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

Steve Langasek wrote:

> On Wed, Aug 30, 2006 at 08:26:56PM -0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:

>> Actually, letting an overworked team of four with (to my knowledge) zero
>> legal expertise settle questions of legal liability is pretty absurd too.
> They are the team responsible for vetting the legality of what's
> distributed
> on the mirrors.  None of them have any legal expertise to my knowledge;
> but they do know where the lawyers are if they have questions,

Well, that's good!  Do they really have the hotline to the lawyers? 
Excellent!  I hope they actually use it occasionally; I've never heard of
them doing so, so if they have gotten any legal opinions, they've kept
them secret.  (Dammit, when Debian developers attempted to get legal advice
on trademark policy, it sunk into a black hole.  The advice never really 
came back, after several years.)

> and they 
> *are* the ones in the hot seat(s).

Meaning that they are personally liable and the rest of the Debian
developers aren't?  :-)

I'd love to see a legal opinion from the SPI lawyers regarding who would be
liable if Debian did commit copyright infringment (or whatever) and someone

It seems to me that the developers have entrusted the ftpmasters with
the responsibility of guarding Debian's funds and property against a
copyright infringment lawsuit.  Is that the general feeling of the
developers?  Are the ftpmasters comfortable with that responsibility?  If
so, my proverbial hat is off to them.

>> Should the ftpmasters, who have even less legal expertise,
> Judging by some of the nonsense that debian-legal is typically riddled
> with, if I were an ftpmaster I would find that claim insulting.

There is at least one laywer who posts regularly.  Which counts as some 
legal expertise, and which is exactly what I was referring to when I 
said "very little".

> 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.

See above.

Nathanael Nerode  <neroden@fastmail.fm>

Bush admitted to violating FISA and said he was proud of it.
So why isn't he in prison yet?...

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