[IAEP] Scratch license

Tom Hoffman tom.hoffman at gmail.com
Tue Nov 11 22:34:28 EST 2008

Hi Bill,

Here's how it works.  Scratch is, or should be a trademark.  Only MIT,
or people they give permission to, can use it.  Anyone else can fork
their code, but they can't call it Scratch without permission.  An
example of this is from the Apache License:

6. Trademarks.  This License does not grant permission to use the
trade names, trademarks, service marks, or product names of the
Licensor, except as required for the reasonable and customary use in
describing the origin of the Work and reproducing the content of the
NOTICE file.

Mozilla has very strict terms for trademark use -- so much so that it
is called Iceweasel in Debian:

I suspect Scratch would want to find some language which says "you may
only call this Scratch if you have not modified the source."
Ultimately, IANAL, and I don't know *exactly* how to do it, but it is
in this ballpark.


On Tue, Nov 11, 2008 at 9:42 PM, Bill Kerr <billkerr at gmail.com> wrote:
> Mitch Resnick responded to my query as follows. I replied by saying I was
> not an expert on licensing and / or open source but that people on the IAEP
> list (and Tom) would be certain to provide some useful feedback.
> "Hi Bill. To be honest, we've had a lot of uncertainty about what type of
> license is best for Scratch. We don't have any problem allowing commercial
> use of the Scratch binary (and are planning to update the license
> accordingly). But several people in our group have reservations about
> allowing commercial use of the Scratch source code. One main reason: We are
> concerned about multiple forks that could be confusing to users. We have put
> a lot of effort into building an online community around Scratch, so we
> don't want the community to fragment. Also, Scratch is based on some core
> educational ideas, and we are worried that alternate versions might not be
> consistent with these educational ideas, thus muddying the educational
> message underlying Scratch.
> Our current thinking is to create our own Linux version of Scratch, and then
> allow commercial use of the source (since we feel that there will be less
> reason for people to make forks, once we have create an "official" Linux
> version of Scratch).
> But, as I said, we're not sure about this reasoning. We'd be interested to
> hear your opinion. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions?
> Mitch Resnick (for the MIT Scratch Team)"
> On Sun, Nov 9, 2008 at 12:19 PM, Bill Kerr <billkerr at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I have edited my initial post on this thread and posted to the Scratch
>> forum:
>> http://scratch.mit.edu/forums/viewtopic.php?pid=76772#p76772
>> (also forwarded a copy to mitch resnick and invited him to comment here)

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