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Re: Debian's status as a legal entity and how it could effect a potential defense.



Andrew Suffield wrote:
Is Debian a legal entity? The answer is unquestionably yes.
    

Where do you get these ideas? Debian is unquestionably not a legal
entity.
  
There is simply no way to avoid being one.
  
An unincorporated association is what your organization is until you go 
through a legal process to change it into something else. It is a legal 
entity. It can sue and be sued, and its members can be criminally 
prosecuted in connection with it. It passes most of its liability on to 
the people associated with it. We don't have any hope of proving that 
Debian is not an organization.
    

Guilt by association went out with the middle ages, along with witch
hunts. These days you cannot be held responsible for events beyond
your control. And Debian was carefully built in a manner that prevents
any question of one developer controlling another.

This is precisely what we want and it's also precisely what we
have. Debian is a loose aggregation of individuals who are
individually responsible for their own actions.
  
It is one thing to profess how you want the organization to be and another to actually convince a court to treat you that way. The reality is that we are many people working in concert to create and distribute many pieces of of software that fit together into a coherent system. The intent of the organization is to create the system rather than the individual pieces. This makes each of us vulnerable to some extent.

    Thanks

    Bruce

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