Possible Red Hat GPL Violation
andre at ba-z.co.jp
Mon Mar 28 03:13:39 CEST 2005
Matthew Seth Flaschen wrote:
>>I don't know if fair use has anything to do with "Trademark". I don't
>>know what you mean by violates fair use. If you had a "fair use right",
>>you still have it!
> Fair use does apply to trademarks, first of all. My point is, they're saying, effectively, "If you want to distribute 'our' software you can't take advantage of your rights under the fair use doctrine. If you do take advantage of them, you can't distribute." That's the additional condition that violates GPL.
Nobody can tell you you cannot take advantage of fair use!! They do not
say that. That would be agains free-speach, to start.
>>>Anyway, I think you are allowed to do anything the GPL grants you, but
>>>you cannot claim any relationship to the trademark.
> But that's not allowed. Under fair use, you can refer to the trademark reasonably, by saying something like contains Red Hat or contains Oreos, in my understanding. Red Hat is trying to prevent people who do so from distributing at all, which violates GPL
Nobody is taking fair use away from you. The language they use may
suggest such a thing, but I guess that's just the way "lawyers" like to do.
>>>"D. You must modify the files identified as REDHAT-LOGOS and ANACONDA-IMAGES
>>so as to remove all use of images containing the "Red Hat" trademark or Red
>>Hat's Shadow Man logo. Note that mere deletion of these files may corrupt the
>>This is clearly an attempt to "lock in" the rights granted by the GPL.
> What do you mean "lock in"?
I mean that they grant you the rights with one hand, but lock those
rights with the other hand. "Lock in" was not a good term, sorry! Maybe
"hijack" would be more apropriate.
> If they have to give you a patch to fix it, the images are an integral part of the software. Therefore, they're GPLed.
I didn't think of that! I this this must be a, so called, "gray area". I
don't really know what I am talking about here (IANAL), but maybe even
if they say: "you cannot redistribute without eliminating all logos...",
they also say: "you can copy, modify, redistribute..."
So, maybe, it is not ilegal - it's just inconsistent. They do forbid you
from selling modified copies of the RH distribution and at the same time
*claim* it *is* a RH distro. And they _can_ do that, because it is their
The question is: "I am really obligated to remove all their logos they
implanted into the software?".
Are the logo files covered by the GPL?
Let me try an example...
I give you "A" and say:
- You can do with "A" whatever you want.
Then I say:
- You cannot put "A" upside down!
Legally speaking: "Am I granting you the right to put *A* upside down?"
Legally speaking: "Am I forbiding you to put *A* upside down?"
I think the answers are: yes for the first question, and no for the second.
The same way, when I say: "You cannot use A in *any* way!"
Legally speaking: "Am I forbiding you to use A under conditions
*fair-use* would allow you to use A?"
Maybe, legally speaking, they are not required to say "You cannot use
this in *any* way, except in this, those and that cases". This does
*not* mean they are taking "fair-use" away from you. You still have fair
use. If they could forbid you to use "fair-use", it would make
"fair-use" a quite meaningless concept!!
> I agree that saying it's copyrighted falls under fair use. But my point was that their rules are ridiculous.
There are some cases the law would require you to get a permission from
RH in order to use their trademark. They are just saying that in *all*
does cases, you do not have this permission.
I think it is unethical. Even if it is legal.
>>>The best way to help, is not using RedHat (or Fedora!). Even if they are
>>>OK legaly speaking. I don't like their way of beeing compliant. So, I do
>>>*not* use Red Hat.
> The problem is: some people will inevitably use RedHat, and resellers should be libre to distribute cheaper copies to them that say RedHat. Not even needs overpriced support.
If this is not illegal, there is nothing we could do.
You can educate people and try to get them to avoid Red Hat. I do so
since the started the "Fedora" thing.
There are distros that are more concerned about *freedom* and the FSF
goals. Get people to use those distros instead. Just the same logic for
get people to give up on "windows" and try GNU instead.
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