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Re: DebConf and legal structure for the project

tytso <tytso@mit.edu> writes:

> This is a pretty well-explored problem space.  There are a number of
> organizations that help academic or FOSS organizations run conferences.
> Examples of these include Usenix (which used to be the organization that
> ran the Linux Kernel Maintainer's Summit), The Linux Foundation (which
> now runs the Maintainer's Summit as well as Linux Plumbers Conference),
> and Association Headquarters (which is a for-profit company that helps
> non-profits run conferences as well as being their "legal entity", ala
> SPI).  These organizations don't need to be homed in the country where
> the conference takes place.  The Linux Foundation is based in the US,
> but has run (or will be running) conferences in Canada, Korea, Japan,
> China, Ireland, Germany, the Czech Republic, etc.

> These organizations all employ profession event/conference planners, and
> can handle signing legal contracts with hotels, caterers, restaurants,
> etc., thus shielding the techies from legal liability, as well as
> generally being able to do a much better job at running a conference
> compared to techie who tries to pretend to be an event planner on the
> side.  The tradeoff is that while the conferences do tend to be more
> polished, having professional, paid staff is expensive.  And so
> typically, to go down this path, the conferences need to hit up
> corporate sponsors to help pay for the event.

> Using one of these professional organizations is going to significantly
> change the characgter of Debconf.

Right, I'm fairly dubious that we want to go in that direction.  That's
wmy the mental model I had was more like the World Science Fiction
Convention (Worldcon), which avoids using professional event planners but
still has a legal structure to limit liability, despite running
conventions all over the world.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)              <https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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