Re: Copyright issues re Debian website

From: Jimmy Kaplowitz <jimmy(at)spi-inc(dot)org>
To: Bruce Perens <bruce(at)perens(dot)com>
Cc: spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org, MJ Ray <mjr(at)phonecoop(dot)coop>
Subject: Re: Copyright issues re Debian website
Date: 2008-03-04 21:40:14
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On Tue, Mar 04, 2008 at 01:03:32PM -0800, Bruce Perens wrote:
> Just please confirm to me that you did not really have any competent
> legal advice behind your original statement. That particular meme about
> copyright changes requiring contact with every single developer is an
> oft-repeated and IMO harmful and misinformed one in Open Source circles.

As both Josh and I have pointed out, my original mail referred to a
"layman's understanding of copyright law" and never claimed to have
legal advice underlying it. My understanding is different from yours in
this regard, and given that neither of us is a lawyer, I would certainly
consult legal advice if I were going to take (or refrain from taking)
any action that turns on this issue. As of now, Debian is not asking SPI
to adopt your theory, and my inaction is based on lack of a request from
Debian rather than based on my understanding of the law. If you have no
reason to push this issue with the DDs, then in my role as an SPI
director I will consider it resolved for now until SPI hears that Debian
is interested in pursuing it.

> My opinion is that the holding company concept never worked for Debian.
> After 10 years there are still problems with DD participation in SPI and
> even SPI folks still feel uneasy regarding SPI owning Debian stuff.

I realize you have felt this way for a long time. However, given that
there is nothing compelling Debian to hold assets with SPI yet it
continues to do so, presumably Debian is at least comfortable enough
with the relationship that it chooses to continue it. At the direction
of Debian, SPI would certainly transfer those of Debian's assets which
it controls to a separate legal entity created with compatible purposes
and that has a 501(c)(3) tax exemption. Unless and until SPI receives
such a direction from Debian (again either resulting from a GR or from a
non-overridden DPL decision), I have to assume that your viewpoint is a
minority one that does not represent the overall wishes of Debian.

- Jimmy Kaplowitz

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