[License-review] Submission of OSET Public License for Approval

Josh Berkus josh at postgresql.org
Wed Sep 2 20:12:10 UTC 2015


> The Open Source Election Technology Foundation (OSET) is pleased to
> submit the OSET Public License (OPL) for OSI license review and for
> discussion with the larger community.   We believe the OPL falls into
> the special purpose category.  We coordinated the drafting of this
> license, with review and input from other lawyers both within and
> outside of the Open Source Election Technology Foundation (OSET). 

Howdy!  As always, it's a pleasure to read anything you submit because
of the extensive thought and thorough preparation which went into it.
Of course, you've given us enough material to read in order for it to
take a while.

Please understand that questions I'm asking below are from The Developer
Perspective (tm), as I am not an attorney.  And I'm picking nits because
overall I think this is a good license and there is sufficient reason
for it to exist.

A. Governing law and venue provisions

I understand the need for these.  I am concerned that this limits
potential contributions or downstream modification by parties in other
countries, however.  I know that non-US venues are not OSET's main
concern, but there are many other countries who could use open source
election software, and don't trust the USA's legal system (with reason).

I don't think this is a violation of the OSD, just raising it as a concern.

D. Ability to adjust terms downstream

This seems problematic in that it might involve a grant of rights which
upstream code contributors did not intend, or agree, to grant.
Particularly, I'd be concerned about cases where there's a "favored
contractor" with a sweetheart agreement which allows exclusive rights to
all software in a jurisdiction to be given to them (such things happen).
 For example, I can completely imagine some county in Ohio passing a
regulation which waives license compliance entirely for Diebold.  Given
this loophole, I would personally be reluctant to work on OSET software.

It seems to me that there needs to be some limitations on clause (4) in
terms of what parts of the license can be waived, and which can't.

--Josh Berkus

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