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hex (3272)

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Perl, RDF and wiki hacker, London, UK. This is my former Perl blog; I now write at Earle's Notebook [].

Journal of hex (3272)

Friday June 13, 2008
01:30 AM

How to throw away good publicity

[ #36678 ]
Tie your users' hands behind their backs with legalese.

Any individual, organization, or company may use the "Powered by Perl" or "Programming Republic of Perl" logos... The Perl logo, the Perl Foundation logo, and the bare onion logo are available for use by Perl Mongers, Perl Monks, and, which are part of TPF. .... This authorization to use the Perl logo is limited to uses by the organizations themselves, and doesn't extend to individual members. Representatives of the organizations should contact us at to obtain high-resolution versions of the Perl logo. ["Perl trademark"]

Two poky little PNGs of the slogan-tainted logos that you are allowed to use are proffered on the page. Contrast that with this:

Projects and companies that use Python are encouraged to incorporate the Python logo on their websites, brochures, packaging, and elsewhere to indicate suitability for use with Python or implementation in Python. ["The Python Logo"]

They give you everything from generic PNGs to two flavors of SVG and even Photoshop format. The extremely reasonable detailed trademark usage guidelines even give you permission to make derived logos.

Perl: there's more than one way to do it. Except if you're talking about using the logo.

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  • Part of the problem is trademark law. If you have a trademark, you have to control its use and you can't let just anyone use it for anything. You have to defend its use so it's actaully a mark of the trade that you do and not a generic mark that anyone uses. A trademark is used to distinguish what you do against what other people do. That's the point, and the law says that you have to do various things to defend your mark.

    Python, on the other hand, apparently isn't using their images as an actual trademark
    • I went though the same thought process as hex did when I was last looking to incorporate the onion logo in a work.

      Maybe it's time to come up with a "user" logo, something that represents Perl but is free to be manipulated/derived/mashed. Perhaps a different style of onion

    • You make a good point. I guess my question is, why does there need to be a Perl trademark in that way? What benefit does it provide to TPF and the wider Perl community?
      • The benefit to TPF is clear: they can mark officially supported projects as part of TPF. When you see the Onion logo, you know you are looking at something from the TPF. Thus, TPF controls how its reputation and perception are used.

        TPF has obvious benefit to the wider community, and them taking the completely reasonable and usual steps to protect their reputation and perception through their mark is normal business. As TPF conducts themselves with due diligence, they can be an effective organization and con
        • Heh. Well, I would prefer if someone officially associated with Perl were to do that, as grink commented, and give public use their blessing.

          I think a lot of people feel it's a pity that when a (great) logo finally appears for Perl, after years of the community having to piggyback on an O'Reilly trademark, that we're not actually allowed to use it. Good design unfortunately appears to be in short supply in the Perl world, for reasons I don't understand; perhaps because the lack of perceived "glamor" doesn

          • Why do you need a Perl person to design a logo? It wasn't a Perl person who came up with the camel logos (although Larry suggested the camel). It wasn't a Perl person who came out with the Perl Mongers logo, or the Perlcast logo, or the Catalyst logo. Why limit yourself to Perl people? Go hire a graphic designer.

            Why do you need a logo from anyone else to say that you use Perl? Why should you rely on anything that TPF does to help yourself? Plenty of stuff happens outside of TPF. It isn't the center of Perl.
            • TPF... isn't the center of Perl. It's just a foundation.

              Their website says [], "The Perl Foundation coordinates the efforts of numerous grass-roots Perl-based groups, including... Carries the legal responsibility for Perl 5, Perl 6 and Parrot".

              Are you honestly telling me with a straight face that it isn't the center of Perl?

              Why limit yourself to Perl people? Go hire a graphic designer.

              I don't have the money to do that, and nor, I suspect, do most people. Which is exactly why it will almo

              • Yes, I'm telling you with a straight face the TPF is not the center of Perl. With everything that TPF does, it still is a minority of activity in Perl. This site is not part of TPF. The Perl Review and $foo magazine are not part of TPF. CPAN is not part of TPF. Catalyst and Moose are not part of TPF. TPF is not the community: it's about 10 people running a foundation.

                Why do you insist on an official community logo? Why should anyone control what anyone else does with Perl? I don't think TPF or anyone else s
                • TPF is not the community

                  I didn't say it was. I said it was the center of Perl. Administrative, financial, legal center.

                  Why do you insist on an official community logo?

                  Because it's guaranteed free publicity for Perl. Why else? Why are you arguing against one?

                  I suspect that our disagreement is that you think TPF should be responsible for everything and do everything for you, and I think that if people don't do things on their own, there is no community.

                  What a fantastic example of a straw man. I reall

                  • A logo isn't free publicity.

                    I'm not arguing against a logo. I'm arguing against anyone expecting someone else to give them what they want. If you want a logo, make it happen. I don't see that happening though. So, you'll continue to not have what you want.

                    I guess I can't force my opinion on you, but you still don't have what you want. It's not my fault you aren't doing anything to help yourself.
                    • A logo isn't free publicity.

                      A logo that people will proudly and widely display without fear of legal repercussions is exactly that.

                      you aren't doing anything to help yourself.

                      Let's look at that "little bit of work" you glibly refer to, then. Your assertion is that because I'm not

                      • finding suitable candidate designers,
                      • assessing their portfolios,
                      • putting an offer out to tender or otherwise soliciting and negotiating a design contract,
                      • drawing up and agreeing to said contract via telephone calls, email
                    • I don't know. Doesn't seem that hard to me and I've done it several times before. I don't think it's that much work. Your definition of "too much" might be different. You sure seem to have time to post here though, and that's taking away from your logo time.
          • The idea of getting a TPF trademark was so we'd have a logo we (the Perl community) could use freely. I intentionally drafted the trademark policy [] very simply, so we wouldn't get bogged down in horrible formalities every time someone wanted to use the trademark. The policy explicitly grants free use to the Perl Mongers groups and Perl Monks, which covers a huge section of the Perl community.

            The basic rule for anything else is "if you're not sure it's an acceptable use from the trademark page, just email us
            • Thanks for commenting, Allison.

              You say:

              The policy explicitly grants free use to the Perl Mongers groups and Perl Monks, which covers a huge section of the Perl community.

              I have to take issue with you there. The policy you linked to says:

              This authorization to use the Perl logo is limited to uses by the organizations themselves, and doesn't extend to individual members.

              That certainly doesn't seem to be a huge section of the community.

              To keep the trademark, we do have to grant permission for any use

            • Lets say I, as an individual and enthusiast for Perl, had a blog. For one of my entries in that blog, discussing Perl, I wanted to have a "soft" (blending with the background color) image of the onion scaled up and embedded as part of the background image. In addition, maybe part of the logo would be occluded off the side of the page.

              How would this fall under acceptable use?

              Phrases like "Marks must be used in their entirety. Any variation in the form of the mark must be approved in advance in writing by TPF
              • Phrases like "Marks must be used in their entirety. Any variation in the form of the mark must be approved in advance in writing by TPF." make me think that any alteration is forbidden

                I'm not sure where you get the idea that "must be approved in advance" means the same thing as "is forbidden".

                Allison has already said that they approve the vast majority of requests.

                • I've always hated the process of using the logo. Because it's a trademark it's a pain to use. There is nothing stopping anyone starting their own logo which will be much more popular (and less controlled, yay) than the camel or onion logos. Centralisation is not always the best solution.
                • Fair enough. I wasn't aware of Allison's stance before reading this thread though.

                  Perhaps the TPF trademark page could have some friendly advice on usage, besides (the necessary) legalese. Something like hex's suggestions (aping Python)'s below.
            • I was just reading through the Python trademark guidelines [] again... do you think it would be reasonable for the Perl mark guidelines to have "Uses that Never Require Approval" and "Uses that Always Require Approval", much as theirs have? Conceivably, that could allow legal fair use of the trademark without TPF having to approve everything.