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Re: Who can make binding legal agreements

George Danchev <danchev@spnet.net> writes:
> On Wednesday 07 June 2006 06:11, Russ Allbery wrote:

>> You believe that it's pretty clear that *SPI* is distributing the
>> software?  Could you trace your reasoning here?

> Nobody said that and you know it.

Uh, well, believe it or not, that really did seem to me to be what John
Goerzen was worried about.  It looked to me like he was concerned that SPI
was legally involved in this situation and had legal responsibility for
the distribution, and I don't see how that possibly could be the case.

>> *Debian* does not legally exist, and therefore cannot possibly be
>> illegally distributing software.

> I'm sorry, but that's really a poor agrument to stand after.

That's not an argument, it's an observation of fact.  My argument can be
found elsewhere in this thread and basically amounts to "I think y'all are
making a mountain out of a molehill, but more importantly, it's not my job
to decide and as a Debian developer I think allowing people to do the jobs
they're responsible for is important."

Certainly given the controversy, I think it would be a smart move for the
ftp-masters to see if they can avail themselves of the legal opinion of
SPI counsel if for no other reason than that it's about the only thing
that stands a chance of stopping this extended thread.

> Physically Debian distributes that software and some is found to be
> illigally distributed or the indemnify clause could be triggered in any
> way, then ligal actions could be performed against <your options are,
> you guess>:

> * the persons who actually put it there - no assets, so of no any
> interest for them
> * the first legal entity behind Debian having assests to indemnify them

> p.s. remember SCO vs. IBM, not vs. single persons with no big assets to 
> provide.

SPI isn't exactly floating in money either.  If you're going to bring up
SCO vs. IBM scenarios, the entity sued would almost certainly be one of
the mirror providers with a corporate entity behind them, or an involved
DD who could be said to be working under the aegis of their corporate job.
(Like, say, suing Stanford for my work on AFS or Kerberos packages, since
some of my work on Debian is for my job with Stanford.  And indeed,
Stanford has liability insurance for things like that, I believe.)

However, I don't think we get very far trying to avoid taking any action
that might result in someone like SCO suing someone who works on Debian.
We end up with contorted logic and bizarre restrictions and then people
get sued anyway because SCO is after public relations, not a winnable
legal case.

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

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