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

Gervase Markham gerv at mozilla.org
Fri Sep 11 14:11:38 UTC 2015

On 07/09/15 23:13, Josh Berkus wrote:
> On 09/07/2015 11:01 AM, Meeker, Heather J. wrote:
>> I was sidetracked because Section 4 is, for the most part, already
>> in MPL 2.0 (whereas 3.5B is the new language we added).  In Section
>> 4, we added "national security or necessity of public interest" to
>> "statute, judicial order, or regulation."  So if there is a concern
>> generally with this mechanism, it also exists for MPL 2.0.  If
>> there is a difference, it would be a matter of national security or
>> necessity of public interest that is not embodied in any law.  I
>> would expect that to be rare, but the clarification was important
>> to our constituency.
> Oh, I didn't realize that was in the MPL.
> Gerv, any comments on this provision?

I would say that the difference between what's in the MPL 2.0 and what's
in OSET is that in the MPL 2.0 ("statute, judicial order, or
regulation"), all of the factors are (almost always) outside the control
of the licensee, they are things which are written down and visible to
all, and it is generally (hopefully) clear or there is a body of case
law to say how to interpret the statute, judicial order, or regulation
which is considered incompatible.

When you add "national security or necessity of public interest" into
that mix, you are adding factors which are much woollier, and
furthermore _are_ under the control of the licensee (in the case where
it's a government using the software for their own elections) and do not
have to be written down. Who defines "the public interest" or "national
security"? The government does. Does it have to document its decisions
and open them for scrutiny? No. Which means they get to ignore any bits
of the license they don't like as long as they can come up with a
"public interest" reason why obeying the license isn't a good idea.

Therefore, I would say that this change is a significant one.


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