Over the past year-and-some-change, I’ve spent quite a bit of time working with Red Hat Legal on the treatment of Fedora trademarks in our community. In particular, Pam Chestek, one of the very small handful people I work with who’s been at Red Hat for a shorter time than I, has courageously surged forward into the community to engage in mutual dialogue about trademarks. Specifically, she actively solicited comments on making a better trademark license agreement, listening intently to concerns and then addressing them with changes or explanations.
At FUDCon, Pam gave a session on trademarks in one of the 35-seat classrooms that overflowed the available seating. It was obvious our community takes the subject matter seriously, and I heard from several people over the course of the weekend how pleased they were that Red Hat Legal wanted to participate directly with them. If you’re interested, journalist Sean Michael Kerner has posted a short summary of the talk that’s well worth reading.
He notes that I made a point about brand — that in large part, the value thereof is defined by your customers. This is something about which I’ve learned more from reading, among other things, Chris Grams’ excellent Dark Matter Matters blog. Credit where credit’s due!
For some FOSS entities, trademark policies are addressed only in hushed tones, or even concealed from contributors. I’m really proud to work for a company where I can visibly see community principles being put to work daily, even when it comes to touchy issues like trademark protection.