Re: Who can make binding legal agreements
On Wed, Jun 07, 2006 at 12:02:04PM +0100, Ian Jackson wrote:
> John Goerzen writes ("Re: Who can make binding legal agreements"):
> > The first paragraph of the license linked to by the original
> > announcement:
> > SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC. ("SUN") IS WILLING TO LICENSE THE JAVA PLATFORM
> > STANDARD EDITION DEVELOPER KIT ("JDK" - THE "SOFTWARE") TO YOU ONLY
> Yes, but who is `YOU' ? It's not SPI. SPI has not delegated to
> anyone the power to bind SPI to these contracts. It's not Debian,
> since Debian isn't a legal entity. So `you' must refer to
> the ftpmasters, mirror maintainers, users, etc. etc. etc. After all
> it's those people who are otherwise violating Sun's copyright.
That is one plausible interpretation.
The other plausible interpretation is that SPI *is* on the hook, as the
legal entity that owns servers that are distributing software.
I'm not so sure that a court would buy the "Debian is not a legal
entity, and SPI hasn't delegated authority, therefore neither is liable"
argument. But again, a question for our attorney.
> > 2) That the ftp-masters lack the legal authority to do this, in
> > which case Debian (and by extension, SPI) is in violation of the Sun
> > copyright on Java by distributing it outside the terms of a valid,
> > in-force license
> My interpretation is that the ftpmasters have (foolishly) indemnified
My point is that we don't know whose interpretation has any merit
because nobody has asked SPI's attorney about this.
Perhaps yours would turn out to be correct. Fine. Perhaps some others
But we *don't know*, because all of the people in this thread are
experts at coding, not law.