Trademark (was Re: General Questions about Licensing)
evan at wikitravel.org
Wed Apr 21 16:16:17 EDT 2004
I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, I don't speak for
My understanding of the question is whether putting something under a
CC license assures that the rights granted can be exercised regardless
For example, let's say I create a comic book called "The Adventures of
SuperTroll". I register "SuperTroll" as a trademark*, and release the
book under (say) the Attribution-ShareAlike license.
Would you be able to create another book called "The Further
Adventures of SuperTroll"? "SuperTroll Goes To Mars"? "The Death of
SuperTroll"? Or, say, would you have to create books called "The
Further Adventures of A Superior Bridge-Dweller"?
The question gets more complicated if I also register SuperTroll's
image as a trademark. Even if you change all the names to "Superior
Bridge-Dweller" or "Excellent Deep-sea-fisher", using SuperTroll's
image may cause the dreaded "confusion in the marketplace".
Frankly, I'm just not sure how this works. It seems to me that section
5 of the 1.0 licenses is pretty explicit in stating that no other
issues should get in the way of you exercising the rights granted in
the license. I'm not sure what the 2.0 licenses would mean, there. It
may be implicit in the other license terms that, hey, if the author
grants you the rights to do A, B, and C, they really mean you can do
A, B, and C.
I know that in the Open Source arena, there's been difficulty with
trademarks for Open Source software. For example, the Mozilla
Organization has a trademark on Mozilla, Firefox, and some of the
logos used, and has some complicated rules about allowing the use of
those names or logos for non-official builds of the software.
I guess the two answers here are these: for authors, if you want
creative re-mixing of your work, don't register trademarks. For
re-mixers, if the author has registered a trademark on something,
don't bother with trying to re-mix their work.
Evan Prodromou <evan at wikitravel.org>
Wikitravel - http://www.wikitravel.org/
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