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

Pamela Chestek pamela at chesteklegal.com
Tue Dec 10 17:25:58 UTC 2019

You haven't answered my last question, which is whether you believe this
is not an open source license or simply that it a license that will be
difficult to comply with in some use cases. If you believe it is not an
open source license, what would be your explanation of the rationale for
refusing it?


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

On 12/10/2019 11:48 AM, Nigel T wrote:
> Pam,
> My concern is that most software that takes in user data isn't very
> well equipped to export that user data back out.  
> If the *code* you received from upstream (not user data) can not
> comply with the user data export requirements of 4.2...whatever those
> may be...then the downstream user of that code is automatically not in
> compliance with the license on day 1.
> A simple scenario is I open source a system that lets my clients make
> appointments with me, see their billing statements, communicate with
> me, etc under the CAL license.  You see this and like it because of
> open data and transparency and get a copy of my software and begin to
> use it for your own clients.  It's really easy to do as I provided you
> (or whomever sets up your web site for you) step by step instructions
> on how to set it up on your own host.  
> No need to compile anything, just run my installer, pick a password,
> fill in some preferences, add your logo and you're ready to go.  
> For any other open source license if you provide the source code of my
> software to your clients you are, as far as I can tell, always in
> compliance.
> But say I had neglected to provide a way to export some data fields
> that the client gives me when interacting with the system.  You are in
> breach of the license as is everyone else who used my open source
> software to serve their own clients.
> All the client user data is certainly available to you as the
> downstream provider of the software to your clients...it may just a
> simple SQL statement away or it may require a lot of code changes to
> make available but either way you DO have it.
> As a potential downstream user looking at my software web page,
> running on my demo site, etc, how do you know you are actually in
> compliance without more careful analysis of the system inputs and
> outputs?  Do you not have to remake this assessment every time you
> upgrade to my latest version? 
> I also do not believe that we can assume that the required data is
> easily ascertainable nor do I believe that you could provide a simple
> criteria like "received in plain text" given that often the most
> valuable user inputs are the relationships between data and data
> groupings they create.
> Also the requirement to export /"//data has been generated by, for, or
> has been assigned to the Recipient"/makes the required export data not
> easily ascertainable.
> Regards,
> Nigel
> On Tue, Dec 10, 2019 at 10:12 AM Pamela Chestek
> <pamela at chesteklegal.com <mailto:pamela at chesteklegal.com>> wrote:
>     On 12/10/2019 9:41 AM, Nigel T wrote:
>>     The *software is not a safety deposit box* because of the
>>     requirement that you must also return /"//data has been generated
>>     by, for, or has been assigned to the Recipient". /Safety deposit
>>     boxes don't generate new content for users. Software often does.  
>>     Even ignoring generated data that you'd have go though each and
>>     every UI screen and make sure all inputs provided by user are
>>     correctly mapped to an export field...and you have to do this
>>     every time you update from upstream.
>>     *If the original software cannot export all of the data required
>>     to meet the requirements of 4.2 then all subsequent users of the
>>     software are in breach of the license.*  *This is a point that
>>     you continue to dance around. *You are handwaving significant
>>     legal and technical burden you are placing on users of CAL
>>     licensed software because you want to extend licensing
>>     requirements beyond open *source*into open *data *and
>>     non-technical users who just use the software out of the box
>>     don't control that at all. There are no exceptions for
>>     non-compliance of the original code in this license so it's *a
>>     compliance nightmare**for every downstream user whether they
>>     change the code or not*.
>     Hi Nigel,
>     Can you help me understand your point better? Section 4.2.1 says
>     "Throughout any period in which You exercise any of the
>     permissions granted to You under this License, You must also
>     provide to any Recipient /to whom you provide services via the
>     Work/, ... the Recipient's User Data in your possession, /to the
>     extent that such User Data is available to You/ for use in
>     conjunction with the Work."
>     I acknowledge your dislike of the ambiguity of "to the extent that
>     such User Data is available to You," but I'd like to put that
>     point aside. For the purposes of argument let's assume that it is
>     an easily ascertainable set of data, something like "any User Data
>     you received in plain text." The scenario is that I have received
>     data about a Recipient from upstream, and now I am providing
>     services to that same Recipient, which is the only situation in
>     which I would have to provide User Data. Is your point that the
>     program architecture may make it too difficult to extract and
>     provide the plain text that upstream provided to me? Is your
>     argument that there is something that is not open source about
>     this arrangement, or is it that the license will be used in
>     situations for which it is poorly suited?
>     Pam
>     Pamela S. Chestek
>     Chestek Legal
>     PO Box 2492
>     Raleigh, NC 27602
>     919-800-8033
>     pamela at chesteklegal.com <mailto:pamela at chesteklegal.com>
>     www.chesteklegal.com <http://www.chesteklegal.com>
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