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Re: The bigger issue is badly licensed blobs (was Re: Firmware poll

Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> wrote: [...]
> On Wed, Aug 30, 2006 at 08:26:56PM -0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> > Should the ftpmasters, who have even less legal expertise,
> Judging by some of the nonsense that debian-legal is typically riddled with,

It's generally quite easy to spot the nonsense.  Look for telltale signs like:
1. over-use of authoritative statements and guesswork (such as 'many people
X' or 'most people X' instead of 'some people X') to support a weak argument;
2. refusing to explain reasoning which leads to a conclusion;
3. failure to give references to past discussions unless pressed.

(Observant readers will have spotted parts of 1, 2 and 3 in support of
several of the proposed GRs.)

It's a shame that we have to play 'spot the nonsense' but that's how the
weakly-moderated debian lists seem to work when the cost of gathering
data about the possible solutions is so high.

> if I were an ftpmaster I would find that claim insulting.

Could it be insulting but accurate?  Brains out on the table, please!
How many ftpmasters:
a) have previously been involved in copyright cases;
b) have previously been involved in trademark or patent cases;
c) are currently studying for a legal qualification; or
d) are currently employed as legal experts?

> The only claim to expertise that debian-legal has is in the area of
> analyzing license terms and how they stack up against the requirements of
> the DFSG.  That is an important function, but it is *not* legal expertise.

There have been debian-legal contributors in each of the above categories,
(examples OTTOMH:
 a. me
 c. http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2006/06/msg00197.html
 d. http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2006/08/msg00133.html
) although some don't stick around long because of the 'spot the nonsense'
contests.  The qualified experts are mostly quiet in the DFSG-comparison
threads, as that's mostly not a legal expertise subject and tends to draw
quite offensive personal abuse from some contributors.  Some other stuff,
like permission to distribute, is more obviously linked to law.

Hope that explains,
My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
Please follow http://www.uk.debian.org/MailingLists/#codeofconduct

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