Package, Logo and Open Source

Karl Berry karl at
Mon May 18 23:38:10 CEST 2020

Hi Paul - re trademarks and TeX Live, Donald Robertson at the FSF
reminded me that they did write guidelines about this issue wrt free
system distributions:

The basic point being that trademarks in and of themselves are not a
problem -- yay. The problem would be if there is some kind of statement
in the (copyright) license saying that the trademarks must not be
removed, or otherwise forbidding redistribution, etc.

I don't think that's the case with the Masaryk packages, or
thesis/etc. packages in general, or fontawesome. Anyone modifying those
packages or logos can remove the trademarks (if they're doing something
different), or keep them (if they're making something relevant to the
university), according to the usual rules for trademarks. Which is,
don't make use of them to refer to something else.

In general, whether a given trademark is copyrightable or not is clearly
a massive gray area. If an organization asserts copyright on their logo
(unless they use a free software license for it, which I expect would
essentially never be the case), I'm certainly not going to argue about
that, and the packages would have to be removed. On the other hand, if
there is no explicit information, or the only information is that it's
not copyrightable, as you found at
then that's fine, we can accept it until and unless a problem shows up.

I have updated with a brief
statement along these lines.

Thanks for bringing this up. --best, karl.

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