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

Scott Peterson speterso at redhat.com
Tue Apr 30 20:36:37 UTC 2019

Here is a context in which to consider my earlier comment about introducing
a new exclusive right for software.

The state of copyright law as it applies to software is a shared resource.

As with public laws generally, one copyright owner or a community of
developers or some other subset of those who create or use software does
not get to have its own version of copyright law. We all need to share.

Actions that impact the interpretation of copyright law as it applies to
software ought to be considered for their impact more broadly, not only on
the situation that is the immediate subject of the actions.

Of course, there is an opportunity for customization: each copyright owner
can offer licenses under unique terms that that copyright owner creates.
But, those license terms still share the underlying copyright law that
creates the rights being licensed. (But note that there is a shared
interest in interpretation of widely-used license texts. <
https://opensource.com/law/16/11/licenses-are-shared-resources> )

-- Scott

On Tue, Apr 30, 2019 at 4:06 PM Scott Peterson <speterso at redhat.com> wrote:

> I arrive late to this discussion. I am sorry. I should have paid attention
> earlier.
> I have just realized that this license asserts that:
> "... making aspects of the Software, including any interfaces used for
> access to or manipulation of User Data, directly or indirectly available to
> the public"
> is an exclusive right of an owner of copyright in the text of software.
> If the authors of software who choose to use this license could available
> themselves of this sort of exclusive right without impacting anyone else,
> then, fine, whatever. But, they can't. The rights under copyright are (for
> better or for worse) granted without any action needed on the part of the
> owner to claim such rights. If this right is a part of the exclusive rights
> of a copyright holder, then it would apply to existing software -- not just
> to those who would like a certain type of licensing arrangement.
> Think of all of the software that is functioning all around us -- software
> that was built and does what it does every day without the expectation of
> this twist on an exclusive right of public performance.
> In my view, we do not need a new exclusive right for software; we have
> enough already.
> Of course, a license cannot create a new exclusive right. However, it can
> create a base on which others might build FUD.
> Let's reduce, rather than increase, FUD about rights relating to software.
> Whatever the other merits of the license as a whole, I hope that it is
> revised to eliminate the implication that interoperation of software
> implicates an exclusive performance right.
> -- Scott
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