SPI Workshop/Brainstorming Session at Debconf
jimmy at debian.org
Fri Jul 25 05:27:43 UTC 2003
[Josip Rodin pruned from the CC list, since I assume he's on the mailing
lists in the first place and this isn't a direct reply to him.]
On Thu, Jul 24, 2003 at 08:12:20PM -0500, Ean Schuessler wrote:
> - Among many new projects SPI picks up something peer-to-peer (ie.
> Bittorrent) or something media oriented (ie. mplayer).
> - Giant RIAA DMCA related legal behemoth decides to target this project.
> - Finding no tangible corporation other than SPI associated with the
> project the RIAA/DMCA entity files suit against SPI with various
> confusing a baseless legal claims.
That doesn't have any bearing on Debian specifically, other than that
most of SPI's current assets are being held on behalf of Debian. Yes,
it's possible that due to an adverse legal judgment Debian's money might
have to be tapped to pay damages. But, when Debian entrusted its money
to a corporation and then allowed that corporation to take on other
member projects, it must have known that the money might have to be
spent according to the outcome of a court case relating to one of those
other court cases. Conversely, if SPI is sued due to an action of
Debian's, and the judgment is for more money than SPI has in total, any
money held by SPI for other projects will also be wiped out. It works
both ways. The best way to guard against this happening, of course, is
for SPI's board to do its best not to accept projects that will bring
legal trouble, and for it to make an effort to prevent its existing
member projects from getting into legal trouble.
Certainly Debian currently has the most at stake, but it is quite
conceivable that Debian might cease to be the only large member project
of SPI. For one thing, imagine if some other already large project
decided to affiliate itself with us, and we decided to let it do so.
Immediately, the Debian Foundation would be an inaccurate name. The same
thing could happen over a period of time if an existing member project
grew in size relative to Debian. Also imagine that SPI might choose to
participate in some activities other than holding money and IP. For
instance, it could engage in lobbying (yes, 501(c)3 orgs can do certain
kinds of lobbying) or general public education about free software or
computers as a whole. The Debian Foundation would again be an inaccurate
name, because the organization would be engaging in substantial
activites not specifically related to the particular OS that is Debian,
nor would it be restricting itself to overseeing (a) software project(s)
(like the Apache and GNOME Foundations) or making targeted grants (like
most other foundations).
All of those reasons, as well as others, make me oppose a name change to
the Debian Foundation.
- Jimmy Kaplowitz
jimmy at debian.org
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