[License-review] For approval: The Cryptographic Autonomy License (Beta 4)

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Thu Dec 5 06:22:50 UTC 2019

Hi Van,

I hope you've been well.

The purpose of the CAL is to protect the Holochain (https://holochain.org/)
from bad actors who would sequester user data. I am exploring whether it
could possibly be effective at that, which of course has some implication
on its usefulness.

Is there anything in the terms that would prevent a developer from reading
the entire code base, and developing a detailed understanding of how it

Would anything in the terms prevent a developer from documenting how
Holochain (or any other licensed code) works, and publicly distributing
that document under a different license from the original code? Assume that
the document only renders descriptions of the functionality necessary for

Would anything in the terms prevent any developer from taking that
document, and implementing an interoperable program under any license, or
no license?

Would the CAL terms prevent such an interoperable program from operating as
a Holonet node?

Does Holonet have any other legal means of preventing such an interoperable
program from operating as a Holonet node?

Can the CAL data terms, and the overall intent to keep user data available
to the user on Holonet, thus be circumvented by anyone who takes the
trouble to develop an interoperable program?

And if the answer is no, even if the program is under an OSI-approved



On Wed, Dec 4, 2019 at 12:31 PM VanL <van.lindberg at gmail.com> wrote:

> Based upon ongoing discussions with the license review committee, I am
> withdrawing Beta 3 and substituting Beta 4 (here attached).
> The primary change between Beta 3 and Beta 4 is the definition of "User
> Data."
> My understanding of OSI's position is that data requirements, such as are
> addressed by the CAL, are within scope of what an open source license can
> reasonably address. However, there was a request by the committee to more
> tightly define the definition of "User Data" so that it was more closely
> tied to function and experience of using the software by a user who chooses
> to self-host.
> In consultation with my client, we have proposed and received positive
> feedback on the following modified definition of User Data (most
> significant change bolded):
> “User Data” means any data that is an input to or an output from the Work, *where
> the presence of the data is necessary for substantially identical use of
> the Work in an equivalent context chosen by the Recipient*, and where the
> Recipient has an existing ownership interest, an existing right to possess,
> or where the data has been generated by, for, or has been assigned to the
> Recipient.
> There are also a few cleanups and the following minor but substantive
> changes:
> - Section 7.4, There is a definition of "prevailing party" for attorney
> fee awards (" A “prevailing party” is the party that achieves, or avoids,
> compliance with this License, including through settlement.")
> - Section 5.3, Enforcing against a terminated licensee does not cause
> termination for the license-enforcing party  ("Administrative review
> procedures, declaratory judgment actions, counterclaims in response to
> patent litigation, and enforcement actions against former Licensees
> terminated under this section do not cause termination due to litigation.")
> All other discussion regarding CAL Betas 2 and 3 should apply.
> From the original submission:
> *Rationale:* The CAL is a new network copyleft license especially
> applicable for distributed systems. It is designed to be as protective as
> possible of downstream recipients of the software, providing them all that
> they need to create and use an independent copy of a licensed work without
> losing functionality or data.
> *Distinguish:* The CAL is most similar to the AGPL, and will have a
> similar scope of action in most cases. However, the CAL has provisions that
> require that operators provide recipients of the software with a copy of
> their user data, enhancing their ability to independently use the software.
> The CAL also allows the creation of mixed "Larger Works," provides for
> affiliate use, and does not specify a mechanism by which notice is given to
> recipients.
> *Legal Analysis*: The CAL was drafted by legal counsel. Previous
> discussions have outlined many aspects of the legal analysis.
> A copy the the license in Markdown format is attached. For those who would
> prefer it, a Google Docs version of the license is viewable here:
> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-eD9EH6i3wdSXgG4XJbF-a0cSSknOERjYzlVonOwAQ0/edit?usp=sharing
> _______________________________________________
> License-review mailing list
> License-review at lists.opensource.org
> http://lists.opensource.org/mailman/listinfo/license-review_lists.opensource.org

Bruce Perens - Partner, OSS.Capital.
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