Ray Strode’s post to foundation-list about logos has been sitting in my inbox for a few days now, waiting to be loved. I saw jrb briefly early this evening; he said ‘oh, I nominate you to respond to Ray. (pause) (pause) Wait, wait, no I don’t.’ jrb is wise. He of course says that because, well, my response will be something along the lines of ‘The foot should effectively be like the elephant, or the donkey. There is a platform and a policy, but we don’t use trademark to enforce it. So have at it; if you’re an ass, we’ll lart you publicly.’ This is, I should note, completely not the official policy of the foundation.
I once upon a time wrote a much longer rant about this, explaining how our trademark license suffers from an extreme mismatch with our copyright license, which in turns means that our trademark license suffers from an extreme mismatch with our community and our means of collaborative production. That was before I stumbled upon the elephant/donkey analogy; saying ‘trademark is bad for us, for all these reasons I have a very hard time making succint’ is generally much less effective than ‘here is an example where very high profile movements have discarded trademark and have survived without it.’ So, by all means, read the (never quite finished) paper if you’re a license/social structure geek, but otherwise- just go meditate on how and why the non-trademark approach works for national political parties, and whether or not you think it makes sense for us to follow in their stead.