Currently the case of an alleged “cease and desist order” received by a
German Debian user is causing quite a stir. In a faked lawyer’s letter the user was accused of violating the rights of a Dutch company by distributing the Debian operating system via bittorrent.
It has now turned out that the “cease and desist order” was a bad prank,
and that the accusation as well as the Dutch company were made up.
Parallel investigations by the Debian Project had also resulted in the
conclusion that the Debian Project doesn’t and never did distribute any
works of the (imaginary) Dutch company.
“Immediately contacting Debian and a lawyer was exactly the right way to
react.” says Alexander Reichle-Schmehl, Press Officer and member of
Debian’s FTP Team: “Because of the Debian Free Software Guidelines 
distributing the Debian Operating System is perfectly legal, and is not
only accepted but highly encouraged by the Debian Project.”
The Debian Project was founded in 1993 by Ian Murdock to be a truly free
community project. Since then the project has grown to be one of the
largest and most influential open source projects. Over three thousand
volunteers from all over the world work together to create and maintain
Debian software. Translated into over 70 languages, and supporting a huge
range of computer types, Debian calls itself the “universal operating
For further information, please visit the Debian web pages at
http://www.debian.org/ or send mail to