[License-discuss] For Discussion: Cryptographic Autonomy License (CAL) Beta 2

Russell McOrmond russellmcormond at gmail.com
Wed Aug 14 03:14:44 UTC 2019

On Tue, Aug 13, 2019 at 5:31 PM Bruce Perens via License-discuss
<license-discuss at lists.opensource.org> wrote:

> Those are examples. They don't restrict "field of endeavor" to exclude all
> of the very many decisions necessary to carry out your business. It's
> really obvious that SaaS providers have lock-in strategies as a major part
> of their business, otherwise it would not be a an explicit goal of the CAL,
> and apparently this version's sole remaining significant difference from
> accepted Open Source licenses, to *defeat* lock-in terms. The businesses
> that use such terms are fields of endeavor, and would be different fields
> of endeavor if they operated differently.
> I sympathize with the goal of CAL, while still not believing that the
> implementation of that goal is well-placed as a software license term. It
> belongs in law regarding online business. This seems to me to be the same
> as all of the discussions of license additions to achieve an ethical
> purpose - which we've just iterated again. They attempt to extend the Open
> Source paradigm to address some other issue.


I agree that the business models of SaaS providers are fields of endeavour,
and that OSD #6 should cause the OSI to reject licenses which specifically
target SaaS providers.

I am left puzzled how the Affero clauses, which also target SaaS (or what
RMS likes to call Service as a Software Substitute - SaaSS), passed the OSD
#6 test?   I understand there are many people who are fearful of SaaS
and/or SaaSS, but the acceptance of that fear is leading parts of the
movement to grasp for very proprietor-focused licensing tactics of ensuring
that software authors (or more often copyright/patent owners) have a high
level of control over software users when they are subjectively deemed "bad
software users".

The more we accept the concept of "bad software users" as something that
should be regulated in "open source" licenses, the less ability we will
have to protect the software freedom of any software users.

I also sympathize with the goals. I believe all service providers,
including SaaS and SaaSS, should be regulated by government. Protecting the
interests of citizens requires the enactment of appropriate laws, and
proprietary software licenses masquerading as "open source" can't solve any
of those important problems.  Enacting appropriate laws requires that
technologists who understand how the technology actually works be involved
in the legislative process.  Even if I didn't think these
proprietor-focused terms would backfire and provide precedent to
strengthen software proprietor interests against all software users, I
would still consider using public policy inspired licensing as a substitute
for participation in the actual legislative process to be an entirely
ineffective strategy.

Anyone willing to spend the time to author and/or argue in favour of one of
these public policy inspired proprietary licenses easily has the time to
author and/or forward letters to their elected representative describing
the problem to help provide real solutions to these problems.  If someone
in the US writes such a letter, I'll spend the time to translate it to
Canadian legal concepts -- we are about to have a federal election, which
is when all candidates will be listening more than usual.  (But all that
needs to be coordinated outside this list, as OSI itself can't be seen to
be lobbying any government),

Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>

Please help us tell the Canadian Parliament to protect our property rights
as owners of Information Technology. Sign the petition! http://l.c11.ca/ict/

"The government, lobbied by legacy copyright holders and hardware
manufacturers, can pry my camcorder, computer, home theatre, or portable
media player from my cold dead hands!" http://c11.ca/own
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