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Re: Debian UK

Henning Makholm <henning@makholm.net> writes:

> Scripsit Stephen Frost <sfrost@snowman.net>
>>> It seems that you are under the impression that the activities such as the
>>> selling of T-shirts are done for the purpose of raising money.  (Not
>>> surprising given the spin that MJ Ray's been putting on it)
>> It doesn't actually make any difference at all to me.  The issue here is
>> that you're operating commercially while trying to appear as part of
>> Debian.
> How can you continue claiming that Philip's activities are commercial,
> in response to the very paragraph where he patiently explains that
> they are not?

In the UK, "Selling stuff" *is* a commercial activity.

What the intentions of the organisation is, or claims to be, doesn't
enter into it.

This reminds me of the belief Universities have that their use of
material covered by the patents of others doesn't matter, because
University research is "non-commercial". Of course, since Madey vs Duke,
in the US there is precedent that research at Universities *is*
commercial, since (amongst other things) they raise money to do it, and
raise money from the results of it.

The intentions of Debian-UK seem good. But without a legal framework
that will actually hold water against the various issues around
"buying-and-selling" (which we sometimes call "doing business" or "being
commercial") then frankly you are legally better off with one person
sticking the money in a box under their bed.

(At least then they are a sole trader...) 

I agree that worrying about this stuff sounds stupid; at least until you
have to go through PAYE, tax, NI, VAT and so forth. If you manage to
avoid it - good luck to you. But saying "our intentions are good" does
not carry much weight during a punitive tax audit. And, frankly, given
the recent antics of some of the anti-Free-software movement, having an
organisation that is this vulnerable to trivial business legal
shenanigans seems about as sensible as having code without licenses in

cheers, Rich

> -- 
> Henning Makholm       "`Update' isn't a bad word; in the right setting it is
>                  useful. In the wrong setting, though, it is destructive..."
> -- 
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rich walker         |  Shadow Robot Company | rw@shadow.org.uk
technical director     251 Liverpool Road   |
need a Hand?           London  N1 1LX       | +UK 20 7700 2487

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