FAQ: Django's Trademark Licensing Agreement

The following are some helpful answers to some frequently asked questions about the Djangos Trademark Licensing Agreement. This FAQ is intended to offer a bit more explanation and illustration of the license terms above, but it is not part of the license itself.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a recognizable sign, design or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others. By holding a trademark, an organization has exclusive rights to use that trademark in commerce, and is granted power to protect that trademark against use by others.

What is Django's trademark?

The Django Software Foundation holds a trademark for:

  • The name Django when used to describe "downloadable open source computer software for use in connection with internet publishing and website development" (USPTO serial number 78680396)
  • The logo comprised of the name Django, rendered in DTL Prokyon, using RGB color #092E20.

Why have you published this license?

One of the reasons the Django Software Foundation exists is to protect the intellectual property of the Django Project. One of the most important pieces of intellectual property is the trademark on the name Django. Trademark law requires that trademark holders actively protect their trademark, or risk losing it.

In an ideal world, we wouldn't need to do anything. However, in the real world, it isn't quite that easy. The conflict over Python trademark in Europe demonstrates why it is important for Open Source communities to own and protect their trademarks. Django has already needed to address a couple of trademark violations. While we hope we never need to do so again in the future, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Part of protecting the Django trademark is providing the terms under which that mark can be used by others. Most trademark holders simply say "you can't use our trademark". However, this approach doesn't work for an Open Source community. Historically, the DSF has approached this task by asking all people wanting to use the mark to ask for permission. However, this has proven to be an administrative burden, and has prevented some interesting activities from occurring.

By publishing this license, the DSF is making it clear what we consider to be acceptable use of the Django trademark. The hope is that this will give the community the liberty to pursue interesting ideas, while the DSF will retain the ability to protect the trademark against those who would exploit it.

What is nominative use?

Nominative use is a type of "fair use" under trademark law that allows anyone to use a trademarked term or logo if the use is necessary to identify, or nominate applicability of a product or service.

This license does not -- indeed, cannot -- limit nominative use. If you're simply referring to Django, the terms of this license agreement don't apply to that use.

However, if you're building a brand name that incorporates the Django name or logo, you may be outside the realm of nominative use. If you might ever consider registering a trademark of your own on a name, and that name that incorporates the Django name, you're almost certainly not engaged in nominative use, and the terms of this license will apply to you. You're also outside the realm of nominative use if your usage of the Django name or logo suggests or implies that you're officially endorsed or otherwise supported by the DSF or the Django project.

What do I do if...

... I want to organize a user group?

If you're running the sort of event that most people would identify as a user group -- that is, a regular or semiregular meetup of individuals in a particular city to talk about Django-related topics, listen to talks, write code, or just socialize -- you probably don't need to do anything.

You can use the Django name in the name of your group, provided the name is a something like "Newtown Django Users Group", "Django Newtown", "Newtown Django Club", or "Django Developers Newtown" -- something that combines the name Django with the name of the city and a description of the activities of the group.

You may not make any reference to your group being an "Official" group.

If fees are taken for attendance, you must declare how any profits will be distributed (i.e., will they be used to pay for later events, retained by organizers, or donated to the DSF?)

If your group has a logo, that logo may be formed by combining the Django logo with an image of a local landmark, or by combining the Django logo with the name of your city.

You must also adopt a code of conduct (the Ada initiative draft is a good starting point, but you can choose another code if you wish), and agree to run your event in the spirit of the Django Community code of conduct.

... I want to organize a conference?

The requirements for conference organizers are the same as those for a user group. The only additional restriction is that you may not use the name "DjangoCon" to describe your event without prior permission of the Django Software Foundation.

... I want to organize a once-off special event for Django users?

The requirements for organizers of a special event are the same as those for a user group.

... I want to sell Django merchandise?

Before you start producing merchandise that uses the Django trademark, you need to submit to the DSF the proof artwork for what you are intending to sell, and a description of the types of product that you're intending to produce (e.g. shirts, mugs, bags). The DSF will assess the artwork; if the DSF gives you permission to proceed, you may start production.

If the product is to be sold, you must also declare to customers what proportion of the profit (if any) will be contributed back to the DSF.

... I want to build a website to support the Django community?

As long as you are aiming to educate, organize or inform the Django community, you don't require any official permission. News aggregators, tutorial sites, and job boards are all examples of activities that don't require any special permission.

You may not make any claims that your site is official or endorsed, and you must not use of the official Django logo, font and colors in your web design.

If you intend to charge for access to any or all of the content on your site, you must make a declaration of what proportion of the profit made from those fees will be contributed back to the DSF.

... I want to write a book about Django?

Start writing! You don't need any permission to write a book about Django, or to use the name Django in the title of your book.

If you're just using the Django name in the title of your book (e.g., "A Crash Course in Django"), this license probably doesn't apply, as you're engaging in nominative use -- that is, you're using the name to refer to the fact that the book is about Django.

However if you want to use the Django logo on the cover of your book, you become subject to the terms of this license. That means you must declare, either on the book, or on the official website associated with the book, how profits from the sale of the book will be distributed.

Regardless of whether you use the logo or not, you can't make any implication that your book an "official" source of material.

... I want to publish an online video/course?

The same rules apply to online courses as apply to writing a book. You don't need any permission to record and sell your course, and if you're just using the Django name to indicate your course is about Django, this license doesn't apply. However, if you put the Django logo on the sales page or in opening slides, you must prominently declare how profits from the sale of the course will be distributed.

Again, you can't make any implication that your course an "official" source of material.

... I want to produce promotional materials for my book, event, website, or course?

As long as the branding of the core content is allowed under the terms of this license, then any materials you want to produce in order to promote that content is also allowed.

For example, if you are producing a book, and you want to hand out brochures to promote that book, you don't need to get special permission for the brochures. Producing a book is permitted, subject to there terms of Section 5 of the trademark license; a promotional flyer for that book is therefore also covered.

However, just as with any other use of the Django logo, you may not make any claims on the promotional material that implied your product is official or endorsed, and you must not use of the official Django logo, font and colors in the design of your promotional material.

... I want to launch a Kickstarter campaign to help Django?

For the purposes of this license, Kickstarter (or any analogous service) is a pre-sales and advertising platform. The license rules don't apply to the campaign any more than they would to any other advertising for a product or service that you are selling. However, the license rules will apply to the product you're actually trying to raise money for, and to any rewards that you're offering to donors.

So, if you're trying to raise money for a book, the license terms for a book apply, and your campaign can't violate those terms. If you're planning to develop a feature for Django itself or a Django-related library, your use falls under Section 1; you can refer to Django and use the Django logo, as long as you don't imply you're officially endorsed, and you link to the main Django project website where possible. If you're trying to raise money for an event, the license terms for an event apply. If you refrain from making statements about being official, declare where your profits are going (if necessary), and so on, you should be ok. If you're planning on producing merchandise with the Django name or logo on it as part of a contribution reward, you'll need to get pre-approval for that as well.

... my company uses Django. Can I put the Django logo on my company's website?

As long as your usage of the logo does not imply that you are an official supplier or officially endorsed by the DSF, and the logo links to the Django project homepage, you're free to use the Django logo on your website. A good example of allowed use would be a list of products your company supports or uses.

... my consulting/development company uses Django. Do I need to declare where my company profits go?

Almost certainly not. This license only applies to the use of the Django trademark, not to the use of Django itself. If you're a normal web development consultancy, your use of the Django trademark is limited to naming Django on a list of products you support and/or use, which is allowed under nominative use.

It only applies if your company name, or the domain name your company uses, incorporates the name "Django".

... I want to use the name "Django" as part of my company name?

Start thinking of another name. The DSF will not authorize the use of the name Django as part of a registered company name.

... I want to use the name "Django" as part of the name of a product sold by my company?

It depends. Trademark law allows for nominative use of a trademark. For example, if your company has a product called "Foobarnator", you could use "Django Foobarnator" or "Foobarnator for Django" to identify a specific product offering or deal appropriate for Django users.

However, you can't imply that your product is official or endorsed by the DSF, and you can't build your own trademarkable product name that incorporates Django as part of that name. For example, saying "The Django Foobarnator" would imply that yours is the only one (especially if Foobarnator is a generic term).

... I'm not happy with the way an event/group handled my code of conduct complaint?

The first line for reporting any code of conduct violation should always be the event or group organizers themselves. However, if you've done this, and you're not happy with the response you've received, contact the DSF by email: foundation@djangoproject.com and the DSF will investigate and respond. In the extreme case, this response may be to revoke the group/events license to use the Django name.

... I want to use the "dj" prefix in a name of a package/product/group/event?

Go right ahead. The DSF doesn't hold any trademark on the prefix "dj".

... I want to use the "Django Pony" image as part of some branding?

While the "Django Pony" is frequently associated with the Django Project, it isn't an official trademark of the Django project. Furthermore, the image is under copyright, and that copyright isn't held by the Django Project or the DSF. If you want to use the pony image, you need to purchase an license appropriate to your proposed usage.

... I want to use the Django name in a way that doesn't fit these license terms!

If your proposed usage of the Django name or trademark does not meet the criteria set out in this license, a specific license may be granted to your organization. Please contact foundation@djangoproject.com with the details of your proposed usage.

... I'm currently using the Django name in a way that doesn't fit these license terms!

If you are currently using the Django name in a way that violates these license terms, you need to get in touch with us. Please contact foundation@djangoproject.com with the details of your usage, and the DSF may grant you a 'grandfather' license to continue with your usage of the Django mark, subject to some conditions.

... I have some concerns about some of these license terms?

This license is intended as a set of terms that can be taken and used by everyone in the community so that the DSF doesn't need to specifically license every usage of the Django trademark. However, this license is the start of the story, not the end. If you have any questions or concerns about your possible use of the Django trademark, the DSF will be happy to clarify whether your usage meets the terms. If it doesn't, the DSF may be willing to either modify this license, or enter into a specific licensing agreement with you that will cover your specific concerns. Please contact foundation@djangoproject.com with any questions or concerns you have.

Why do you require declarations about event/product profits?

If someone is organising an event or making a product as a profit-making exercise, they're making that profit (in part) off the backs of Django project volunteers who have built that community. These individuals absolutely have the right to make a profit from their endeavours. After all, organising good events is hard, and often involves financial risk; creative activities take a lot of effort as well. However, if an individual is going to be making a profit, we'd like them to give something back to the community that put them in a position to make that profit in the first place.

The aim of the financial declaration clauses is to provide social pressure to make sure donations happen. This clause doesn't require anybody to make a donation to the DSF - there's no mandatory license fee for any use of the Django mark. However, if you want to use the Django name or logo, you do have to publicly declare that you're not giving anything back to the project. The hope is that this will provide enough social pressure to encourage some level of contribution back to the DSF.

But we're a not-for-profit community organization! Do we still have to make a declaration?

Yes. The declaration "This is a not-for-profit event" or "The NewTown Django Users Group is a not-for-profit organization" would satisfy your obligations under this license.

If you're organizing an event that may make a profit, but you're going to use that profit to help run future activities, you could declare "All profits from this event will be directed to The NewTown Django Users Group".

Can I use this trademark license as a starting point of the trademark license for my own open source project?

Creative Commons LicenseYes! The text of this trademark license is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. This means you're free to copy the license text and modify it for your own purposes, including commercial purposes, as long as you give attribution to the original text and the Django project, and you offer the same (or similar) terms to others.

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