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Re: Who can make binding legal agreements

On Wednesday 07 June 2006 06:45, Russ Allbery wrote:
> 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.

As you written in a previous message (look below), *Debian* does not legally 
exists (e.g. it is not juristical), but there are legal entities behind 
Debian which could be legally involved ... or you believe in bare words given 
in the DLJ FAQ with no legal value like: "Of course, if Sun clearly says in 
an FAQ that it's okay to do something (and we haven't made a blatant 
typographical error), we're not going to sue you -- even if one could make a 
clever legal argument that the license doesn't permit it. We believe in 
simplicity and transparency, and pledge to work diligently with the community 
to achieve those objectives."

> >> *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.

I didn't say it is exactly SPI (I'm no so competent), but it is one of the 
candidates which could be legally involved. In fact I said "the first legal 
entity behind Debian having assests to indemnify them". In the worst scenario 
they will be just interested someone to indemnify them, and that's all.

> (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.)

I'll use the case to thank you for your software bits, but I believe hackers 
are not so good when it comes to legal tips & trick ;-)

> 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.

That's also true, but I believe that exposure to certain legal risks could be 

pub 4096R/0E4BD0AB 2003-03-18 <people.fccf.net/danchev/key pgp.mit.edu>
fingerprint 1AE7 7C66 0A26 5BFF DF22 5D55 1C57 0C89 0E4B D0AB 

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