Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields
Trademark guidelines.

Trademark guidelines.

Did you know there’s a set of trademark guidelines for the Fedora brand and mark? They’re getting less restrictive as we work through some details with Red Hat Legal. We’re trying to help our community spread the Fedora message without burdening them too much with legal hoops, like you’d find in a traditional trademark situation. US law can make this sort of thing tricky but worthwhile when you consider the return on the time invested.

Of particular note, though, is the section on Internet domains. Right now, you need a written license agreement with Red Hat if you want to register a domain name with “fedora” in it for use by a connected community. This clause prevents someone from registering domains that divert people away from Fedora communities, whether the central Fedora Project site or a locale-specific community.

I’m working with Legal to figure out a way to obtain domains on behalf of our community. If Red Hat simply buys these domains and point them to wherever our local community groups like, we save them out-of-pocket costs, reduce or eliminate any unnecessary legal overhead, and let our community do what it does best — spreading upstream-friendly FOSS love globally.

More on this as it develops.


    1. @bochecha: Trademark difficulties generally come up when there’s a chance of consumer confusion. In this case, it would be difficult to show how people looking for “our” Fedora would be confused by this site into thinking they’d found it. 🙂

  1. noldrin

    One thing that would help us who make distros based on Fedora is to explicitly allow to redistribute package names that include Fedora and explicitly allow the fedora-release package on non fedora distros. The idea is to not to overly break repository compatibility in order to stay in trademark guidelines. I can understand needing to modify things such as initscripts that identify to the user the distro as Fedora.

    It would at least be good to have a clear statement on the guidelines.


  2. @noldrin: We do already provide a generic-release package (and generic-logos and generic-release-notes) for this purpose. You can use those, or provide your own packages that provide “system-release” (or “system-“) for personal branding.

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