[License-discuss] Ethical open source licensing - Dual Licensing for Justice

Pamela Chestek pamela at chesteklegal.com
Tue Feb 25 14:02:24 UTC 2020

On 2/24/2020 7:07 PM, Eric Schultz wrote:
> (For full background, see previous thread)
> Before beginning, I strongly discourage anyone from using these ideas
> with out talking to a lawyer; licenses are complex tools and the law
> is not kind to those who violate it, particularly marginalized people.
> I also think a far more diverse forum than this mailing list or
> Twitter are the proper places to address these issues. And as always,
> I am not a lawyer.
> My second idea is called Dual Licensing for Justice. I'll describe the
> idea first and follow with a list of open questions I have about the
> idea.
> Description:
> The idea for Dual Licensing for Justice comes from, you guessed it,
> dual licensing and my own experience with the [license for the Houdini
> Project](https://github.com/houdiniproject/houdini/blob/master/LICENSE)
> which I help lead. It's additionally inspired by the GPLvX-or-later
> license notice. In this tactic, a strong copy-left license could apply
> to the software. The community would draft a special exception to that
> license which grants all users except a set of listed entities the
> right to use the software under a more permissive license. As an
> example, consider the following, utterly non-legally valid special
> exception:
> ---
> As a special exception to the normal AGPLv3 license, all users except
> Amazon and their employees may choose, to redistribute and/or modify
> this software under the LGPLv3 license.
> ---
> This special exception makes clear who the community considers a bad
> actor and initially imposes greater obligations on them than anyone
> else. That said, I strongly believe it is FSD compatible and also
> believe it is OSD compatible. All parties receive a set of rights and
> obligations that comply with both definitions.

I don't see the point of these contortions. Why not just write a license
that says "everyone case use the software except Amazon." It suspect it
would be an enforceable license. Why are you trying to fit it under the
umbrella of "open source" too?


Pamela S. Chestek
Chestek Legal
PO Box 2492
Raleigh, NC 27602
pamela at chesteklegal.com

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