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Re: [Debconf-team] DebConf 15 Legal Entity

On Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 4:32 PM, martin f krafft <madduck@debian.org> wrote:
> also sprach Brian Gupta <brian.gupta@brandorr.com> [2014-04-24 21:29 +0200]:
>> Unless I am misunderstanding something, I don't think DE-based
>> sponsors team members will be approaching companies with the name
>> of the local clearing organization, and it's likely they'll only
>> hear the name of your e.v. on the invoice after they have agreed
>> to sponsor.
> It's all a matter of how you play things. I wouldn't differentiate
> amongst members of the sponsors team, but I sure would suggest to
> use the new non-profit as the correspondent for DE-based sponsors.

(Speaking with debconf-sponsors-team hat on).

Well, typically we have, and will want to continue clearing donations
from many repeat sponsors through a long term TO, like SPI.

I say this because I have heard directly from multiple repeat sponsors
that adding new "vendors" to their purchasing/payment systems is a
huge pain, and that asking them to switch from year to year puts an
undo burden on our friends working for said sponsors who are actually
clearing the payments.

Please note I am talking about companies that are big enough to have
a purchasing dept. and a payments system. This largely doesn't impact
smaller companies. For smaller companies we generally just need to
give them a way to donate in a currency they are comfortable with.

When we approach new potential sponsors, I'd say that we need to be
cognizant of this, when deciding which Trusted Org to use to invoice that
sponsor. (It's not all about what's easiest for us, and we really need to
factor in the the sponsors needs into our decision making.)

Reading ahead in the thread, there is a lot of talk about the name of the
clearing organization impacting whether we got sponsors or not. I have
not seen this, but would ask DC13 local team members if they saw any
such effect when approaching local sponsors. (I'd be surprised if we

>> IE: All else being equal please use the DebConf15 name, as if you
>> are in fact planning on dissolving it after the conference,
> We are not planning that. We are also not planning to maintain it.
> We are purposely leaving options, especially since FFIS still has
> not replied.

Please remind us what question is outstanding to FFIS?

>> I'd also say that I'd personally be pretty uncomfortable with an
>> organization that isn't a Trusted Organization using Debian as
>> part of it's legal name. (It's been made clear that DC15 bid team
>> does not agree that this organization should apply for TO status.
> I have not made this clear, but this was not a team position, it was
> mine. We have not discussed this in the team.
> I don't think that a DC-entity is a TO in the sense that
> it is not a fiduciary. I've said all this. A DC-entity is an entity
> set up to manage various aspect of a specific project, and it is
> governed by a budget; it does not hold assets.
> If the entity were to continue past DC15 and would assume management
> of Debian funds, of course it would become a TO, at least by today's
> standards.
> And I am not going to stand in the way of anyone in the DC15 team
> working through the TO criteria. I just don't think it's optimal to
> use a concept intended to control something different every time
> money is involved. I'd rather spend the time rethinking governance,
> which would also solve this.

(Speaking with trademark-team hat on).

Richard stating that "the Debian name helps find sponsors" does not
constitute "Permission from the trademark team". I'll add that current
trademark policy expressly forbids using "Debian" in the name of a
company or organization, so I'd encourage you to consider doing this
only if you feel this is essential. [1]

If you still feel strongly that it is important to use the trademark
in a way that is not authorized by policy, one can ask for an
exception to the policy, by submitting a formal "trademark use
request" as outlined in policy [1].

No use request has been submitted, and the trademark team has yet to
discuss. I'll also add that since we haven't had one of these types of
requests before, I don't know what the answer would likely to be, or
how quickly we can get an answer back, as we haven't done the legal
research yet, and would likely need legal blessing from our attorney
after the team comes to a consensus. (We'll also need DPL signoff on
whatever our recommendation is, as trademark team is not yet a formal


[1] - https://www.debian.org/trademark

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