[License-review] [Was: Submission of OSET Public License for Approval] -- National Security and Public Policy (3.5B and 4)

Christopher Sean Morrison brlcad at mac.com
Thu Sep 17 05:26:55 UTC 2015

> It does seem a little bit like you have written a license with a clause
> that says "governments can come up with reasons not to obey this
> license", and the intended use of the license is for software which will
> generally be used by governments.

The Federal Government (US) already has mechanisms for not complying with a license and that would be FOIA-exempt under current behavior.  Thus, I find it highly unusual that it would be necessary or useful to include such a clause that explicitly says it’s permitted.  If anything, it explicitly permits that undesirable behavior (e.g., for municipal Governments that might not have the same Federal regulatory authority) which could ultimately enable a “shielded” derivative that potentially harms the integrity of the author’s source code.  I don’t see how the clause is useful in the procurement process except to risk-averse managers that might feel enabled in defending non-redistribution despite having highly dubious grounds. 

If they don’t have that authority, the clause is meaningless.  If it is intentionally clarifying that a Government agency might have the authority to unilaterally decide that they don’t need to comply, then it's completely unnecessary because they'd have the authority and wouldn't have to comply or tell you why they think so.  It might not directly violate the OSD, but it sure smells odd.


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