[Python-Dev] Someons's put a "Python 2.8" on GitHub

Wes Turner wes.turner at gmail.com
Mon Dec 12 04:10:09 EST 2016


[Continuing to play devil's advocate for the sake of clarification]

On Mon, Dec 12, 2016 at 2:40 AM, Stephen J. Turnbull <turnbull.stephen.fw at u.
tsukuba.ac.jp> wrote:

> Wes Turner writes:
>
>  > So forks with modules added or removed cannot be called Python?
>  > Forks without the blessing of the PSF cannot be called Python?
>  > That's really not open source.
>
> Of course it is.  The source is open and free.
>
> But that's not what is in play here.  The legal theory is that the
> name "Python" is reserved so that users can know that Python-Dev's
> strict (or not so, YMMV) QA policies have been applied


These are QA'd:

https://www.python.org/downloads/

Other [prefix] Python [suffix] distributions are not officially QA'd by the
core Python team.


> and promises
> (or lack thereof) of support are valid,


https://docs.python.org/3/license.html#terms-and-
conditions-for-accessing-or-otherwise-using-python

```
4. PSF is making Python 3.5.2 available to Licensee on an "AS IS" basis.
   PSF MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED.  BY WAY
OF
   EXAMPLE, BUT NOT LIMITATION, PSF MAKES NO AND DISCLAIMS ANY
REPRESENTATION OR
   WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR
THAT THE
   USE OF PYTHON 3.5.2 WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY THIRD PARTY RIGHTS.

5. PSF SHALL NOT BE LIABLE TO LICENSEE OR ANY OTHER USERS OF PYTHON 3.5.2
   FOR ANY INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR LOSS AS A
RESULT OF
   MODIFYING, DISTRIBUTING, OR OTHERWISE USING PYTHON 3.5.2, OR ANY
DERIVATIVE
   THEREOF, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY THEREOF.
```

>
> and to avoid gratuitous claims
> against the PSF by people who take use of the trademark to mean that
> it's PSF-sponsored or at least PSF-sanctioned.


These are the PSF releases: https://www.python.org/downloads/

There are many redistributions with various patches applied.


>   That is a perfectly
> reasonable way for third parties to behave, since it's the PSF's
> responsibility to defend its trademark.
>
> Note that trademark is unlike patent and copyright, which are
> unconditional whether or not infringers have been punished before.
> OTOH, trademark must be defended, because when the reputational
> capital depreciates too much US courts will refuse to enforce
> trademark.  We say trademark protection is "use it or lose it".
>
> It's a moot point here because Guido and Van are satisfied with the
> response of the author so far.  But I fear that since Guido declared
> that no "Python 2.8" will ever exist, failure to object to that name
> would be all the evidence a court would need to decide that we don't
> care enough about the trademark, making it that much more difficult to
> enforce in the future.  (IANAL and it's been ~15 years since I've
> looked at law or cases on trademark, but I suppose it's still true.)
>
> Exactly how lenient an open source project can be with naming of
> forks, I don't know.  I would hope that courts would not look amiss at
> the common practice of letting distros that patch Python or break out
> the stdlib or docs into a separate package call their package
> "python".  But you'd have to ask a real lawyer and maybe find a court
> case on that.
>

There's really a "ship of theseus" argument: it is defacto standard
practice for downstream distributions to distribute modified copies of
Python while retaining the name Python. How extensive those patches are is
likely irrelevant to a trademark dispute (of which there is none here).

IIUC, when a developer forks (e.g. clicks "fork" w/
github.com/python/cpython), there is still no need to change the repository
name.


>
> Steve
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