[License-review] Request - For Approval - Ritchey Permissive License v11
eric at wwahammy.com
Sun Feb 14 19:46:30 UTC 2021
Thanks for submitting your license. I'm not a lawyer but I believe your
license may fail to comply with the OSD. In particular, the first sentence
seems to limit the usage of licensed material to "lawful" purposes.
"[A]ny legal entity who receives material licensed under this license is
granted ... permission to do anything LAWFUL with the material..."
Perhaps some other part of the license mitigates that (again, not a lawyer)
but if it does not, this cannot comply with the OSD if the only permitted
uses are legal uses.
You mentioned a number of decisions you made here. I think all of them are
understandable however if you had motivating examples to explain why the
decision was made. In particular could you explain the rationale behind the
blocklist/allowlist decision? Is there some motivating examples, preferably
based on real world legal issues, which could help all of us understand the
problems you're trying to address? Given the few responses so far, I think
the license will not be approved in its current state but better
understanding the problems you're trying to solve would help everyone
decide on next steps.
Also, I would personally encourage you to be cautious using a license which
has not been formally written or reviewed by legal counsel with
considerable experience in open source software licensing. After all, just
as most lawyers would be unqualified to create a secure operating system
without expert help, most software developers would be unqualified to write
legal documents without expert help.
PS: While I'm sure you meant no disrespect, please do not use the terms
"whitelist/blacklist" here; many Black people consider that phrasing
offensive. Allowlist/Blocklist are recommended alternatives and would be
communicate the concept effectively.
On Sun, Feb 14, 2021 at 12:50 PM J. Ritchey <x1x2c3+osi at gmail.com> wrote:
> I have published many things under the Ritchey Permissive License. It's
> the default license I have used for about half a decade now. But v11 has
> only just come out. My most recent publicly available works are still on
> In regards to the terms "works" and "material", I was actually making the
> point that those terms are more inclusive than the term "software" which is
> the term of choice in all other licenses I was comparing to. But also that
> the difference in common definition between "works" and "material" could be
> important to users since neither license includes definition of these
> In regards letting recipients know about their rights and obligations,
> this license doesn't try to do a better job. It tries to provide better
> protection for the licensor against indirect licensees who never see the
> disclaimer statements.
> On Sun, Feb 14, 2021 at 4:17 AM Lukas Atkinson <
> opensource at lukasatkinson.de> wrote:
>> 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.
>> The opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and not
>> necessarily those of the Open Source Initiative. Communication from the
>> Open Source Initiative will be sent from an opensource.org email address.
>> License-review mailing list
>> License-review at lists.opensource.org
> The opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and not
> necessarily those of the Open Source Initiative. Communication from the
> Open Source Initiative will be sent from an opensource.org email address.
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Eric Schultz, Developer and FOSS Advocate
eric at wwahammy.com
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