[Consortium] Re: Linux trademark fees for non-profit organisations

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To: Jon maddog Hall <maddog@...>
Cc: <consortium@...>
Date: Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 6:50 pm

Hi Jon,

Thanks for the rapid reply!

> But please understand that I

I thought that might be the reason for the initiative, and I welcome
the support of OSDL for the protection of the Linux trademark.
However, I think the way that this is being handled, with the threat
of legal action against legitmate non-profit Linux groups who don't
pay up, is wrong.

From http://www.linuxmark.org/other_people_usage.html :

"If you know of entities or persons using the Linux mark without a
license and without the required legend, please notify us with the
details. We will then contact that entity or person and attempt to
negotiate a license agreement with them, or will take such other
further legal action as might be necessary."

If LMI had styled the fundraising initiative as a 'Linux trademark
defence fund' then I believe it would be received more positively -
and I don't think it's too late to do that.

> OSDL and its corporate sponsors are not "taxing" the use of the

That's how it might appear from the outside. LMI says is registered in
Beaverton and its site is hosted on an OSDL server, so it appears to
be a de facto part of OSDL.

> We are looking to expand

That would be a good idea. Have you asked Bruce Perens? It was his
concern about the Debian-compatibility of the LMI sublicence that
brought this matter to our attention.

> I think there has to be some payment, as it costs money to

Sure, but US $200 every year might be a lot for a group with no
income, particularly in the third world. But if a business wants to
incorporate the word Linux into its name, then you've got a clear
case.

> If there was no charge whatsoever, then tens of

Given the cost of the trademark application itself, I don't think
that's very likely. An extra $200 wouldn't be much of a deterrent.

I believe the best way to enforce the trademark is to get a community
consensus behind the effort, and LMI won't be able to do that if it
alienates most of the user groups and developer organisations with a
blunt approach to the collection of licensing fees.

As far as linuxaudio.org is concerned, we could help that effort by
putting 'LINUX® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds' on our
site. I believe our use of the name is covered by the fair use
provisions outlined on the page:

http://www.linuxmark.org/who_needs.html

However, the actual licence text, by setting an annual fee for
non-profits, seems to contradict it's own fair use provisions.

Cheers!

Daniel

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