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Re: SGI Free SW license 1.1 compatability with Xfree86 style license

On Mon, Jul 17, 2000 at 03:33:26AM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> Unfortunately, the term "indemnify" has (at least) two distinct meanings:
> From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:
>   Indemnify \In*dem"ni*fy\ (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Indemnified
>      (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Indemnifying (?).] [L. indemnis unhurt
>      (in- not + damnum hurt, damage) + -fy. Cf. Damn, Damnify.]
>      1. To save harmless; to secure against loss or damage; to
>         insure. The states must at last engage to the merchants
>         here that they will indemnify them from all that shall
>         fall out.                                   --Sir W.
>                                                     Temple.
>      2. To make restitution or compensation for, as for that which
>         is lost; to make whole; to reimburse; to compensate.
>         --Beattie.
> Generally, in my limited and armchair experience, licenses and warranty
> statements mean "indemnify" in sense 1).  However I would very much hate to
> be on the losing site of a court case and hear a judge tell me it means
> 2)...
> Perhaps one of the resident amateur legal eagles can clarify this in the
> contexts of contract law or tort theory.

I can only offer that contract law does state rather promiently and simply
(which I'll grant is a rather rare occurance *g*) that in cases where the
meaning of language in a contract is ambiguous, the legal interpretation
of that language shall be in the manner most favorable to the licensee.

So while Debian has a history of looking at things from a worst case for
the licensee standpoint, legally it turns out to be best case if it ever
makes it to court.  Of course, who wants to risk going to court over it?
Debian's pessimistic view of licenses is the most effective means we have
of making sure that doesn't happen.

So in my non-legal opinion (IANAL after all), we're safe to assume the
first definition, unless we're worried that the second may have been the
intent and we'd rather not have to have a court decide the first is
correct possibly after an expensive court battle.  I think we're probably
okay myself.

Joseph Carter <knghtbrd@debian.org>               GnuPG key 1024D/DCF9DAB3
Debian GNU/Linux (http://www.debian.org/)         20F6 2261 F185 7A3E 79FC
The QuakeForge Project (http://quakeforge.net/)   44F9 8FF7 D7A3 DCF9 DAB3

<wichert> solaris is bsd, so it should work
* Espy takes wichert's crack pipe away

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