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

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Fri May 10 04:55:09 UTC 2019

Van wrote:

> The problem I am having here is a more global problem with the license....
> The CAL is an unabashedly legal instrument, and fir anyone who really
> wants to understand it, legal counsel is required.

This seems to be very unsympathetic to the developer who is the intended
user of the license.

> But it really is no more complex than the GPL.

I found the GPL easy to parse, all of those years ago before I learned
anything about intellectual property and licensing. Otherwise we would not
have an OSD.
I am not finding that I have been able to parse the CAL properly today,
with an additional 21 years of experience. No, not even with attorney
assistance, since they don't agree.

For the ordinary developer, though, I can summarize its effects in one
> sentence:
> If you make CAL-licensed software available in any way to a person, then
> you must also provide that person 1) a copy of the license, 2) access to
> the software source code, and 3) a copy of any of the data used with
> software that the person has given to you, should that data still be
> available.

You left out performance, and you did not take into account how things
actually appear to the person running the program. So, the way this
actually should read, IMO, is:

You performed the program when the program ran on a system connected to the
Internet. This activated the license requirements. You probably received
data from other people. You don't know what data, the program was taking
care of this. But you are responsible to give that data back to those
people, if they ever ask, and in a way the program does not take care of
for you automatically. We know you aren't a programmer or a lawyer, but you
may need both of those to comply with the license. And be careful not to
give away critical data of your own, like your secret key - it's a thing in
your wallet - by mistake.

This really is un-sympathetic to that user.


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