[License-discuss] Fwd: Re: Data portability as an obligation under an open source license

Christine Hall christine at fossforce.com
Sat Jun 29 16:32:07 UTC 2019

If my understanding of this issue is correct, then it seems pretty clear 
cut that this is a restriction that can't be part of an open source license.

Open source licenses (again, according to my understanding -- folks with 
many years experience at OSI should correct me if I'm wrong) should 
apply only to the software being licensed, and the data collected by or 
stored within a software application is clearly not part of the software 

By including anything, be it data collected by applications or other 
software used to deliver the application, could open a door that would 
eventually make open source software irrelevant.

While the advent of cloud and uses such as Software as a Service have 
opened new avenues for skirting software freedom, I don't think that 
software licensing is the proper way to deal with these issues, 
especially given the provision in the OSD that license must be 

Christine Hall
Board - Open Source Initiative
On 6/29/19 9:08 AM, Pamela Chestek wrote:
> On 6/28/19 11:40 PM, Bruce Perens via License-discuss wrote:
>>     3. _A license that requires data portability_.
>>     Section 2.3(b) obliges the user of a software to “provide to any
>>     third party with which you have an enforceable legal agreement, a
>>     no-charge copy … of the User Data in your possession in which that
>>     third party has a Lawful Interest ….” The license submitter
>>     confirmed in this sequence of emails that the intent of this
>>     provision is to expand the scope of software freedom:
>>     http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2019-May/004123.html
>>     <http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2019-May/004123.html>
>>     http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2019-May/004124.html
>>     <http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2019-May/004124.html>
>>     http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2019-May/004126.html
>>     <http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2019-May/004126.html>
>>     The members of the License Review Committee do not agree whether
>>     this is appropriate for an open source license. It therefore
>>     requires extensive additional public discussion before the OSI
>>     will be able to reach a conclusion on this point.
>> It's my opinion that this is out of scope for an Open Source license. 
>> My argument is on the record above and I'm glad to elaborate. I think 
>> Arthur (Van's customer) could explain what he wants to do with this 
>> and why he thinks it's important. But even if I end up approving of 
>> the sentiment, so far I think it would remain out of scope for an OSI 
>> approved Open Source license. Of course, you don't need OSI's approval 
>> to use any license you wish.
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