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

Carlo Piana carlo at piana.eu
Fri Feb 26 15:26:11 UTC 2021

> From: "Eric Schultz" <eric at wwahammy.com>
> To: "License submissions for OSI review" <license-review at lists.opensource.org>
> Sent: Sunday, 14 February, 2021 20:46:30
> Subject: Re: [License-review] Request - For Approval - Ritchey Permissive
> License v11

> J.,

> 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.

Sorry to come late to this discussion. I will not state again many points that have been already made, that makes this license a fit candidate to outright rejection without looking back once. 

This point that Eric makes is likely to confusing many: "how could possibly a license be permitting something unlawful?" 

I have made this point many times and let me reiterate it: it's no business of a license to limit use of software to what is lawful, that's the law applicable to the action that should rule, full stop. The scope of a license is to state the **conditions** upon which use of the copyrighted material is permissible. Limiting the scope of the license to only what is lawful is openly a field of endeavour limitation and a blatant violation of #6. No limits to the field of endeavour include limits to use the software only for lawful purposes. 

Besides, deciding what is lawful and what is unlawful is never a binary choice. The very behaviour can be unlawful if carried over in case of duress, or by legitimate order of the authority, or can be unlawful but morally compelled, for instance in case of civil disobedience. What is lawful in USA can and perhaps in most cases is. Driving a car for a woman is illegal in some states: using GPS software to provide direction to a woman arguably is too. Using encryption is illegal in many states, using encryption to organize /resitance/ is illegal in many states. 

The argument that the definition is bound to what is lawful under the applicable law is totally bogus either. 

On the one hand it's untrue. The applicable law is only referenced to the legal deed, not to the definition of the lawful behaviour. This is a very evident mistake of someone who has little understanding of how a legal document is made. 

On the other hand, tying lawfulness to one country creates stupid consequences. In Canada drug is liberalized by and large. In Italy even mentioning that using dope is cool is illegal and could send you in prison. And I am sure the reverse is true. So why should we submit to one jurisdiction to solve what is legal and what is not? Should I hire a Canadian lawyer any time I start a blog using a web server under this license? Give me a brake! 

Please get rid of this nonsense ASAP and in any license. This should be decided once for all and guidance to discourage new attempts to submit licenses containing this kind of clauses should too. 

With best regards, 

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