[License-review] For Approval: Twente License

Josh Berkus josh at berkus.org
Wed Feb 6 01:43:46 UTC 2019

On 2/5/19 1:33 PM, Lawrence Rosen wrote:
> But compliance with values is the function of laws rather than a
> software license. We recognize that limitation in OSD #6 regarding the
> (somewhat ambiguous) "No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor". [1]
> Our governments adopt protective regulations about "values". (At least
> recently, Europe often does, the US doesn't as often.) But "privacy,
> human rights, and other ... values" are far more ambitious than software
> can protect with its mere open source licenses.

There's a concrete, rather than technical, reason to not allow this.
I'm want to share this so that Anand will understand what he needs to
work around.

"Human rights & privacy" as expressed in the text of a license, are
matters of opinion, so a developer/distributor cannot know if they have
violated the license or not, pending litigation.

For example, I would say that the right of free movement was a Human
Right, as well as the right to marry whomever you want.  However, there
are many people in the world who would not agree with me on either
count.  And while you could have a list of specific human rights in the
license, even by reference, even each of those is open to interpretation
in court.  There's a whole litigation industry based on arguing whether
you've violated someone's human rights or not.

So you'd be setting up a situation where a user of the software couldn't
know if they had violated the license or not based on any kind of
factual analysis.

To a degree, this is true with other things like "distribute" and
"modification", but those are simpler concepts and even so have resulted
in litigation over their exact meaning as it applies to open source.  I
shudder to think of how a court would handle  a requirement to "uphold

Josh Berkus

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