[License-review] For Approval: The Cryptographic Autonomy License

Henrik Ingo henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
Mon Apr 29 09:50:42 UTC 2019

On Sun, Apr 28, 2019 at 5:51 PM VanL <van.lindberg at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 27, 2019 at 9:38 AM Pamela Chestek <pamela at chesteklegal.com> wrote:
>> On 4/23/19 6:18 PM, VanL wrote:
>> > In this case, my client identified that it was in their business
>> > interest to have a strong network copyleft license that was maximally
>> > respecting of user freedom.
>> Any software that replicates APIs (e.g., Dalvik), even if entirely
>> written from scratch, would have to be offered under the CAL. Is that
>> your intention?
> Yes, that is correct in general - although note that reimplementations of an API (like Dalvik) could be offered under a Compatible Open Source License. So in a hypothetical scenario where Java were available under the CAL, Google's Apache-licensed Dalvik would be compliant.
>> I do NOT read this license as not having any copyleft effect on software
>> that simply uses APIs. Is that correct? If my reading is incorrect, can
>> you walk me through it?
> That is correct. Barring constructed hypotheticals, consuming an API would not have any licensing implications.

Oh... I read this, but thought that surely I'm just misunderstanding
and this couldn't possibly be your intention.

This is then another copyright-maximalist feature that I hope the OSI
won't and can't approve of. As long as there's a chance that the
Supreme Court won't uphold that APIs are copyrightable, the OSI
certainly has a policy interest in not approving a license that tries
to advance that agenda by asserting those very claimed rights!

Also note that even if the SC would uphold the current decision that
APIs are copyrightable, it would still be a situation where there
would be a fair use interest in allowing the full reproduction (aka
copying) of an API for interoperability purposes. In this scenario the
open source community will have an interest to promote a view that for
practical purposes this fair use interest applies always, or as often
as possible, and therefore trying to assert your copyright over an API
is still copyright-maximalist and against this policy goal.

Many years later, if also the above argument failed and APIs had
become widely copyrighted and strongly protected, then it would be in
the interest of copyleft licenses to also wield this power in favor of
their agenda.

Finally, note that if the OSI approved this license today, then Oracle
lawyers could use that as evidence that their view is already
supported and practiced by a significant industry body. (With a huge
"good guys" stamp on their filing too!)

henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
+358-40-5697354        skype: henrik.ingo            irc: hingo

My LinkedIn profile: http://fi.linkedin.com/pub/henrik-ingo/3/232/8a7

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