Re: Canonical’s IPRights Policy incompatible with Ubuntu licence policy

Jono Bacon jono at
Fri May 1 22:09:42 UTC 2015

Have you tried talking to Canonical about this? If so, who did you speak to?

On 1 May 2015 at 15:04, Jonathan Riddell <jr at> wrote:
> This is a very significant issue for the Ubuntu community which I have
> brought up with the Ubuntu community council for a number of years now with
> no success.
> This Canonical IPRights Policy is for some reason on the website.
> It says "Any redistribution of modified versions of Ubuntu must be approved,
> certified or provided by Canonical if you are going to associate it with the
> Trademarks. Otherwise you must remove and replace the Trademarks and will
> need to recompile the source code to create your own binaries."
> It confuses the issues of Trademark and distribution, which are unrelated
> issues. Nobody has a problem with restricting trading with the Ubuntu name.
> But it claims that the binary packages are not freely redistributable which
> is incorrect with any definition of free software including Ubuntu's own.
> From Ubuntu's licence policy:
> "Must allow modification and distribution of modified copies under the same
> licence. Just having the source code does not convey the same freedom as
> having the right to change it. Without the ability to modify software, the
> Ubuntu community cannot support software, fix bugs, translate it, or improve
> it."  which is not compatible with the restriction claimed on binary
> packages
> From the About Ubuntu page on
> "Ubuntu applications are all free and open source — so you can share them
> with anyone you like, as often as you like."  which is different from the
> restriction claimed by Canonical's policy.
> Canonical does not hold the copyright on binary packages any more than it
> does on the source packages.  Rumours that somehow running a compiler on a
> computer you own makes you a copyright holder are incorrect.  Claiming
> binaries can not be freely redistributed is an insult to the thousands of
> upstream developers who do own the copyright to the works we package and
> distribute. And of course the claim is incompatible with the GPL, a licence
> upon which we depend heavily and which we can not afford to breach.  This
> incorrect claim does affect both upstreams and their willingness to work
> with us and downstreams and their willingness to use us.  Claims that
> somehow we don't care about derivative distributions and are happy to
> restrict them are frankly scary.
> I'm at a loss on how to proceed on this matter as the community council
> seems unconcerned at the problem and Canonical is happy to carry on
> perpetrating the myth.  I'd welcome any suggestions.
> Jonathan
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