Subject Re: [Firebird-general] Re: So much for Mozilla dropping Firebird
Author Helen Borrie
At 02:38 AM 30/08/2003 +0000, Brendan Eich wrote:

> > Brendan, four weeks have elapsed since you said this, but it is not
>fixed yet.
>I'm sorry for that. We've had a lot to do lately, setting up the
>Mozilla Foundation, finding colocation space, moving machines, etc.
>We're not done yet. The roadmap is obviously out of date along with
>the branding policy.
>We want to fix the branding problem soon. I'm not able to speak for
>staff right now, but I hope to have something to say within a week or
>so. Please bear with us.

I'm certainly interested to hear what you have to say within a week or
so. However, I'm curious to know what could change in a week which would
alter your organisation's position regarding your unauthorised use of our
name. It wasn't right in April and it's still not right...

>One more thing I will ask here: please help to end the accusations of
> acting with malice aforethought. They're untrue, and they
>don't aid anyone involved in reaching a conclusion.

Unfortunately, your own community's records show that staff@... not
only proceeded with its decision to take our name, knowingly, but that your
colleagues actively encouraged your community to believe that you had a
legal right to do so.

Since the branding document, we have given you the benefit of the doubt
that you are going to make it right. I haven't seen any "accusations of
malice aforethought" from our quarter since our initial criticisms of
mozilla's accusations, back in April, which doesn't mean there are
none. It possibly means I'm not looking where you are looking...if it
happens and you think it is unjustified, you are at liberty to take it up
with the accusers.

However, as you are no doubt aware, the staff@... group continues
to not respond as a group to communications sent to it from our community's
administrative groups. It would not surprise me to learn that there were
people in our community who have felt prompted by that to draw inferences
that you don't like.

> You can charge us with negligence, for sure. We should have consulted
> with the Firebird OSS project's leaders before renaming.

Yes, you should. Had you done so, it would have been very clear what our
position would have been. Would charging you with negligence help you to
repair its effects?

>But we did not intend harm,

However, harm ensued. Instead of moving swiftly from the outset to make
good their error, your colleagues flamed up a campaign that hurt both of
our communities and resolved nothing. The onus was (and is) on
staff@... to fix your mistake. Your colleagues elected to slug it
out. You personally (in good faith, I believe) negotiated a "period of
grace" by having your colleagues publish your intentions to stop using our

Unfortunately, the promised deadlines have now passed. Instead of fixing
the problem, your colleagues have instead proceeded to construct and
approve brand imagery that shows a clear message -- in public, at least --
of Mozilla's intention to proceed with the original plan to take the
Firebird brand as your own. If it costs you effort to unwind this, then it
is nothing but your chickens coming home to roost.

Hence the now pressing requirement for to state its intentions
openly. The last thing we want to do is see your project demonised in the
open source community. We only want you to do the right thing.

>and I personally don't believe any actual harm has been done in the

Unfortunately, what you personally believe doesn't carry any weight beside
our perception of the inherent harm in the brand confusion. The fact that
we object to it is sufficient in law to oblige you to cease and desist.

Brand dilution has already occurred, even during this period of supposed
temporary usage as a code name. Articles have been published in the online
press, using Firebird as the browser name. We have received Admin email
"informing" us that Mozilla already has a product named Firebird. You have
beaten us down the hit list on Google. With hindsight, it seems we have
simply been too patient, waiting for Moz to fix what it broke.

Moz. simply had and has no right to carry its misuse of our name forward to
the point where your own people are now quite brazenly using it as if it
belonged to you.

>But a lot of harm was done to people's feelings on all sides in the
>initial month. Let's not go back there, once was enough.

Agreed, it would be a very bad thing to go back there. I'm sure
staff@... knows what it needs to do.