[License-review] Approval - Restricted Artificial Intelligence License (RAIL)

Carlo Piana osi-review at piana.eu
Tue Apr 18 10:55:44 UTC 2023

Dear Emanuele, 

I must confess I have many troubles with your "license", starting from the fact that it is not a license, but a restriction applied on the top of a license. As the name suggests, the main intent of this document is to impose a restriction on certain uses, users and fields of endeavour: for that it is directly against #5 and #6, in my reading. That alone disqualifies the "license". Have you spent time considering the OSD before applying for approval, in the face of this striking problem, without even trying to address it with a convincing rationale? 

I highlight the relevant language in §3: 

> The Restricted Artificial Intelligence License, or simply RAIL, **is a license extension ** 
> designed to **restrict** the [permission to] use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense of 
> software under an existing open source license, for AI entities. 

There are many other shortcomings that appear abundantly evident. The language is quirky, it is very difficult to understand what is the legal implication of applying it to any license (eg. what happens to the GPLv3 under section 7?), I reckon it has not been vetted by a lawyer. The fact that you call it a license, when a license is in its essence a permission and you are proposing something that adds a restriction to a permission, does not give reassurances in the fact that you understood what is the subject matter of "license approval": 

Additionally, you claim that the SPDX (not SPIDX) identifier for your "license" is RAIL, but I see no trace of it in the official list of licenses. In order to claim it's an SPDX id, you should ask for it in the first place and since it is basically a first-come-first-served basis, using it before having secured it is not a good idea. 

Frankly, and this is perhaps the most fatal flow, I am not buying the very concept of "let's keep open source from AI generators" at all. 

I urge you to reconsider your submission -- which I think should be outright rejected without much further ado -- and the very underlying purpose. And to consider it in the light of the legislative initiatives which -- unlike open source licensing -- have some chances to have an impact on the good handling of AI. 

I'm replying as a FOSS licensing expert, not as member of the Board of OSI. This reply is therefore not part of a formal process within OSI.

With best regards, 

Carlo Piana

----- Messaggio originale -----
> Da: "Emanuele D." <deboni.emanuele at gmail.com>
> A: "license-review at lists.opensource.org" <license-review at lists.opensource.org>
> Inviato: Lunedì, 17 aprile 2023 17:33:12
> Oggetto: [License-review] Approval - Restricted Artificial Intelligence License (RAIL)

> Dear Board,

> I hope you are well and safe. My name Is Emanuele De Boni, I am a philologist by
> academic education turned into software engineer. My Master’s thesis was around
> open source licenses (2012) and since then I’ve been part (passively) of the
> community.

> I recently reflected about the importance of a clear distinction between humans
> and AI entities, to push the Open Source Initiative forward and protect the
> drive to innovation, collaboration and creativity that resulted from its
> principles.

> As a specialised linguistic, I would like here to submit at your attention the
> attached license draft, containing already the supporting data reminded here [
> https://opensource.org/licenses/review-process/#approval |
> https://opensource.org/licenses/review-process/#approval ] . I give also, my
> availability to call and discuss it together, I am currently located in
> Amsterdam Time Zone (CEST).

> I attached 3 textual file types: .txt, .md, .pdf.

> Looking forward,
> Kind Regards.

> Emanuele De Boni
> +31657175374 (active on WhatsApp and Telegram)
> [ https://www.linkedin.com/in/emanueledeboni/ |
> https://www.linkedin.com/in/emanueledeboni/ ]

> _______________________________________________
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