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Re: Who can make binding legal agreements

OK, I'll chime in. I just hope I'm not making matters worse.
First, obligatory disclaimers: I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a Debian developer, I'm not a new maintainer applicant either. And I'm certainly not going to make demands on anybody. I'm a resident of Norway, so that is the legal system I am least ignorant about.

First question: Who is legally liable for including the packages? I don't think we can rule out either of the ftp masters personally, Debian or SPI.

Second question: Has a binding legal agreement been made? Indeed it has. Ftp-masters are empowered by Debian to include packages in the archive. They are without question agents of Debian. Debian must accept the legal consequences of their agents' actions, provided they stay within their authority. *If* SPI can be legally identified with Debian, SPI is also bound.

In fact, if SPI can be legally identified with Debian, SPI is bound whenever an ftp-master includes a new package. As far as I understand, it is normal not to consult SPI before including a package, even if the license has not previously been used in the archive.

So what I think John Goerzen is arguing is that the ftp-masters ought to have understood that this situation was exceptional, and have consulted SPI, both out of courtesy, and as a source of legal expertise. That's a reasonable position. Anthony Towns rightly doesn't want to institute an SPI right of veto over Debian. But I don't think anybody is asking for that.

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