restricting the use of open source software

Nick Moffitt nick at
Mon Mar 28 15:56:33 UTC 2005

Put more simply, you could imagine that a program written in an
Orthodox Jewish community could have the clause "This program may not
be used between local sunset on Friday and local sunset on Saturday."
If you asked the author why he did this, he might say "But surely I'm
just asking you to follow traditional Jewish religious law against
working on the Sabbath.  You're not saying that people should ignoe
the LAW, are you?"

Second, all that you gain by putting this sort of clause in a license
text is the right to open anotehr in a series of legal cases for
whatever lawbreaker you're worried about.  If you have a "must not use
to rob banks" clause, and it comes up in a trial that Machine-Gun
Kelly ran your code as part of a heist, all you get is the right to
try and open a civil suit against him for license violation.  You'd
either be stuck on a long waiting list of petty-crime "me toos", or
you'd actually delay the serving of Kelly's criminal sentence with
your goofy copyright claims.

So in closing: 
	1) Not everyone needs to be bound by your particular laws.  
	2) You don't even gain anything worthwhile by re-enforcing
	    these laws in your software license.

You are in an open field west of a big white house            Nick Moffitt
with a boarded front door.                              nick at
There is a small mailbox here.
> _

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