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Re: a legal problem with 'filters' in germany

On Fri, Oct 22, 2004 at 07:24:02PM +0200, martin f krafft wrote:
> please refer to #277794. One single line needs to be erased from the
> package because otherwise, the package is unconstitutional in
> Germany (and Austria). I consulted a lawyer about this. She says
> that *theoretically*, a German mirror operator could get jail-time
> for this. No accusation means no punishment, but it would be
> possible.
> Joey Hess is refusing to do anything about it. Please advise.

> It's § 86 of the StBG[0]. And yes, for providing or installing it,
> you could go to jail in Germany. Thus, it makes this software
> non-free. Please apply the patch.

A broken law in Germany prohibiting the utterance of a pair of words
does not make something non-free.  If that line of logic held--"if
the software is illegal in any jurisdiction, it's non-free"--then I'm
sure just about all software would be non-free.

Now, it may be that we want to grumble and remove it, anyway.  Adjustments
are often made for individual jurisdictions (most commonly the US) to
accomodate bullshit local law.  However, this is not in any way an issue of
"DFSG-freeness"[1], so please don't try to turn it into one.

Out of curiosity, how far does this extend?  Would the same apply if
there was a "list-archive" set of packages in Debian, containing this
message ("Sieg Heil!"), or an "important-bug-report-archive", containing
the text of #277794, or a "/usr/share/dict/phrases-de" containing a
set of two-word phrases?  In other words, to what extent are you asking
Debian to expunge this pair of words?

[1] "non-free" in the context of Debian almost always means "non-free
according to the DFSG and Social Contract", or "DFSG-free"; if that's
not what you meant, please qualify it.

Glenn Maynard

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