RestrictionA while ago, I came across a tweet (can't remember who it was from) that illustrates the differences between the 3 major opensource CMS's (Joomla!, Drupal and Wordpress), specifically on how they allow logo use by the public. I've never really thought of blogging about this, until I read this rant by Guido Janson today (there are parts I disagree with, but that's another story).

First and foremost, this isn't a rant but more of an observation. Have a quick look at this Joomla! page , this Drupal page , and this one from Wordpress , each describing the respective project's logo-use.

On the Drupal page, the only reference to licensed use is a single line of text:

The Druplicon image is licensed under the GPL License which covers all items on cvs.drupal.org.

It provides a link to a standard GNU GPL license that most should be familiar with. I should add that Drupal also has a separate trademark page which covers, well, its trademark.

The Wordpress page does not even have a license agreement on their logos page. A short sentence describes that the "W" used in the logo is set in the "Mrs Eaves " font, licensed by Emigre. A separate link on the side panel points to a standard GNU GPL license, which presumably oversees logo-use as well. Another interesting Wordpress page: their domains usage guide . Note that all it says (in a nice, friendly manner, I should add) is that users should refrain from using "wordpress" in their domain names:

For various reasons related to our WordPress trademark, we ask if you're going to start a site about WordPress or related to it that you not use "WordPress" in the domain name. Try using "wp" instead, or another variation.

This means you are free to have domain names like wp-products.com, wp-plugins.com, wordypress.com, pressword.com, wardpress.com, wardpress.com etc (you get the drift). This is the same for Drupal, as illustrated on its trademark page.

Compare these with Joomla!'s logo-use page: 80% of that page is some form of legal text that users have to adhere with. The entire top section is covered by a list of conditions, and every section has its own requirement(s). I'm sure many will find parts of the material questionable, but my "favorite" is this:

Your extension name and logo are always larger and more prominent than the Joomla sticker or logo and either your extension name does not include Joomla!, Joomla, J!, Joom, Jom, Joo or  any other similar string OR such name use has been pre-approved by Open Source Matters in writing.

Note that this applies even AFTER your site has been approved as "compatible" by OSM.

Anyone can draw his/her own conclusion based on these comparisons. However, what really gets to me is that the legal entity behind the Joomla! project is so huge, that it actually requires its own ginormous organization , and an entire website filled with rules and regulations . Really, bureaucracy should have died with Max Weber, especially in the software world.

That said, I believe SFLC's FOSS Primer (last paragraph of section) describes it best with this:

If there is a lot of objection to your policies, you might want to examine them and see if there are ways to allow use while still protecting the project’s name.


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Comments   

# Guest 2009-12-30 02:35
I very much agree with you. In fact, I think it would be worthwhile to go through all of our rules with simplicity and friendliness, in mind.

We need to remember, most of our community do not use English as their primary language, so four pages of legal sounding rules for the Resources Directory - which link to a two page Checklist which links to ten additional resources - some of which are dozens of pages in length - is tooooooooo much!

I realize that some people might not realize the project can't link to their Web site if that Web site contains sexually explicit material - but we simply will never be able to write enough rules to cover what some people might try to do.

Instead, let's offer simple, friendly, inviting rules - no more than one page per resource - and deal with the exceptions.

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