Your authorization to use the Debian trademark in domain names


green light, traffic lights

Personally, I've been doing things with Debian and free software for almost thirty years. I was really shocked when I heard that Debian funds were being used to try and shut down independent, volunteer-run web sites publishing news about Debian itself.

I had a closer look at the situation myself and realized that nobody has registered a Debian trademark in Switzerland. Therefore, the Software Freedom Institute submitted an application for the mark.

The application was submitted on 14 May 2022 and granted on 8 June 2022.

Software Freedom Institute SA immediately published a statement authorizing legitimate use of the trademark in domain names.

It appears really bizarre that some rogue members of Debian have collaborated for months with an expensive lawyer and yet none of them bothered to ensure they were holding a registration in Switzerland before filing their attacks at WIPO. The Swiss Institute for Intellectual Property charges a fee of just CHF 550 to register a trademark. That is less than what Debian pays for two hours with their lawyer. Einstein himself used to work there but you don't need to be Einstein to realize who got better value for their money in this case.

Everybody who has contributed to Debian and free software has at least some legitimate interest in using the name of the projects they have worked on. For a lawyer to steal a domain name from a volunteer, under article 4(b)(ix)(2) of the UDRP, the lawyer has to assert that the volunteer has absolutely no rights or legitimate interests in the name of their work product. The assertion that we, the real developers, have no legitimate interest in the name of a project whatsover is an incredible act of disrespect from some incredibly arrogant toffs who look down their noses at us. I sincerely believe that any complaints filed on that basis are a fraud and will be rejected by the WIPO panel.

Software Freedom Institute will not be using the mark to distribute any substitute products. We use Debian and we extend it for our users, as we are authorized and encouraged to do by the Debian Social Contract. It is the same Debian, better.

The registration of this mark is not a random act of domain squatting. Free Software has been my entire life and I have as much legitimacy as any other Debian Developer to register a trademark.

Please print or save a copy of the authorization and then go straight to your prefered domain registrar and order your own debian.something domain today.