Big-Jim wrote:I don’t necessarily want a T-Shirt with phpBB on it, the opening poster does. I was just saying that we have a local place that does T-Shirts and other type shirts for all sorts of things.
I really don’t understand the law concerning this copyright thing.
In this case, we're talking about trademarks, not copyrights, although the latter isn't totally irrelevant either.
Unfortunately, failure to enforce trademarks in the past can be used as justification for their unenforceability. We obviously want to maintain the rights. For example, if someone were to start selling phpBB using the name and logo, we would want to be able to do something about it. If you're curious about trademark law, there are tons of resources around the net.
Big-Jim wrote:But now that you have said what you did, I am even more confused. Basically what you are saying is that if anyone uses the phpBB name for anything, they are breaking the law. So if someone mentions to a friend they have a phpBB forum they are breaking the law? Or does it have to be in writing? What if I text someone I have a phpBB forum? Is that breaking the law too?
I'm not sure how anything I said even remotely puts into question whether you have the right to mention that you have a phpBB forum
If you can tell someone that you have an Apple iPad or a Dell computer, then you can tell them you have a phpBB forum. Actually, you can even sell Apple iPads and Dell computers and refer to them as such. That is kind of the point of trademarks. But, what you can't do is sell fake Apple products and refer to them as Apple products. You likewise cannot misrepresent that Apple or Dell (or whoever) are somehow endorsing your selling of their products. You can distribute phpBB and call it "phpBB" and use the logo, but if you start distributing some other product under that name, then it's trademark infringement. The purpose of a trademark is to protect the public from being mislead into believing that you are providing them with a product they recognize, when you're actually not.
Big-Jim wrote:Maybe I am looking at this all wrong, but it seems to me that saying you have a phpBB forum on a shirt that you had made for yourself is not infringing on a trademark. There would be no intent to fraud anybody or use the phpBB name for personal gain. If anything wearing a shirt like that would be helping the phpBB developers by promoting their software. But again, I do not understand the law in that regard and it really doesn’t matter anyway because I am not planning on having any T-Shirts made up for myself, or to sell to others. It just seems weird to me that this would even be an issue. I guess it is sort of like if someone had a T-Shirt made up that says, “I own a GM vehicle and I love it”. I am not certain of this, but I rather doubt General Motors would even care if someone were to make up a bunch of those T-Shirts and sold them. After all, what better advertisement could they possibly get than a bunch of people walking around wearing a T-Shirt that says they love their GM vehicle?
If you started printing t-shirts saying "I own a GM vehicle and I love it" and distributing them, you can be certain that you would receive a letter from GM. Again, this is more due to the way trademark law works than the fact that GM actually would have an objection to the free advertising.