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

On Sun, Dec 05, 2004 at 05:15:50PM -0800, Bruce Perens wrote:
> Andrew M.A. Cater wrote:
> >You're looking at this from a US-centric viewpoint, Bruce, and extending 
> >this to the whole Project.
> >
> Because I am one of the people with legal responsibility for the U.S. 
> incarnation of the project. I acknowledge that there are many other 
> jurisdictions where our people can get into trouble, note my comment 
> regarding non-US not being adequate to solve the problem.
OK. We agree on this. Non-US isn't adequate or appropriate for this.

Note: the following is not specifically a comment on hot-babe itself but
on process and (my opinion on) how Debian should behave with
"questionable" packages.

1. Debian doesn't package every Linux program out there: individual
developers make a judgment call - is it DFSG-free enough or otherwise
free? Is it useful? Can I maintain it?

That shouldn't change.  If a developer is willing to put in the effort
to keep a free package up together and someone/anyone else uses it, that's
probably good enough.

2. Being packaged for Debian may, in and of itself, lead to other
distributions relying on Debian for that package.

Debian has the largest archive and is occasionally the only reasonable
place to find obscure source. That needn't change. The comments on the
front of the latest Linux Weekly News are also germane here - Debian
should probably also be as inclusive as possible [paraphrased]. 

3. The Debian Project has no religious, moral or political bias 
nor does it practice censorship. It is an international project with
developers worldwide and therefore does not seek to discriminate against 
any class of users.  A measure of discretion is advised: some packages may 
offend some people, others may be illegal/inappropriate to distribute in 
some jurisdictions or are otherwise encumbered. The Project itself is 
non-profit making: its assets are held on its behalf by a separate body (SPI)
incorporated in the State of New York in the USA.

Individuals are left to self-censor.  It wouldn't actually hurt to put
the above paragraph or something similar up somewhere on the front of the 

> >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.
> > 
> >
> That is two different issues: 1: Developers should respect each other. 

It's not two separate issues. Developers owe respect to each other and
to their eventual users. Part of this respect consists in knowing that
opinions differ and that others may hold different views: there can
never be unanimous agreement on what is right or proper for every Debian
user. My preferences and prejudices and my outlook on life don't qualify
me to censor anyone else or unilaterally to censure details of their 
behaviour: I would hope that others would treat me with similar respect.

> 2: Developers in various localities can get in legal hot water due to 
> the conduct of other developers who don't run the same risk. I would 
> hope that respect for each other includes doing what we can to keep the 
> other guy out of hot water.

This is primarily an issue of cultural respect and localisation and
could readily be treated as such. People may not have the choice of
regime / government they wish or the appropriate freedoms that others of
us may enjoy: the translators and localisation teams should perhaps work 
with local users to produce agreed and appropriate subsets of Debian for 
specific conditions. This isn't censorship per se: Debian is not being forced 
to "stop distributing" e.g. package foo but the users and translators can 
produce a Debian tailored for local sensitivities/politics less package foo 
or with a country-specific warning tag on foo. Regime change can happen
quickly as the history of the last thirty five years shows: restrictions
in place today may be irrelevant eventually.  We may wish to produce a
fully free universal operating system but be constrained by force
majeure in some cases in the interim.

It may also be appropriate to ask users to report legal concerns to the
supplier of their CD / their country's mirror operators for onward
transmission back to Debian and wider consideration.  A mirror operator
who could show some element of self-censorship and a responsible
attitude to problems might therefore be in better standing in countries
where unrestricted internet access/use is seen as a problem.

> In the U.S. we mostly want to know about New York, where we are 
> incorporated, and the Federal government, which has jurisdiction for 
> interstate commerce.

Debian is international and has a wide presence both inside and, more
importantly, _outside_ the US. Please deal with that concept :)

> And yes, there are 220 other countries, but there are other industries 
> that have had to deal with that problem: book publishing and film.

I think you'll find that, in many cases, book publishers and film
producers side-step the problem by not distributing in some countries or
not translating their books.  Certainly, local translators will normally
seek local opinion.  

Debian, with no centralised presence, is a more difficult case: if I'm in e.g. 
Tana-Tuva where foo is illegal but I download it from the Netherlands (which in turn mirrors it from the US) - where is my offence committed and who does my 
government go after?  

Practical and technical measures have been suggested: use tags, use scripting 
to restrict country specific mirrors, customise jigdo. Let's do it: I
don't see any reason why we can't produce a distribution for the whole
of the known world if the will is there - but lets at least release
Sarge first.

> You could start by searching on Amazon to see if people in those 
> industries have written any books on the topic.
The problem is that those folk won't know enough breadth to cover
Debian's worldwide remit.


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