Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 19th Aug 2005 18:44 UTC
Legal More than 90 Australian companies have been asked to pay a licence fee for Linux software in a move apparently backed by Linus Torvalds. Letters demanding US$5000 for use of the Linux name were originally dismissed as a hoax. But according to the Sydney Morning Herald, Linus Torvalds is dead serious.
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RE: I am annoyed....
by llanitedave on Fri 19th Aug 2005 19:48 UTC in reply to "I am annoyed...."
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"OSNews needs to have a retard filter."

I sure agree with that! A lot of idiots who spout off without having a clue what a trademark means.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: I am annoyed....
by on Fri 19th Aug 2005 20:46 in reply to "RE: I am annoyed...."
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"OSNews needs to have a retard filter."

Indeed it does.

Trademarks must be enforced, or they are lost. Good or bad, that's the way the law works. And it is good for everyone but the scammers when names can't be stolen and applied to something else.

Trademark law has "Fair Use" provisions. You do not need permission to use a trademark in a description, if the description uses the trademark accurately. If I call something Linux, and it *is* Linux, that's OK. So I don't need permission to say that I use Linux, or that my software runs on Linux.

But my descriptive use of the trademark isn't allowed to create confusion or mislead. Calling a drink "Rum and Coke" is Fair Use of the Coke trademark, if I really use Coke, and not Pepsi. But calling it "Caribbean Coke" might mislead people into thinking that it was a product of the Coca Cola Company, violating their trademark. I could ask for their permission, or use a name that doesn't infringe: "Caribbean Cola".

I do need a license if I want to use the Linux trademark as part of my own trademark. I can't call my company "Linux Compliance Labs" unless Linus says I can. I could name it "System Compliance Labs", and describe the company's services as including testing for compliance with Linux, though.

There's no story here, folks. Shame on The Inquirer for attaching a false tag line ("Companies to be charged for free software"), and shame on OSnews for an equally false title. You don't need to pay $5000 dollars to use the Linux name. You only need to pay if you want to use the Linux *trademark* as part of your own *trademark*, and the fee is $5000 only if you make more than a $1,000,000 on the product or service using that trademark.

Reply Parent Score: 4