Drupal trademark policy forthcoming

As the holder of the Drupal trademark, I've recently decided to modify the footer on drupal.org to state the fact clearly by including the wording "Drupal is a Registered Trademark of Dries Buytaert"; this is considered a common trademark practice and has been advised to me by my lawyers to clear any potential confusion.

Trademarks are important because they help prevent confusion by distinguishing one company's, community's or person's work from the products and services of another company, community or person. A trademark essentially serves as a badge of origin and is not to be confused with copyright, ownership or licenses.

Together with the Drupal Association I'm working on a permissive formal trademark policy modeled after Ubuntu's trademark policy. I'm sure you'll find it reasonable. As soon the trademark policy is available, we'll link to it from the footer on drupal.org.

Rest assured that this change is intended only to prevent the 'Drupal' name from being used out of context by overly aggressive entities. Most of you who use Drupal, commercially or otherwise, need not worry. This change will only help ensure that the effort of all the hard working Drupal contributors isn't misappropriated.

Until then, stay tuned, and enjoy using Drupal!


rz (not verified):

Just wanted to say thanks for all the hard work you and the Drupal Association are doing to bring a professional level of legitimacy to the Drupal project. As a service provider, we at Digett believe whole-heartedly in the power of Drupal, not only as a project but as a community. And now with the work of the Drupal Association, people outside of the community are more likely to take the project seriously.

November 22, 2007
PVasili (not verified):

Thanks, this news has calmed all of us.

November 22, 2007
Niko Neugebauer (not verified):

Good to hear that, Dries!

I was quite impressed seeing the footer the last couple of days. Remembering the story behind the Mambo/Joomla separation I was quite alarmed to say at least.

November 22, 2007
Anne (not verified):

Hi, does that mean that I can NOT register a domain name with the word Drupal ?

Also, if I develop a custom Drupal module can I charge a small fee for it, and distribute it under a different license ?

I know that may be this is not the best place to post these questions, but I am very confused, could you guys please, explain me or point to the right location.

November 22, 2007
sepeck (not verified):

It means Dries owns the Tradmark for Drupal and can set policy accordingly. Therefore before you register a Drupal domain name, you may want to seek permission or wait for the policy to be finalized and published.

Drupal is GPL. Any module developed to work with Drupal would therefore be GPL. This is a seperate discussion and completely unrelated to Trademark.

November 23, 2007
Anne (not verified):

Thanks for your reply.

I am still confused, I understand that this is unrelated to trademark, my question is:

If I develop a custom Drupal module, and host it in my website, can I sell this module charging a small fee and with a different license than GPL, even when I deliver the source code? The module is 100% developed by me and does not use GPL code, it only depends on Drupal core.

If you guys can clarify this, or point me to the right place where I can read more about this, that would be very good.

Thank you very much to Dries and to all the Drupal community for the hard work. I love Drupal!

November 23, 2007
webchick (not verified):

There have been many, many threads about licensing of modules. One of the more recent ones is http://lists.drupal.org/archives/development/2007-08/msg00568.html. Let's please not de-rail a thread about *trademark* (the use of the "Drupal" name) with one about *licensing* (which relates to the code).

To answer your question, though of course none of us our lawyers, the GPL FAQ [http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html] makes it pretty clear. Modules can't exist without Drupal core, and are in fact inherently intertwined in Drupal core's internals via the hook system, therefore they are derived works, and therefore they must be GPLed if they are distributed.

Nothing stops you from selling GPLed code, but nothing also stops one of your customers from buying it from you and re-distributing it on their website for free, either. :)

November 23, 2007
Anne (not verified):

I am Flash developer. What I am planning to do is selling Flash widgets that can be integrated with Drupal websites, for example, cute flash image galleries.

In some cases, I have developed an intermediary 'bridge' Drupal module to integrate Drupal with the Flash widget.

The 'bridge' module is delivered under the GPL license, of course, but I can not deliver the Flash code under a free software license.

Is it legally acceptable? Can I sell the Flash separately under a proprietary license and deliver the 'bridge' Drupal module under GPL?

Again, if this is not the right place to ask the above, please point me to the right location. Anyway, I really appreciate your help clarifying this. Thank you.

November 24, 2007

It is allowed to release a Flash widget under a non-GPL compatible license, including a proprietary license that requires users to pay in order to use or distribute the Flash widget. The Drupal bridge module should use a GPL compatible license though.

The reason is that Flash widgets run on the client, while Drupal runs on the server. From Drupal's point of view, a Flash widget is data, not executable code. As a result, Drupal's GPL license doesn't affect the Flash widget.

Note that your questions are off-topic; license issues have nothing to do with trademark law.

November 24, 2007
Rainer M√ľnchen (not verified):

Thanks for making that clear so far. We provide professional web services, including Drupal service since some weeks. So we were worrying last days.

Until you release your license policy, there will still be a rest of incertitude. So we'll keep waiting on edge.

November 25, 2007
John (not verified):

Generally, domains are considered a free speech issue. As long as you make it clear your site is not "official", you can use any domain you like. Here's a short documentary about the guy who set this precedent:


November 25, 2007
Ulco (not verified):

Smart move to file for a trademark, especially when you're growing a 'brand' like Drupal. I have no doubt that the licensing will be more then fair, as everything about Drupal :)

November 27, 2007
Nicolas Borda (not verified):

This is good news, now that I am preparing some themes I made to be contributed to drupal.org. I met you very briefly in DrupalCon this year, and i just want to say I really admire what you are doing. Did you ever think it would take a live of it's own and become this massive? Thanks again for all of your hard work, and you are an inspiration to all of us to continue working hard and contribute to our peers.

November 29, 2007
James (not verified):

Any update on the timeline for the Drupal trademark info?

May 05, 2008
jln (not verified):

Ubuntu states that you need to ask a licence to use the Ubuntu name in "a domain or URL"

I think it's really too much.

We could have some generic name/brand liberally usable by anyone in nearly any form, commercial or not. And the Drupal brand itself more protected, but not at the extend of forbidding URLs containing it !!

Think of the Mac / Apple example. You evidently can't use Apple in you company name, but you are allowed to use Mac to identify you business as a Mac company.

Think of Tux, its totally free use lead to a really interesting success.

But sure, nobody wants Microsoft calling Windows 2020 "Windows Linux" :-)

We need to balance protection with awareness.

(I have discovered and linked to this page following a question in the Drupal France group)

June 02, 2008
Matt (not verified):

Does this mean that we need to have a statement at the bottom of our pages if they are non-Drupal related but were developed with Drupal? For instance I have VB6 site does this need to have the trademark notice?

July 18, 2008
Anonymous (not verified):

Any update on this? It's been 10 months, and still no policy...

My question is, if I want to create an "aggregate" which includes both Drupal and other software, can I sell and market my aggregrate under the name DrupalPlus or something like that?

September 07, 2008
Anonymous (not verified):

Where does this stand now? Dries - can you clarify this please?

June 16, 2009
Darren (not verified):

Dries, am I permitted to use the word Drupal in a domain name?

Congrats on the new family :)

June 22, 2009
Mark (not verified):

I too would like to know if I can use Drupal in a domain name registration?

July 04, 2009