community, extend, flock

Flock Trademark

Before too terribly long, we’ll publish a big boring document about trademarks. I read the thing a couple of weeks ago and, no offense to Bart, who authored much of the original document for Mozilla and who tweaked it for our purposes, but it’s not exactly fun reading. We had had a couple of queries about using some of the graphics from our theme (and in one case porting our theme to Firefox), and several of us made some time to discuss the matter last week.

Our theme is a little problematic because a lot of it looks a lot like our logo. There’s nothing essentially Firefoxy about the default Firefox theme, but there is something distinctly Flockish about our nav buttons. And, like Firefox, we need to protect our logo and derived images pretty aggressively in order to preserve our brand. So it was a pretty sticky issue for us, and one not devoid of some contention. But we worked out something that I think is good for the community and for Flock. Full boring details will follow later, but here’s the quick take on trademark as it relates to theme assets, at lest:

  • Soon, we’ll be releasing a different default theme with checkouts of the source code. Right now, we’re thinking it’ll include gray versions of the current icons. All assets included in the theme will be licensed under the GPL and thus available for community use.
  • Eventually, we’ll be releasing an official version of the Flock theme for Firefox because, well, our theme is cool, but some people just aren’t ready or willing to make the switch. We’ll grant permission to use these assets at our discretion under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. If you want to use the assets, in other words, ask us. If your request seems reasonable (ie, you’re not using our buttons for unsavory purposes that would defame Flock or otherwise hurt our brand), chances are that we’ll license the assets to you.

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7 thoughts on “Flock Trademark

  1. Assets huh? You have working for Flock too long 😉 In English this means image files correct?

    I am a little surprised some things are not being licenced under a No Derivative Works license.
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/
    What about official badges? An art toolkit?

    So people can create things like computer desktop wallpaper and fun things like:

    How do we deal with things that change the logo like? How can we still encourage making our “image” better?

    All the best to you,
    Lloyd D Budd
    Flock QA (Qommunity and quality Assurance)
    http://flock.com

  2. Lloyd, these are some good questions. I haven’t been working on Flock too long; I’ve been working on the web for too long! Assets means images, css files, etc.

    I do anticipate that we’ll produce an art toolkit eventually, and I’d love to have feedback from designers about what would actually be useful (besides the obvious).

    As for the No-Derivative-Works licensing, that’s not something that came up. There are pretty substantial restrictions in the trademark policy on screwing with the logo (which will not be released along with the public source or, presumably, in a Firefox theme). Producing derivative works from any of the other assets seems pretty innocent to me. And most of the trademark stuff having to do with the logo has to do with using it in print or to defame Flock. My understanding at this time is that if you wish to use the logo under the terms of fair use, it’s kosher for the most part. I don’t think you can sell a Flock desktop wallpaper, for example, but you can make one for yourself.

    Changing the logo is generally discouraged in the policy.

  3. third says:

    I’m gonna use the flock theme for firefox when it comes out. 🙂

    And just a tip of advice, try making flock’s theme have a color option so you can change the tint/hue of the browser to your own liking.

    And then transfer that to firefox as a plugin and make your theme work with it.

    I have tons of ideas like this. Hah.

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