"Registration of a trademark will have no real impact on how the project handles trademark matters day to day. The trademarks existed before registration, and from its earliest days the project has had policies and practices concerning their use. As a community driven project that wants to encourage a vibrant commercial sector we have always had a generous licensing policy"
- Some are wary of donating to OSM because of potential trademark legal issues.
- OSM collects money from advertisers on Joomla.org (Adsense) that violate its own guidelines.
"The Joomla extensions directory migrates to a GPL version of Mosets."
"If you want to use the term Joomla or related strings e.g. joom, jom, joo or J! as a part of domain, service, business or product names, you need permission (a license) to use it. Please note that OSM will only license the use of the Joomla! name or variations to 3rd party extensions that use the GNU GPL license.
- Extension name request form
- Information on conditional use logos
- Name and logo use (requesting permission forms for business names and other name uses and use of the logo)
- You can’t have JoomlaXXXX
- You can’t say statements concerning OSM or the Joomla! project that are libelous, slanderous or otherwise defamatory.
- You must include a link directly to joomla.org
- The license to use a derivative is revokable.
- OSM actually encouraged businesses to register JoomlaXXX domains in August of 2005
"Starting on 1 March 2009 only Joomla! extensions licensed under the GNU GPL will be accepted into the JED. After another three months, from 1 July 2009, such extensions will no longer be listed in the JED. As a resource for a GPL community the JED will only include extensions licensed using the GNU GPL."
- Indications were given by joomla.org of this step a year ago.
- Many third party developers depend heavily on traffic from the JED for their business.
- Some think the requirement of being GPL-only violates the original spirit of OSM and Joomla
- Already some are furious about new JED policy!
If there are any innacuracies in the above, please comment so I can correct them. My goal above was an objective round up of the new announcements.
Obviously, in the same way as joomla.org’s announcements about the GPL in 2007, these announcements are going to annoy alot of people, for a range of reasons. We can probably expect equally passionate arguments from both sides of the "GPL camp". Some have already reacted to these recent steps with some ideas of how the situation can be improved.
Although GPL/derivative licensing and trademarks are really separate issues, it seems that some of these policies are pushing them to overlap in implementation. Obviously the core team wants the 3rd party developer community to release their extensions under the GPL. It does seem to me however that the strategy has been all stick and no carrot.
When I look at these announcements, and the last couple of years, it seems that joomla.org keeps moving the goal posts for their 3rd party developer community.
Goal Post #1
"From mid-August 2005, when Joomla started out, until recent weeks there has always been a public acknowledgement that 3rd party developers were free to chose their own license as long as their extensions did not breach the Joomla copyright. That was initially published in several places as a Licensing Guidelines and Licensing FAQ and can still be seen on the Net today (just not on official Joomla sites)" – Lynne Pope (mambo-foundation.org)
OSM/joomla.org wanted to reverse this policy and encourage 3rd party developers to release under the GPL. Some dev’s stepped up and have begun to adopt GPL-compliant business models.
Goal Post #2
Three years ago OSM/joomla.org deliberately and actively encouraged business to use domains, business names and product names that included the word "Joomla". It does not seem reasonable to me to expect anyone to flush 3 years of SEO and brand building down the drain. To many companies, changing a domain name could mean immediate and significant loss in revenue. Some make the argument that it was unwise to use the word Joomla in the aforementioned, but that is really besides the point. They were encouraged to do so…
During the previous intense debate over Joomla and the GPL I wrote a post trying to sum up my understanding of the GPL debate. I think my conclusion in that post still applies:
At the end of the day, users just want a website that works, looks good and didn’t cost them a fortune……… I would think most of them pretty ambivalent to the GPL’s intricacies.
Moving forward, have the trenches been dug too deep?
There are always two sides to an issue. It’s a little high minded to think that you are always "right". The world is not like that.
If Joomla wants to continue to grow and enjoy the success it has had in the last 18 months, it needs to find a compromise with the 3PD community. Whether it is currently comfortable with it philosophically or not, that community did contribute to the uptake and success of the CMS.
To reach a compromise you need to accept you can’t have an inflexible absolute position. Both groups need to have an honest dialog about their needs and be willing to move towards a middle ground.
Unfortunately, I can’t see this happening. I think we are going to see months of bitter wrangling that regardless of the outcome, which will do nothing but discourage end users and impair the projects growth.
Along the lines of Steve, I’d like to throw out some ideas.
If OSM/joomla.org wants developers to release under the GPL, they need to provide an incentive to do so. I really don’t think the privilege of having a JED listing will be enough. The restrictive rules around the trademark and naming will put developers at a disadvantage to those who are choosing to not follow the rules.
- Advantage #1 – Its easier to generate revenue from simply selling a non-GPL compliant extension than it is to leverage a subscription model that is GPL-compliant.
- Advantage #2 – Its easier to get traffic through SEO with a domain, business and product name that has the word Joomla or Joomla derivatives in it. Even core team members recognize this fact.
If OSM/joomla.org really does want a vibrant 3rd party developer community (which they say they do) then I think they need to help them address these disadvantages.
The surest way for OSM/joomla.org NOT to get GPL compliance is to have a restrictive trademark and naming policy.
There is great danger in crafting policy that is targeted at the lowest common denominator. I don’t think anyone wants the Joomla brand smeared, or spammy sites doing doggy stuff with the logo or name. I think OSM/joomla.org needs to reach out to members of the 3rd party dev community (ones that are *not* on the core team) and work together to craft policy that both can get behind wholeheartedly.