Cease and desist orders for distributing Debian is a prank

April 27th, 2011

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.

About Debian

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. Thousands of volunteers from all over the world work together to create and maintain Debian software. Available in 70 languages, and supporting a huge range of computer types, Debian calls itself the universal operating system.

Contact Information

For further information, please visit the Debian web pages at https://www.debian.org/ or send mail to <press@debian.org>.