Limiting the use of an OpenSource application

John Richter jmrichter at
Fri Mar 1 20:42:20 UTC 2002

I've released quite a bit of OpenSource software over the last year, and
I've been growing increasingly worried about how this software will be
used (for example, I'm worried that some work that I've done could be used
for biological weapons research).

In the future, I want to add caviats to my licensing agreements that
forbid the use of my software in certain domains (like biological weapons
creation, any work whose ultimate goal includes a gene patent, etc), AND
forbids the use of code I write to develop software in those domains.

If I add these caviats, can my code still be called Open Source? Does
anyone have any suggestions about the most effective way to word such
caviats? Is it even legal to restrict the use of software in this way?


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