Ethical Restriction

Michael Poole mdpoole at
Wed Jan 31 23:11:30 UTC 2007

gilemon writes:

> Sorry for trying again to push forward a "hypothetical discussions"...
> After going through the whole genesis of Open Source, the "non-military use"
> restriction sounds too clumsy to be constructively considered in this
> mailing list. But it looks like there might be some room for the notion of
> ethic.
> As our research project involves human subjects, it has to be reviewed and
> monitored by an independent ethics committee. Our project has restrictions
> in order to safeguard the rights, safety, and well-being of all trial
> subjects. As this is applying to our own software, in which way will it be
> inherited by people reusing our sources?
> Does this sound like field endeavor discrimination?
> Is there any ground over which we can interface with the Open Source
> community without having to create a new type of license?

I do not understand how that review and monitoring relates to a
software license.  Research on people and animals must satisfy ethics
requirements independent of what software or software license might be
used during or as part of the research.

Is there something special about your software that requires the
software itself -- rather than use of the software as part of your
research problem -- to incorporate those ethics requirements into the
license?  Or is it simply your desire to write them into the license?

In the general sense, which seems to be what you are asking about,
writing ethics requirements into a license would indeed discriminate
against persons, groups, or fields of endeavor.

Michael Poole

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