Re: Who can make binding legal agreements
OK, I'll chime in. I just hope I'm not making matters worse.
First, obligatory disclaimers: I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a Debian
developer, I'm not a new maintainer applicant either. And I'm certainly
not going to make demands on anybody. I'm a resident of Norway, so that
is the legal system I am least ignorant about.
First question: Who is legally liable for including the packages? I
don't think we can rule out either of the ftp masters personally, Debian
Second question: Has a binding legal agreement been made? Indeed it has.
Ftp-masters are empowered by Debian to include packages in the archive.
They are without question agents of Debian. Debian must accept the legal
consequences of their agents' actions, provided they stay within their
authority. *If* SPI can be legally identified with Debian, SPI is also
In fact, if SPI can be legally identified with Debian, SPI is bound
whenever an ftp-master includes a new package. As far as I understand,
it is normal not to consult SPI before including a package, even if the
license has not previously been used in the archive.
So what I think John Goerzen is arguing is that the ftp-masters ought to
have understood that this situation was exceptional, and have consulted
SPI, both out of courtesy, and as a source of legal expertise. That's a
reasonable position. Anthony Towns rightly doesn't want to institute an
SPI right of veto over Debian. But I don't think anybody is asking for that.