restricting the use of open source software - summary

Alvin Oga alvin at
Mon Mar 28 16:36:11 UTC 2005

hi ya nick

On Mon, 28 Mar 2005, Nick Moffitt wrote:

> 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.

good summary, analogy :-)

i'd always add my pet pieve, that only "knowledgeable" lawyers can 
draw up legal documents, that have any chance of standing up in court
to stop machine-gun kelly and the rest of um at the corral

- enforceability and defensibility and accountability of the license
  documents is gonna be a big problem

- people will use your stuff per your terms/conditions 
  or they will use your competitors stuff instead
	( generically speaking )

c ya

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