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Re: debian-multimedia.org considered harmful

Christoph Anton Mitterer <calestyo@scientia.net> writes:

> In principle you're right,.. but we start to enter a path of doom if we
> censor ourself like this...

> You'll probably be able to find thousands of places in any distro, where
> some patent troll or content mafia organisations pretend to have
> "rights" on.

Hence the Debian patent policy.

We can't just ignore things like this, nor is it responsible use of
project resources to openly flaunt disobedience to laws, however
ill-conceived.  But neither is it Debian policy to seek out trouble when
that trouble isn't forthcoming.

If you do want to be part of an organization that openly disobeys stupid
laws and makes a point of civil disobedience, more power to you.  I
personally will be cheering you on.  But the Debian Project is not that
organization, nor is it structured to be that organization (and carefully
structuring such an organization is important).  The Debian Project has
other goals, which mostly require that it work within the legal framework
that it has available while making public statements when that legal
framework interferes with project goals.

As individual developers, we can of course support a range of
organizations, from the practical and goal-oriented to those that are more
political, adversarial, or aimed at practicing civil disobedience, as we
feel is appropriate and as match our individual beliefs.  It doesn't work
for one organization to try to be all of those things at once.

The situation with decss is not new, and the project has been putting up
with it for quite a long time.  The legal situation around DRM and other
content restrictions continues to be troubling, but I don't think anything
has changed about decss recently that augurs a path of doom.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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