[linux-dvb] Subject: Announcement: wiki merger and some loose ends

CityK cityk at rogers.com
Sun Nov 9 01:15:57 CET 2008

Hi Michael, sorry for the delay in response,

Michael Papet wrote:
> As a  sometime contributor to both wikis, may I suggest you pause a moment and be sure you can use "LinuxTV" without the copyright holder on the name Linux coming after you with Cease and Desist (C&D) orders.  Could they?  Yes.  Linux is trademarked in Germany and the U.S. by Linus Torvalds.  Would they?  To generate some billable hours and defend their mark, sure.  This could be a case whereby bad things happen to people with good intentions.  We have all seen it before.
> I know it is opening a new can of worms, but in order to run the wiki/project as professionally as possible, I suggest coordinating with the Trademark owner lawyers on this one now, rather than later under more negative circumstances when the results of your improved wiki are already committed.

"LinuxTV" was created by Convergence approx. 10 years ago. I do not know
if it was trademarked or not. Seeing as Convergence, and subsequently
Galaxis (who had acquired Convergence) are both no longer going
concerns, I'm uncertain as to whom the IP now belongs. Johannes or Ralph
are the most likely candidates for a quick answer as to that matter.

Do I think that some non-scrupulous entity would ever try to take
ownership of the "LinuxTV" moniker? Sure, that's possible. But:

a) "LinuxTV" is just the hosting project site for the DVB and V4L
subsystems, and is a non-profit organization. Given that its not a
commercial venture, there wouldn't be any much point in coming after us
except for defending "their" mark.

b) in defending "their" mark
- 10 years of precedence and history rests on our side, so I say that
any potential usurper would have an uphill battle convincing anyone (or
court) that it was "their" mark that we (the community surrounding
LinuxTV.org) are imposing upon.
- it strikes me that anyone/entity attempting to usurp the name
"LinuxTV" would likely be involved somehow with the Linux OS and
television. I can also surmise that such folk, in attempting to usurp
the "LinuxTV" name, would be greatly undervaluing the negative attention
they would generate for themselves from within the greater Linux
community. In fact, it sounds exactly like something the likes of
Slashdot and others salivate over ... (in other words, I'm quite willing
to beat the galley drum and watch its effect snowball)
- And given, as you say, the name Linux is Trademarked and held by Linux
Torvalds, such usurpers would be subject to the same usage constraints
as we ourselves are ... and I'd hazard a guess that Linus would prefer
that we use the name as opposed to some opportunistic usurping
commercial venture.
- And lastly, if such an entity was NOT in anyway involved with the
Linux OS (e.g. Microsoft), they would be (in my opinion) embarking upon
either squatting or unfair competitive trade practices. And I'm willing
to bet that any court would see that too.

Now, with that all said, having to go through such a useless legal
battle is indeed time consuming and upfront costly (as you wouldn't
recover costs until the summary judgement and any appeals process are
complete). So, just to cut_down_upon/mitigate any future aggravations *
, I deem what you have said is a valid suggestion. I personally,
however, I have no interest in pursuing such an endeavour. Though this
aspect might greatly appeal to someone else, so I don't want to
discourage anyone from investigating on this matter. I have spent enough
time on the legal mumbo jumbo already, so will opine no further.

* Note: obtaining a trademark for LinuxTV would still not prevent
someone from trying to usurp/infringe upon the name; though, having such
a trademark in place would greatly cut down time and upfront expense
surrounding any such legal defence if things progressed much further
then a wag of the finger.

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