be able to comment on the process and whether something similar might be an appropriate compromise between the spins process and nothing at all.


Peter

Peter

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Old 08-08-2011, 07:07 AM
sankarshan
 
Default Questions for legal about updating trademark guidelines

On Wed, 03 Aug 2011 22:53:14 -0700, Toshio Kuratomi wrote:

> * The trademark policy allows third parties to create Fedora Images that
> consist solely of software in Fedora for use in cloud hosted providers
> without explicitly asking for permission to use the trademark.

Is there a need to define the phrase "cloud hosted providers" ?

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Old 08-09-2011, 03:24 PM
Toshio Kuratomi
 
Default Questions for legal about updating trademark guidelines

Sorry for not replying sooner, to confirm/discuss.

I'll write what I'm planning on bringing to the Board as a summary at the
end.

On Thu, Aug 04, 2011 at 09:17:55AM -0500, inode0 wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 12:53 AM, Toshio Kuratomi <a.badger@gmail.com> wrote:
> > At today's Board Meeting there was discussion of Fedora's trademark policy
> > and how it applies to various products that are produced by Fedora
> > Contributors and third parties. *Some of the perceptions from the meeting
> > (note, this is *not* a complete list of perceptions. *It may be one-sided.
> > If other attendees of the meeting wish to add to this, they sho9uld speak
> > up. *If non-attendees to the meeting wish to add to this they should also
> > speak up.):
> >
> > * The trademark policy allows third parties to create Fedora Images that
> > *consist solely of software in Fedora for use in cloud hosted providers
> > *without explicitly asking for permission to use the trademark.
>
> My layman's reading of the guidelines and the confusion expressed over
> the meaning of the guidelines in another recent thread makes me wonder
> if this is true or whether there has just not been any enforcement of
> the actual guidelines in these cases.
>
> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal:Trademark_guidelines#Virtual_images_or_appli ances_with_unmodified_Fedora_software
>
> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal:Trademark_guidelines#Virtual_images_or_appli ances_with_combinations_of_Fedora_software_with_no n-Fedora_or_modified_Fedora_software
>
> I guess which interpretation is correct hinges on the definition of
> unmodified Fedora software. Question #1 to legal should be whether the
> currect practice of such providers is actually in compliance with the
> existing guidelines or not.
>
<nod> I agree here. I should have stated this clearer as "many people take
this to mean that..."

I'm going to bring this to the Board as:

Ask legal whether, under the current guidelines

are cloud providers allowed to host Fedora images without going through
explicit trademark approval by the board?
The assumption is that the images only contain Fedora software but may have
had *configuration* modified in expected ways to work with the hardware or
environment that the providers have.


> > * This is a good thing as pushing for explicit licensing would simply poison
> > *our own well. *ie: we want people to be able to install Fedora on their
> > *cloud hosts. *If we make the cloud providers go through the same rigorous
> > *approval process that we demand of "official" Fedora images, we'd quickly
> > *lose support.
>
> Agreed.
>
> > * The process for Fedora Contributors to be approved to use the trademark
> > *for their spins is quite a bit more onerous than this. *It's a quite hefty
> > *review by several different groups within Fedora whose criteria for
> > *judging are not written down.
> > * Various people have ideas of how we can change the trademark guidelines
> > *but We don't know what is needed in order to "defend the trademark" from
> > *a legal standpoint so we can't actually approve any of those changes.
>
> I think there is a secondary issue here that needs to be given
> consideration too. Aside from any trademark implications of a change
> there will also be brand considerations. Any loosening of the
> requirements, especially any broad loosening of them, will result in
> the Fedora brand being diluted. I don't really have a firm opinion on
> whether we should allow dilution or how much might be allowed without
> overly harming the brand but I do know in the past a lot of effort has
> been expended to create the brand so some careful thought about the
> implications here should be made if for no other reason than to show
> respect to those who have worked so hard to create the brand in the
> past.
>
<nod> I think this is the central issue that the Board needs to consider
(rather than Legal). For me, personally, I want the fedora brand to
represent a community that is easy to contribute to in order to satisfy
one's needs. I think that we're currently far in a different direction,
applying the brand to the high quality of specific products that we release.

There are other methods to solve this; for instance, splitting the brand by
renaming the project (or products). Some people have privately proposed to
me using the secondary marks for *all* products of Fedora which would have
this effect, for instance.

> > So we're soliciting input here for questions that we need to pose to Legal
> > in order to compose a new policy and input on what changes we'd like to make
> > to the policy we have.
> >
> > One proposal from the meeting that we'll need to find out if Legal would
> > approve is:
> >
> > "if the image consists solely of software from Fedora it can use the Fedora
> > marks without explicit review and approval from the Board" and the Board
> > would forgo explicit review of images in those cases. *(images == spins/AMI
> > images/etc)
>
> So we aren't just talking about virtual images or appliances here, right?
>
Correct.

> Bob in his basement can concoct some strange brew of bits from the
> Fedora repositories and distribute it as "Fedora" in this world?
>
If legal passes it and the Board approved it in exactly that sense. If
I were just trying to right the imbalance that I see in what third parties
are allowed to do vs we allow members of the project to do, I'd base this on
Fedora Contributors being allowed to do this. A definition of Fedora
Contributor was hard to come up within the course of the last meeting,
however :-).

> Or is this only with respect to "cloud providers" or some subset of
> the universe of people/businesses brewing up Fedora based content?
>
I'd very much like to avoid a subset that includes third-parties and
excludes Fedora Contributors. A subset that included Fedora Contributors
would probably be okay to me, though.

> I'm very sympathetic to part of the motivation here to reduce
> roadblocks and frustration to some within the Fedora community who
> have been and are still being negatively impacted by "process." I
> don't know if legal needs to even be involved in what I'm about to
> suggest or whether the Board could just do it but two situations it
> seems to me could be settled by the Board granting trademark use to
> two existing groups who I think have demonstrated both competence in
> their work and in having a healthy respect for the Fedora Project and
> brand.
>
> So, can the Board just grant permission to use the trademarks to the
> Cloud SIG community so it can go about the business of creating Fedora
> images that are recognized as "official" images without following the
> currently impossible to follow processes in place? Whether or not
> providers of such images outside the Fedora Project are in compliance
> with the guidelines or not this would at the very least put the Cloud
> SIG on an equal playing field with them and would remove hurdles that
> are currently impossible to cross.
>
> Can the Board also grant permission to use trademarks explicitly to
> the Fedora Unity Re-spin community to clear up any potential issues
> that might exist with respect to the re-spins they produce? They are
> long-time members of the Fedora community and have now a long track
> record of quality work which also shows respect for the Fedora brand.
>
Going to bring this up as:

Can the Board grant ongoing usage of the trademark to subgroups of Fedora
contributors and not explicitly review their work on an ongoing basis?
(For instance, images produced by the Cloud SIG, the Fedora Unity Re-spin
community, and rel-eng)

-Toshio
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:49 PM
Toshio Kuratomi
 
Default Questions for legal about updating trademark guidelines

On Fri, Aug 05, 2011 at 08:45:48PM +0100, Peter Robinson wrote:
> I've thought about this a bit since the meeting and I was wondering whether a
> process similar to third parties wanting to use the Fedora name in their URL
> might be appropriate. Its obviously not exact the same but its a similar style
> of issue. Hosting organisations like amazon (I work for a hosting provider that
> does cloud stuff and we deal with this) have to do licensing processes for
> various other OSes so I wouldn't have thought it would be a major problem or
> change of process for them. Max might be able to comment on that though. We
> could put some simple guidelines in place that wouldn't have to be repeated for
> each release so they basically agree not to modify etc and it would protect and
> enforce the trademark. spot might be able to comment on the process and whether
> something similar might be an appropriate compromise between the spins process
> and nothing at all.
>
So I see these two things which may be what you're talking about:
http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Local_community_domains#Pre-purchased_domain
http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal:Trademark_guidelines#Noncommercial_and_commu nity_web_sites

The first link seems to boil down to the Board will use a rapid process to
verify that the trademark guidelines are being followed and then ask "Can
the community set up this domain?" In most cases, it's expected the Board
will answer "Yes".

The second link could be applied to third parties producing images although
it would need heavy adaptation.

-Toshio
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:50 PM
Toshio Kuratomi
 
Default Questions for legal about updating trademark guidelines

On Mon, Aug 08, 2011 at 07:07:34AM +0000, sankarshan wrote:
> On Wed, 03 Aug 2011 22:53:14 -0700, Toshio Kuratomi wrote:
>
> > * The trademark policy allows third parties to create Fedora Images that
> > consist solely of software in Fedora for use in cloud hosted providers
> > without explicitly asking for permission to use the trademark.
>
> Is there a need to define the phrase "cloud hosted providers" ?
>
If we approve some sort of policy that singles them out, we would. I'm
trying to move people away from dividing things up that way, though.

-Toshio
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:04 PM
Peter Robinson
 
Default Questions for legal about updating trademark guidelines

On Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 4:49 PM, Toshio Kuratomi <a.badger@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 05, 2011 at 08:45:48PM +0100, Peter Robinson wrote:
>> I've thought about this a bit since the meeting and I was wondering whether a
>> process similar to third parties wanting to use the Fedora name in their URL
>> might be appropriate. Its obviously not exact the same but its a similar style
>> of issue. Hosting organisations like amazon (I work for a hosting provider that
>> does cloud stuff and we deal with this) have to do licensing processes for
>> various other OSes so I wouldn't have thought it would be a major problem or
>> change of process for them. Max might be able to comment on that though. We
>> could put some simple guidelines in place that wouldn't have to be repeated for
>> each release so they basically agree not to modify etc and it would protect and
>> enforce the trademark. spot might be able to comment on the process and whether
>> something similar might be an appropriate compromise between the spins process
>> and nothing at all.
>>
> So I see these two things which may be what you're talking about:
> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Local_community_domains#Pre-purchased_domain
> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal:Trademark_guidelines#Noncommercial_and_commu nity_web_sites
>
> The first link seems to boil down to the Board will use a rapid process to
> verify that the trademark guidelines are being followed and then ask "Can
> the community set up this domain?" *In most cases, it's expected the Board
> will answer "Yes".
>
> The second link could be applied to third parties producing images although
> it would need heavy adaptation.

I never meant that they were suppose to be used straight up but rather
the principle/idea/procedures that is used for domains might apply
equally well as a procedure for approving 3rd party use of core
packages with modified images/config files etc. to ensure they meet
and understand the requirements of using Fedora and its associated
trademarks.

Might be interesting to see if Debian and other distros have policies
regarding this.

Peter
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:05 PM
David Nalley
 
Default Questions for legal about updating trademark guidelines

On Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 11:50 AM, Toshio Kuratomi <a.badger@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 08, 2011 at 07:07:34AM +0000, sankarshan wrote:
>> On Wed, 03 Aug 2011 22:53:14 -0700, Toshio Kuratomi wrote:
>>
>> > * The trademark policy allows third parties to create Fedora Images that
>> > * consist solely of software in Fedora for use in cloud hosted providers
>> > * without explicitly asking for permission to use the trademark.
>>
>> Is there a need to define the phrase "cloud hosted providers" ?
>>
> If we approve some sort of policy that singles them out, we would. *I'm
> trying to move people away from dividing things up that way, though.
>

+1 - whatever we devise shouldn't make a difference between cloud
providers and lemonade stand proprietors.
As the TM guidelines stand there is only Red Hat, and everyone else,
and I see no reason to necessarily change that.
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:58 PM
Toshio Kuratomi
 
Default Questions for legal about updating trademark guidelines

On Tue, Aug 09, 2011 at 05:04:09PM +0100, Peter Robinson wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 4:49 PM, Toshio Kuratomi <a.badger@gmail.com> wrote:
> > On Fri, Aug 05, 2011 at 08:45:48PM +0100, Peter Robinson wrote:
> >> I've thought about this a bit since the meeting and I was wondering whether a
> >> process similar to third parties wanting to use the Fedora name in their URL
> >> might be appropriate. Its obviously not exact the same but its a similar style
> >> of issue. Hosting organisations like amazon (I work for a hosting provider that
> >> does cloud stuff and we deal with this) have to do licensing processes for
> >> various other OSes so I wouldn't have thought it would be a major problem or
> >> change of process for them. Max might be able to comment on that though. We
> >> could put some simple guidelines in place that wouldn't have to be repeated for
> >> each release so they basically agree not to modify etc and it would protect and
> >> enforce the trademark. spot might be able to comment on the process and whether
> >> something similar might be an appropriate compromise between the spins process
> >> and nothing at all.
> >>
> > So I see these two things which may be what you're talking about:
> > http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Local_community_domains#Pre-purchased_domain
> > http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal:Trademark_guidelines#Noncommercial_and_commu nity_web_sites
> >
> > The first link seems to boil down to the Board will use a rapid process to
> > verify that the trademark guidelines are being followed and then ask "Can
> > the community set up this domain?" *In most cases, it's expected the Board
> > will answer "Yes".
> >
> > The second link could be applied to third parties producing images although
> > it would need heavy adaptation.
>
> I never meant that they were suppose to be used straight up but rather
> the principle/idea/procedures that is used for domains might apply
> equally well as a procedure for approving 3rd party use of core
> packages with modified images/config files etc. to ensure they meet
> and understand the requirements of using Fedora and its associated
> trademarks.
>
Sure. But what is the principle/idea/procedures that we're shooting for
here? Be rapid in approval? I can agree with that (although our community
domain approvals haven't always been speedy :-(. Have a written set of
standards? We've so far failed in that, but it would be a good goal. Have
the list of criteria be short? I could agree with that... what is the
principle that you're trying to encompass here?


> Might be interesting to see if Debian and other distros have policies
> regarding this.
>
To my non-legal eyes, both Debian and the Linux trademark are much looser
than what we have:

http://www.debian.org/logos/
http://www.linuxfoundation.org/programs/legal/trademark/sublicense-agreement

The Linux trademark licensing is operating on somewhat different goals than
we are, though.

-Toshio
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