Re: Debian UK (was Re: What the DFSG really says about trademarks)
Steve Langasek <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> I confess to being puzzled by this persistent use of the term "business"
DUS is an enterprise generating income from commercial sale of goods.
Whatever else you want to call it, "business" seems accurate.
> AFAICT, the Debian UK Society does not have any employees that it
The last discussion I remember of that was
and isn't conclusive, but I think you're correct.
> it does not appear to hold any assets, except those which are held
> in trust for Debian -- AIUI, the stated purpose for its creation; it has
> no shareholders who stand to profit, either from dividends or from sale
> of their shares;
Neither of those stop it being a business. Some social enterprises
share those features. Some members benefit from DUS money, but it's
not a limited company with obvious and explicit shareholders.
> and it does not engage in any lucrative activities of
> which the society itself is a benefactor, seeing that revenue from CD
> sales is donated to Debian.
DUS spends on itself, which is necessary in its current setup.
>From the last three treasurer's reports:
Items for sale 1718.00
Lunch at show 22.82
DPL expenses 230.37
buildd hardware 135.14
> So the society is certainly a
> /corporation/, but if it's a business it's a piss-poor one.
A corporation is a legal person which can own stuff itself and
so on. DUS is an unincorporated association and not a corporation.
How is DUS not a business? Not even a not-for-profit one?
> SPI is a corporation, but not a business; and from what I understand of
> such things, SPI could also not be considered a charity under UK law.)
Why not, just out of interest? It seems to act for the benefit
of the community and I didn't notice any obvious exclusion.
> It's still a fair question whether we want national non-profit
> affiliates that hold assets on our behalf to use the Debian trademark,
> but this "business" business looks like one bloodshot doozy of a red
It's a pain to keep typing "unincorporated association that
sells goods" but "charity" seems inaccurate at present and "society"
seems to suggest to many that it's non-commercial.
> > In general, I think a group now should be called debian only if:
> > 1. it's a debian subproject, OR
> > 2. it's a local charity and got consensus BEFORE trading, OR
> > 3. it's outside the scope of trademark infringement,
> > because these things have big potential to reflect on debian.
> > 1 offers debian some influence, 2 should ensure minimal "good
> > governance" and debian influence and 3 we can't do much about.
> Why should *charities* get special consideration, anyway? Being a
> charity doesn't automatically make them aligned with Debian's goals.
Indeed, which is why debian should reach consensus before they
trade. I think charities should get some special consideration
because law enforces some level of openness and honour not
required of other organisations.
> I think any local org using the Debian name should be accountable to the
> DPL for the use of that name, if that's what you mean by being a "Debian
> subproject"; but then, a simple revocable trademark license seems to
> wholly achieve that.
By debian subproject, I mean one of the things that follows the
general ideas of:
1. announcement and open discussion before its creation;
2. voluntary participation of debian developers;
3. support from some other key debian groups; and
4. accountable to the wider project;
which are mostly outlined in the draft subproject howto.
DUS was kept quiet pre-launch and has automatic membership.
The DPL should not allow DUS the debian trademark yet.
MJ Ray (slef), K. Lynn, England, email see http://mjr.towers.org.uk/