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Re: Debian and Trusted Associations, again

On 13/07/12 00:38, Luca Capello wrote:
Hi there!

For the DPL, the original email is at:

  [🔎] 87zk75pkcz.fsf@meteor.durcheinandertal.bofh"><mid:[🔎] 87zk75pkcz.fsf@meteor.durcheinandertal.bofh>

On Thu, 12 Jul 2012 15:48:44 +0200, Daniel Pocock wrote:
On 12/07/12 08:24, Gaudenz Steinlin wrote:
Thanks Daniel for the initial translation. I commited your version to
the debian-ch git repository [1]. I also did some improvements. I also
have some questions, see below:

[1] http://anonscm.debian.org/gitweb/?p=debian-ch/docs.git;a=summary

The Debian Project Leader may direct the way in which the assets held
the german version says "all the assets", corrected in git

the association are used. (translation note: does not distinguish
project assets from assocation's operating account/assets)
Why should it or what's the difference? 

Clause 2.2:

"The Society holds on behalf of the Debian project assets in Switzerland
and Liechtenstein."

In particular, "on behalf of" gives the suggestion that it is holding
assets for a third party
FTR, there is no *legal* third party given that AFAIK Debian as an
official association does not exist.


I agree that nobody has asserted that Debian exists as a legal entity.  However, these points may be relevant:

- debian.org is registered to SPI

- From www.debian.org: "Debian is a registered trademark of Software in the Public Interest, Inc. "

Someone could argue that Debian is therefore a trading name or business name of SPI, and therefore SPI is the legal entity.  I feel it is better to make such things clear rather than leaving it for someone to dispute in the future.

Such assets may be distinct from the assets of the association:

- someone makes a donation to the association: asset of debian.ch - but
of course, debian.ch can choose to use this money for the Debian project
If I read correctly the Debian Constitution v1.4, this is only possible
if the donation is specifically marked with a "also for non-Debian
stuff", see § 9.2.2:


--8<---------------cut here---------------start------------->8---
9. Assets held in trust for Debian

   In most jurisdictions around the world, the Debian project is not in a
   position to directly hold funds or other property. Therefore, property
   has to be owned by any of a number of organisations as detailed in

   Traditionally, SPI was the sole organisation authorized to hold
   property and monies for the Debian Project. SPI was created in the U.S.
   to hold money in trust there.

   SPI and Debian are separate organisations who share some goals. Debian
   is grateful for the legal support framework offered by SPI.

  9.1. Relationship with Associated Organizations

    1. Debian Developers do not become agents or employees of
       organisations holding assets in trust for Debian, or of each other,
       or of persons in authority in the Debian Project, solely by the
       virtue of being Debian Developers. A person acting as a Developer
       does so as an individual, on their own behalf. Such organisations
       may, of their own accord, establish relationships with individuals
       who are also Debian developers.

  9.2. Authority

    1. An organisation holding assets for Debian has no authority
       regarding Debian's technical or nontechnical decisions, except that
       no decision by Debian with respect to any property held by the
       organisation shall require it to act outside its legal authority.
    2. Debian claims no authority over an organisation that holds assets
       for Debian other than that over the use of property held in trust
       for Debian.

  9.3. Trusted organisations

   Any donations for the Debian Project must be made to any one of a set
   of organisations designated by the Project leader (or a delegate) to be
   authorized to handle assets to be used for the Debian Project.

   Organisations holding assets in trust for Debian should undertake
   reasonable obligations for the handling of such assets.


This seems messy to me: a real trust must have a beneficiary, and a beneficiary may need to have some legal status of it's own.

   Debian maintains a public List of Trusted Organisations that accept
   donations and hold assets in trust for Debian (including both tangible
   property and intellectual property) that includes the commitments those
   organisations have made as to how those assets will be handled.
--8<---------------cut here---------------end--------------->8---

IMHO if the above is not clear from the current bylaws we need to
clearly define it, considering obvious that:

a) the money needed to run the association is the only possible

b) "for the Debian project" means all kind of activities related to
   Debian, including BSPs, release parties, (Mini-)DebConfs, etc...

Moreover, I would say that debian.ch SHOULD USE the money it has for the
Debian project only, for the very simple reason of the 'debian' word
present in the association name (see the trademark remark below).


I don't want to dispute any of that - just to clarify it

- someone buys a T-shirt, the T-shirt has the Debian logo, the logo is
owned by SPI, so the money from the sale may be considered an asset of
the Debian project from the moment of the sale
Please, the next time be a bit more precise about which logo are you
talking about, since there are three different ones I see three
different situations:


1) the plain swirl can be used by anyone under the "Debian Open Use Logo
   License" without any need to credit or give something back to SPI;

2) the "Debian" word, albeit being under the same license as the swirl,
   is trademarked by SPI, so there should be some restrictions;

3) the "full" logo (the swirl with the ) is under the "Debian Official
   Use Logo License" proprietary license, which grant its use for
   no-profit merchandise only to official members of the Debian Project.
   If I am correct, this means that using it as debian.ch would be not
   allowed, which is IMHO wrong since debian.ch has already an official
   relation with the Debian Project (as any other Trusted
   Organizations), so I guess if this should be corrected in the license

I think this relationship between the association and the project is not
clear enough in the document - but the important point to remember is
that the association is an independent entity.
IANAL, but IMHO the latter is not true from a legal point of view, given
that debian.ch has been allowed the use of the Debian trademark:


Maybe the translated document should include an appendix with those details, and some reference to it in section 2?

Thx, bye,
Gismo / Luca
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