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Re: Who can make binding legal agreements

John Goerzen writes ("Re: Who can make binding legal agreements"):
> The other plausible interpretation is that SPI *is* on the hook, as the
> legal entity that owns servers that are distributing software.

If you use your shell account at your ISP to distribute software, and
the ISP concludes you have a licence (so lets you carry on) but that
turns out to be wrong, then the ISP is generally not liable if they're
broadly speaking reasonable.  In this particular case we've had
multiple messages from the copyright holder telling us it's OK so them
sueing us would be even more absurd.

> I'm not so sure that a court would buy the "Debian is not a legal
> entity, and SPI hasn't delegated authority, therefore neither is liable"
> argument.  But again, a question for our attorney.

The following legal entities would be liable:
 * The individual ftpmasters and/or Maintainers (who appear to have
     indemnified Sun).  It's not clear to me exactly which people a
     court would say had performed the infringing acts, but the
     Maintainers and ftpmasters are I think probably on the hook.
 * SPI if we knowingly allowed Debian to infringe copyright
    (which we are not doing because Sun has told us it's ok,
     which means even if Sun were confused or lying or something,
     we can reasonably not have known that it was infringement).

So I'm not saying that no-one would be liable.  SPI is neither a party
to the licence (it doesn't need to be because it's not doing the
distribution) nor liable for contributory infringement (because there
is no actual infringement and even if there is we don't know about


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