Canonical’s IPRights Policy incompatible with Ubuntu licence policy

cprofitt cprofitt at
Mon May 4 23:48:16 UTC 2015

On Mon, 2015-05-04 at 23:57 +0200, Jonathan Riddell wrote:
> On 4 May 2015 at 23:47, Michael Hall <mhall119 at> wrote:
> >>     On 05/04/2015 12:42 PM, Randall Ross  wrote:
> >>     > In the time it took to write this thread, there could have been several
> >>     > meetings with Canonical legal and likely a resolution.
> >>
> >>     Those meetings have already happened, the CC had them. We have been
> >>     given Canonical's position on the matter and passed that on to those who
> >>     made the inquiry.
> >>
> >> Maybe I missed it, what was the reason that was given for derivatives
> >> needing to recompile binaries?
> >
> > Derivatives can either work fully within the archives, in which case
> > they don't need to do anything, or they can request a license grant from
> > Canonical to base their derived product off of Ubuntu's archives.
> >
> > If they don't wish to do either, then they should take the source code
> > and build their own archives from that, as Ubuntu does with Debian and
> > CentOS does from Red Hat.
> You are avoiding the question.  Why would a licence be needed?
> Jonathan


I am not sure he is avoiding the question, but I will give it my

Here is the key part of the current IP policy that I believe applies:

"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. This
does not affect your rights under any open source licence applicable to
any of the components of Ubuntu."

Seems fairly simple to me.

A) If there are any open source licenses that grants rights in
components of Ubuntu this language does not curtail or alter them.

B) If there is trademarked content contained in a binary blob then you
can ask for a license or recompile it after removing the trademarked

However, since I am not a lawyer nor a representative of Canonical
Legal, this is no more than my opinion. The license seems more open than
that which I read Redhat has and seems to me any open source
requirements I am aware of.

If you interpret this differently then I would suggest consulting
Canonical Legal as I can not speak to their interpretation.


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