Here is the clearest description I've found. It's by Roy Fielding, ex chair and board member of the ASF, and from all appearances, extremely knowledgeable in these matters. It was posted here : [EMAIL PROTECTED]&msgNo=2642

"Indemnification is a promise by the corporation to pay the legal
      expenses of an *individual* if that *individual* becomes subject
      to criminal or civil proceedings as a result of their actions
      under a role identified by the corporation, as long as such person
      acted in good faith and in a manner that such person reasonably
      believed to be in, or not be opposed to, the best interests of the
      corporation.  In other words, a member is only indemnified for
      their actions as a member (not much).  A director or officer is
      only indemnified for their actions as a director or within the
      scope of their mandate as an officer.  A PMC member is indemnified
      under the category of "who is or was serving at the request of
      the corporation as an officer or director of another corporation,
      partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise" and only
      to the extent of that enterprise (the project).  A committer
      who is not a PMC member is not authorized by the corporation to
      make decisions, and hence cannot act on behalf of the corporation,
      and thus is not indemnified by the corporation for those actions
      regardless of their status as a member, director, or officer.

      Likewise, we should all realize and understand that the ASF's
      ability to indemnify an individual is strictly limited to the
      assets held by the ASF.  Beyond that, we are on our own as far
      as personal liability.

      It is a far better defense that an outside entity cannot
      successfully sue an individual for damages due to a decision
      made by a PMC, so it is in everyone's best interests that all
      of the people voting on an issue be officially named as members
      of the PMC (or whatever entity is so defined by the bylaws)."

So in summary, a PMC member is indemnified for activities done on behalf of the corporation. I think that this would be limited to the official activities of the PMC - things done on behalf of the board for the ASF, such as oversight and releases - and not general day-to-day committer activities, such as technical discussion and personal code commits. Of course, that will probably need to be clarified too.

However, the key thing to remember is that the indemnification is only up to the limit of the ASFs resources, which isn't much. So try to keep the litigation to a minimum :)


Geir Magnusson Jr 203-247-1713(m)

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