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

Pamela Chestek pamela at chesteklegal.com
Sun May 5 21:45:44 UTC 2019

On 5/1/19 8:59 AM, Pamela Chestek wrote:
> On 5/1/2019 1:11 AM, VanL wrote:
>> The CAL reflects my belief - in which I would be thrilled to be wrong
>> - that we have already entered the world in which licenses like the
>> CAL are necessary, and that the CAL only reflects the law as it has
>> been revealed to be.
> Then why is the right of public performance necessary? Why open this can
> of worms that has the potential effect of extending copyleft beyond its
> current boundaries and beyond boundaries that the S. Ct. might set?
Hi Van,

The above question was intended for you. The concerns I have with the
public performance concept are: (a) its unpredictable application
outside of the US because it is a unique term of art under US law,
combined with (b) its potential extension beyond the boundaries of
existing copyright law because you have defined it within the license
without the definition being tied to the scope of copyright.[^1]

GPLv3 uses the term "propagate" for the exercise of all copyright that,
"without permission, would make you directly or secondarily liable for
infringement under applicable copyright law," expressly including making
available to the public, and excluding "executing it on a computer or
modifying a private copy." The GPLv3 then grants unfettered permission
to "make, run and propagate covered works that you do not convey,
without conditions ..." What if you were to make "propagation" a trigger
for the copyleft/obligation to provide source code -- wouldn't that
accomplish the same thing you are trying to accomplish?

I'm not suggesting that the license you propose has to be a modification
of the GPL, I'm only pointing it out as an example of a way to craft a
license that successfully ties the scope of the license to the scope of
copyright law without expanding it by how a definition in a license is


> Pam
> Pamela S. Chestek
> Chestek Legal
> PO Box 2492
> Raleigh, NC 27602
> 919-800-8033
> pamela at chesteklegal.com
> www.chesteklegal.com

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