[License-discuss] [Non-DoD Source] Re: Resources to discourage governments from bespoke licenses?

Pamela Chestek pamela.chestek at opensource.org
Fri Feb 28 20:18:55 UTC 2020

On 2/28/2020 2:05 PM, Karan, Cem F CIV USARMY CCDC ARL (USA) via
License-discuss wrote:
> I don't know the full reasoning behind why they couldn't participate on the list, but I do know that they were more open to talking with lawyers directly, off list.  Is that an option for you?
Unfortunately, that's not a likely path to success. The licenses are
discussed publicly, so the people who wrote the license are ideally the
ones explaining it to the license-review list because they know the ins
and outs. We've had proxies participate in the past and it doesn't go
well. There also needs to be some willingness to modify the license
based on feedback. The license may last to perpetuity, so it needs to be
really well written. If it's presented to license-review as "take it or
leave it," the outcome for a newly written license is likely going to be
"leave it."

The anonymous lawyers should think of the license-review process as a
really great tool for improving their work product. The list does a
great job at stress testing a license (not to mention the equanimity of
the license steward!) and will identify problems that the original
authors didn't think about, so that the ultimately approved license is
much higher quality than the originally submitted license.


Pamela Chestek
Chair, License Review Committee
Open Source Initiative

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