[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Debian and Trusted Associations, again (was: English translation (unofficial/non-legal) of the by-laws)

Hi everybody, I did not read the entire thread and it's not entirely
clear if you are seeking specific input of mine (if this is the case,
please say so). So let me just clarify a couple of points that might be
useful to your discussion.

On Fri, Jul 13, 2012 at 12:38:15AM +0200, Luca Capello wrote:
> > 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.

Correct. Or, to be more precise, under *many jurisdictions* Debian as a
project has no juridical existence, even though some jurisdictions
around the world might acknowledge it.

> > - 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:

On this, there are two aspects that intertwine. The Debian Constitution
and the by-laws of the involved organization (which you're discussion,
AFAICT). From the point of view of Debian, and by default, i.e. before
any kind of blanket authorizations are considered, we expect to have a
clearly defined set of asset that the organization holds for Debian. On
that set, the decision authority is Debian through the DPL as its
representative. It is Debian who decides what to do with that stuff and
it is the organization who executes those decisions. This way of
functioning is fundamental to maintain the "trust" relationship between
Debian and the organization.

Theoretically, I can imagine scenarios where Debian asks the
organization to use the assets for purposes that go against the
organization mission and bylaws, resulting in the organization refusing
to do so. That would most likely cause the severing of the trust
relationship between Debian and the organization.  Practically, I cannot
imagine any such scenario for any organization devoted to pursue Debian
and/or Free Software related goals.

Last but not least, the above does not mean that *all* organization
assets are under Debian control. Several of the current Debian Trusted
Organization act as umbrella organization for many Free Software
projects. There, the notion of trust is resolved by clearly defined
whose assets, within the larger set of organization assets, are owned on
behalf of Debian, thanks to some internal accounting. Debian claims no
ownership / control of any other assets than those.

Whether this kind of division (Debian assets vs other assets) is
acceptable for debian.ch is up to you, of course. Debian would
appreciate if debian.ch says that all its assets are Debian's, but that
is by no means a requirement to keep on being a Trusted Organization.
Nor I see the fact that debian.ch has been granted usage of the Debian
trademark as implying that all debian.ch assets should be under Debian

On Fri, Jul 13, 2012 at 01:47:00AM +0200, Daniel Pocock wrote:
> - From www.debian.org: "Debian is a registered trademark
> <http://www.debian.org/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.

That is not correct. SPI is *a* legal entity, which happens to own
*some* of Debian assets, including (some of) our trademarks. That makes
SPI no special entity wrt Debian and in the future the owner of those
assets can change.

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

It might be messy, but at present it's just the way it is and AFAIK
there are no plans at present to change those points of the Debian

Hope this helps,
Stefano Zacchiroli     zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} . o .
Maître de conférences   ......   http://upsilon.cc/zack   ......   . . o
Debian Project Leader    .......   @zack on identi.ca   .......    o o o
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: