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Re: Juridical problems
> Roger Dingledine wrote:
> > In message <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com writes:
> > >
> > >When hacking the install I stumbled upon the string
> > >"Copyright by Red Hat Software".
> > >
> > >I am not sure we can replace it simply by "Project Independence"
> > >because
> You can't/oughtn't/shouldn't. :-)
The installation program is RedHat's but the putting together of the
ditrib is ours. RedHat has insisted with Gael Duval (author of
Mandrake) for the removal of the RedHat name from everywxhere where it
appears. In fact we will be forced to add some "legality" RPMs: for
instance to have it display Independence at login prompt.
I have taken a look to Pacific High Tech this week and the
installation is a slightly modified RedHat (boots in 50 line mode).
And guess what you see in the boot prompt? "Copyright Pacific High
Tech". The reason is because it refers to the whole distrib not to
the install program.
I hope in the following weeks to add improvements to the install
> > >
> > >a) the name Project Independence is already taken. Of course
> > Exactly which 'Project Independence' variants are taken, and in
> > which countries? I see 'Project Independence, Ltd' in infoseek.
> > Perhaps somebody with more legal experience can say if you can
> > simply make a different variant on it and call it your own.
There is a "Project Independence" US political organization.
> Most countries use a likelihood of confusion test for trademark protection. I would
> suspect something as descriptive as "Project Independence" would not be entitled to strong
> protection, but research needs to be done. As a general rule, the more different people
> use the same name, the easier it is to copy. But the essential question is this: would a
> consumer be confused that someone else produced your product? You can always reduce this
> risk by including "subtitles" to make clear to a reasonable consumer that you are not
> affiliated w/ any other company named "Project Independence". Of course, to have a
> trademark you will need a legal entity . . . .
THis is not a commercial project.
> > >b) We have no juridical entity. A solution would be to copyright
> > >using the names of the participants but putting my name in front of
> > >the first thing the user will see -the installation panel- seems a bit
> Maybe I'm missing something, but what is there to copyright? From what I gather from
> being on the mailing list, you are simply repackaging other people's work. That does not
That is what basically distributors do: repackage others people work.
I was on the verge to flame to death a guy who talked about the
stability of his distribution (name withheld) because stability is due
to the kernel people work.
> entitle you to a copyright, not even a derivative copyright. RedHat copyrights things
> like glint, which it wrote.
I never told I would copyright individual software.
> > agreed, that doesn't sound like a very community-friendly approach.
> > >violent. Perhaps better would be to have a "Contributors" and put
> > >Copyrights only in the sources like it is done in Linux kernel.
> > >
> > >Any ideas?
> > On another note, are you allowed to simply replace somebody else's
> > copyright with your own when you start distributing their material
> > (even modified)? That seems fishy. :)
> Absolutely not. The GPL (and probably any other license applicable to software in the
> distribution) gives you a LICENSE to use, copy and redistribute, it does not give you the
> right to claim authorship (a copyright is a claim to authorship). Please do _not_ try to
The GPL also tells about if you modify a program and distribute it you
must make clear you did it so bugs you introduced are not attributed
to original authors.
> claim a copyright in something that is not your original work, it is not only probably
> unlawful in every jurisdiction in the world (even China and Russia!), it is IMHO totally
Don't presume about laws in China and Russia.
> unfair to the actual authors (I'm not trying to be rude here, I just need to make this
> point clearly and unequivocally). If you made substantial changes to a GPL program, then
> there might be the question of whether or not you are entitled to a copyright on a
> "derivative work", but I would be amazed if just redistributing what RedHat, KDE et al.
> distribute qualifies in any jurisdiction.
The fact is original KDE had a difficult install, ours is plug and
play. While not claiming ownership about individual software
people of distributions claim copyright about thsir work.
Ah! This distribution is GPL and that means any person participating
in it can deny to the main author (me) the right to change license
while keeping the work he did. RMS had a great idea when he took
provisions for forbiding the "smart guy" syndrom: original author who
wants to "privatize" his free software after unpaid contributors allowed
the program reaching commercial grade.
> If you want some sort of intellectual property protection for the PI distribution, your
> best bet is to use a trademark or service mark, whose purpose is to signal to people the
> _source_ of a product or service, which is what I gather you are really trying to do. To
> do this you will likely want to form a legal entity (this opens a bird's nest of issues,
> such as control, ownership, liabilities) or to pick a representative to hold the
In times of Shakespeare, Cervantes or Moliere there were no
intellectual property laws so authors concentrated in writing great
litterature instead of looking for a subject who wasn't vaguely close
to a book of someone else. Perhaps a coincidence but since
intellectual property has been enforced there are only dwarfs in
I don't get give a dime about intellectual property but
a) RedHat don't want people think this is a RedHat distrib
b) I don't want any smart guy including my work in a non-GPLed
c) because I am not in this to make money there is also a limit
in what I can spend so no trademarks (remember I don't trade)
unless we get a sponsor
Jean Francois Martinez
Project Independence: Linux for the Masses