[License-review] Request - For Approval - Ritchey Permissive License v11

Lukas Atkinson opensource at LukasAtkinson.de
Sun Feb 14 12:16:50 UTC 2021

I would ask the Board to not approve this license: it leads to 
unnecessary license proliferation, and likely fails to provide 
sufficient software freedom.

On a meta-level, the submission of this license makes a strong argument 
that submitted licenses should have either received legal review or at 
least non-negligible use.

This license has neither: not even the license author seems to have 
published any works/“material” under this license, though a few social 
media posts reference earlier versions.

The proliferation problem is enhanced by the lack of improvements over 
existing licenses. The submission identifies various differences, but I 
don't agree with their value.

- The license text is not more comprehensible than comparable licenses. 
The license is grammatically complex. The terminology deviates from 
terms of art and well-understood phrases. Using “material” instead of 
“work” is not more inclusive, since “creative work” is a term of art.

- I don't see how the proposed license would be better than Fair or 0BSD 
at ensuring that recipients know about their rights and obligations. 
This is especially relevant since recipients *do* have obligations per 
“The legal entity is responsible…”.

- The blocklist vs allowlist approach is interesting, but has probably 
not been executed correctly. The licensee is allowed to do “anything 
lawful […] which does not violate this license”. But distribution of a 
copyrighted work is not lawful without permission. This “license” might 
not be granting any rights at all. Although the OSI has given legacy 
approval to unclear licenses in the past (hello, Unlicense), such 
approval would be unhelpful for new licenses.

Aside from the lack of explicit permission, the choice of law clause is 
troubling, especially when paired with the inseverability clause. The 
choice of law might be ineffective as constructed. Since various parts 
of the license are likely “unenforceable in applicable jurisdictions”, 
this license cannot be accepted.

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