Bonum Certa Men Certa

Bad faith: Debian logo and theme use authorized

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Apr 17, 2024

Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock.

Software in the Public Interest, Inc (SPI) has spent over $120,000 on legal fees attacking a single volunteer who resigned at a time of grief when he lost two family members.

In the UDRP dispute over WeMakeFedora.org, the legal panel found that communications from IBM Red Hat had authorized use of the domain name and therefore, IBM Red Hat themselves were acting in bad faith by trying to retrospectively launch a dispute.

The authorizations published on the debian.org web site are even more unambiguous, unconditional and explicit than the authorizations that IBM Red Hat gave to the owner of WeMakeFedora.org.

Therefore, Software in the Public Interest, Inc has no right to complain about third party web sites that "look like" debian.org.

Using the standards set by the WeMakeFedora.org verdict, we can say clearly that Software in the Public Interest, Inc is acting in bad faith when it complains about similar web sites.

We don't even need to pay a legal panel to tell us that because the hypocrisy has a certain smell about it. Debian is rotting from the inside.

It is important to think about the consequences for the volunteers running independent web sites. Many of us do this without payment. We do this as a hobby. Dealing with harassment from lawyers creates stress and takes time away from our families. If a WIPO panel was to make a declaration of bad faith about us simply because we don't know how to write an adequate response and can't afford a lawyer then the rogue WIPO verdict could have negative consequences for our employment, ability to borrow money and ability to obtain or renew essential insurance policies for our homes and our trade.

When you think about all those potentially negative consequenes for us as volunteers, it is really wrong for SPI to seek such consequences despite the fact they authorized use of the logo and theme.

That is why it is so important for the legal panel to make a verdict of bad faith against SPI themselves.

Legitimate interest: redistribution of the Debian software is explicitly authorized

The Debian Free Software Guidelines and the Open Source Definition evolved together. One of the key pillars of both definitions is the authorization of free redistribution of the software.

With this authorization, any person who obtains a copy of the software is entitled to redistribute it.

The DebianGNULinux.org domain name was registered to do exactly that, to redistribute copies of the Debian software. This activity has been authorized.

Remarkably, in one of their claims submitted to another tribunal, the misfits explicitly describe a web site redistributing Debian as an outrageous crime, despite the fact the DFSG and the license statement referred to earlier explicitly authorize redistribution of genuine copies of Debian GNU/Linux.

complaint about debiangnulinux.org

Such a flagrant violation of the principles in the DFSG appears to be bad faith on the part of the complainant.

Legitimate interest: use of the logo is authorized

The trademark holder has created a web page where they distribute copies of the logo in many different electronic formats.

The page describes two versions of the logo, the open logo and the restricted use logo.

The page gives a free-for-all license to use the open logo.

The logo I am using on pages about my Debian work is the open logo.

Here is the text of the authorization from the trademark holder:

The Debian Open Use Logo comes in two flavors, with and without “Debian” label.

The Debian Open Use Logo(s) are Copyright (c) 1999 Software in the Public Interest, Inc., and are released under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License, version 3 or any later version, or, at your option, of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Legitimate interest: use of Debian-themed web page style

The Debian web page style is used extensively on third party web sites run by individual co-authors and volunteers.

At the bottom of every page on the main www.debian.org web site there is a link to a dedicated page about the licenses (authorization) to re-use the theme and content of www.debian.org.

The license link goes to the page https://www.debian.org/license. The page includes the following authorization:

Debian WWW Pages License Copyright © 1997-2024 Software in the Public Interest, Inc. and others
SPI can be contacted at:
1732 1st Ave #20327
New York, NY 10128-5177
United States


Since 25 January 2012, the new material can be redistributed and/or modified under the terms of the MIT (Expat) License or, at your option, of the GNU General Public License; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version (the latest version is usually available at https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html).

Work is in progress to make the older material compliant with the above licenses. Until then, please refer to the following terms of the Open Publication License.

This material may be distributed only subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License, Draft v1.0 or later (you can read our local copy, the latest version is usually available at http://www.opencontent.org/openpub/).

“Debian” and the Debian Logo are trademarks of Software in the Public Interest, Inc.

The complainant publishes the source code for the web site theme. This makes it easy for anybody empowered by the above license to download the theme and use it when creating their own site.

At the bottom of every page on Debian.org, they promote the source code for the web site with a link text "Web site source code is available".

Here is the link to download source code for the theme of the Debian.org web site.

Bad faith: complainant reneges on existing authorizations

As noted in the statements on legitimate interest, the complainant has clearly authorized many of the things they complained about.

The Debian Social Contract, which states "We will not hide problems", authorizes discussion of controversial technical, social and ethical topics. In fact, it is more than an authorization, it encourages such discussions and publications. Therefore, their complaining about what is published on these web sites is itself an act of bad faith.

They authorized use of the logo, as discussed, so their complaining about use of the logo is itself bad faith.

They put the web site theme and content under the open source licenses, as discussed above, so their complaining about sites with a similar appearance is itself bad faith.

Overall, for their claim of bad faith to supercede these authorizations, they would have to demonstrate some extraordinary acts of wrongdoing, for example, to show that a web site was using the trademark, domain name and logo to distribute a virus. They provide no evidence of such wrongdoing.

Other Recent Techrights' Posts

Brittany Day, Plagiarist in Chief (Chatbot Slinger)
3 articles in the front page of LXer.com right now are chatbot spew
Guardian Digital, Inc (linuxsecurity.com) Has Resorted to Plagiarism by Chatbots, Flooding the World Wide Web With Fake 'Articles' Wrongly Attributed to Brittany Day
busted
Microsoft-Connected Sites Trying to Shift Attention Away From Microsoft's Megabreach Only Days Before Important If Not Unprecedented Grilling by the US Government?
Why does the mainstream media not entertain the possibility a lot of these talking points are directed out of Redmond?
 
Gambia: Windows Down to 5% Overall, 50% on Desktops/Laptops
Windows was measured at 94% in 2015
Links 20/05/2024: Microsoft Layoffs and Shutdowns, RTO as Silent Layoffs
Links for the day
The Issue With Junk Traffic in Geminispace (Gemini Protocol)
Some people have openly complained that their capsule was getting hammered by bot
Peter Eckersley, Laura Smyth & the rushed closure of dial-up Internet in Australian universities
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] Bullying the Victims
IBM: crybully of the year 2024
Ian.Community Should be Safer From Trademark Censorship
We wish to discuss this matter very quickly
Microsoft and Its Vicious Attack Dogs (Attacking Women or Wives in Particular)
Sad, pathetic, destructive people
Upcoming Series About the Campaign to 'Disappear' the Father of GNU/Linux
Today we have Julian Assange's fate to focus on
A Month From Now Gemini Protocol Turns 5
June 20
Colombia: From Less Than 0.5% to Nearly 4% for GNU/Linux
it's not limited to this one country
Rumour: Well Overdue Red Hat Layoffs to be Announced in About 3 Days
we know they've planned the layoffs for a while
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 19, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, May 19, 2024
Gemini Links 20/05/2024: Updated Noto Fontpacks and gemfeed2atom
Links for the day
GNU/Linux in Georgia: Looking Good
Windows down from 99% to less than 33%
Tomorrow is a Historic Day for Press Freedom in the UK
Take note of the Julian Assange case
Hiding in a Forest Without a Phone and Hiding Behind the First Amendment in the United States (US)
some serial defamer is trying to invert the narrative
Links 19/05/2024: Iran's President Lost in Helicopter Crash, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Awaits Decisions in Less Than a Day
Links for the day
Links 19/05/2024: Microsoft Investigated in Europe
Links for the day
4 Old Articles About Microsoft/IBM SystemD
old but still relevant
Firefox Has Fallen to 2% in New Zealand
At around 2%, at least in the US (2% or below this threshold), there's no longer an obligation to test sites for any Gecko-based browser
Winning Streak
Free software prevalence
Links 19/05/2024: Conflicts, The Press, and Spotify Lawsuit
Links for the day
GNU/Linux+ChromeOS at Over 7% in New Zealand
It's also the home of several prominent GNU/Linux advocates
libera.chat (Libera Chat) Turns 3 Today
Freenode in the meantime continues to disintegrate
[Teaser] Freenode NDA Expires in a Few Weeks (What Really Happened 3 Years Ago)
get ready
GNU/Linux is Already Mainstream, But Microsoft is Still Trying to Sabotage That With Illegal Activities and Malicious Campaigns of Lies
To help GNU/Linux grow we'll need to tackle tough issues and recognise Microsoft is a vicious obstacle
Slovenia's Adoption of GNU/Linux in 2024
Whatever the factor/s may be, if these figures are true, then it's something to keep an eye on in the future
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 18, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, May 18, 2024
Links 19/05/2024: Profectus Beta 1.2
Links for the day
Site Archives (Not WordPress)
We've finally finished the work
[Meme] The EPO Delusion
on New Ways of Working
EPO Representatives Outline Latest Attacks on Staff
Not much has happened recently in terms of industrial action
Links 18/05/2024: Revisiting the Harms of Patent Trolls, Google Tries to Bypass (or Plagiarise) Sites Under the Guise of "AI"
Links for the day
Links 18/05/2024: BASIC Story, Site Feeds, and New in Geminispace
Links for the day
GNU/Linux in Kyrgyzstan: From 0.5% to 5% in Eight Years
the country is almost the size of the UK
Justice for Victims of Online Abuse
The claims asserted or pushed forth by the harasser are categorically denied
[Meme] Senior Software Engineer for Windows
This is becoming like another Novell
Links 18/05/2024: Deterioration of the Net, North Korean IT Workers in the US
Links for the day
Windows in Lebanon: Down to 12%?
latest from statCounter
[Video] 'Late Stage Capitalism': Microsoft as an Elaborate Ponzi Scheme (Faking 'Demand' While Portraying the Fraud as an Act of Generosity and Demanding Bailouts)
Being able to express or explain the facts isn't easy because of the buzzwords
Links 18/05/2024: Caledonia Emergency Powers, "UK Prosecutor's Office Went Too Far in the Assange Case"
Links for the day
Microsoft ("a Dying Megacorporation that Does Not Create") and IBM: An Era of Dying Giants With Leadership Deficits and Corporate Bailouts (Subsidies From Taxpayers)
Microsoft seems to be resorting to lots of bribes and chasing of bailouts (i.e. money from taxpayers worldwide)
US Patent and Trademark Office Sends Out a Warning to People Who Do Not Use Microsoft's Proprietary Formats
They're punishing people who wish to use open formats
Links 18/05/2024: Fury in Microsoft Over Studio Shutdowns, More Gaming Layoffs
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 17, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, May 17, 2024
Links 18/05/2024: KOReader, Benben v0.5.0 Progress Update, and More
Links for the day