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Re: Questionable image process. Was: Re: Bug#283578: ITP: hot-babe -- (abusive?) erotic images in Debian

On Sat, Dec 04, 2004 at 04:31:03PM -0800, Bruce Perens wrote:
> David Weinehall wrote:
> >
> >You *really* need to have a look at the pictures.  All of your
> >argumentation below about pron neatly goes *wooosh*.
> >
> I'll take your word. However, we seem to be lacking some process here. I 
> don't have a guideline at hand regarding what can and can not be 
> distributed to minors, with impunity, in various places. Lacking that, 
> we should probably have a procedure in place to run any questionable 
> images and dialogue by our volunteer counsel simply to get a call 
> regarding how much trouble they could make for the project and its 
> members. The goal is to be able to say that we distributed the image on 
> advice of counsel, which can help us if the image gets us in court later on.
You're looking at this from a US-centric viewpoint, Bruce, and extending
this to the whole Project.  We have these flamewars erupt every now
and again - remember deity/apt or the purity package? - but they never
achieve anything.  Somewhere else in the thread I made the point that
people have to respect each other and that everyone using Debian is
subject to local laws.

Advice of US counsel means very little.  There are 50 states in the
Union plus Puerto Rico and US dependencies - that's US law and even
then, I doubt you'd get consensus from a lawyer in each state. Then
there's Federal law. I trained as an English lawyer twenty odd years
ago: but, relatively locally, I'd have to deal with three sets of
Channel Islands, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and
Gibraltar - all different jurisdictions subject, broadly, to similar
legal provisions.  Then there's EU law :(

Obscenity in England is, effectively, "that which is likely to deprave
and corrupt" - there is no absolute standard and each case is taken on
its merits. I wouldn't like to second-guess which side of the line each
Debian package may fall - but would be more than happy to suggest
caution and common sense where appropriate.  No one is _forced_ to
install any Debian package outside the barest minimum: any package
installation is normally a conscious act of choice: if warned, they can
make a more appropriate decision for them and their circumstances.

There is no appropriate international guideline on what can be
distributed to minors.  In Germany and Brazil, you've to watch out for
all games. In England, most minors are probably OK with most games.
In Germany/Austria/France I'd have to watch out for Nazi imagery.
Images of bare-breasted women dancers might be OK in Swaziland - but out
for much of the rest of the world ...

Tag package descriptions: hot-babe : Contains cartoon imagery
which may offend some users. Discretion advised.

Work out a mirror exclusion mechanism. Ask local users most likely to be
affected. This does not cast moral judgments on the suitability or
otherwise of each individual package for Debian as a whole but may 
influence what individuals are safe putting on their machines.

I have to think about this every time I update a machine at work - do I
put on fortunes-off - probably not. If I install the GIMP for an
appropriate purpose and it inadvertently contains a questionable image 
as an example buried somewhere obscure, I'm not as worried: my co-workers 
are adults, I can demonstrate a business case for installing/using GIMP 
and the primary purpose of GIMP is not to display questionable images. 

This would change, potentially, if I were subject to intensive Internet 
monitoring / heavy religious policing, for example.  In such a case, we 
might be better off making no warranties and only distributing Debian 
installer disks to certain countries, for example.

Interestingly enough, many people might agree on what could be regarded
as appropriate - is there scope for a Debian-conservative /
Debian-filtered custom Debian distribution for those that wish
it/require it?

> How counsel reports back may be complicated due to issues of 
> attorney-client privilege. We probably want to be able to maintain 
> privilege so that we don't have to report to a court what we discussed 
> with our attorney. It's not yet clear to me that stuff we post to 
> debian-private is still under privilege. I'd have to ask our lawyer.
>    Thanks
>    Bruce
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