[License-review] Approval: OIN License (Open Innovation License)

McCoy Smith mccoy at lexpan.law
Sat Dec 26 19:16:55 UTC 2020

This license does raise an interesting issue that the past ethical license submissions have not – can a non-legally binding statement that users ought to not make certain uses of the software, appended to a license that does not impose any legal restrictions against those uses – make a license OSD compliant (de facto, and de jure)?

I think that’s an interesting issue the Board at some point may want to confront. I don’t believe this license, at least in its current formulation, is the best vehicle for that, but assuming it is not withdrawn and does get to the Board anyway, it might be worth them opining upon the question, even if it is dicta with regard to a decision on this particular license.

Such a statement might serve as a guide for future ethical license drafters who may wish to seek OSI approval.


From: License-review <license-review-bounces at lists.opensource.org> On Behalf Of Eric Schultz
Sent: Saturday, December 26, 2020 9:55 AM
To: License submissions for OSI review <license-review at lists.opensource.org>
Subject: Re: [License-review] Approval: OIN License (Open Innovation License)




Thanks for submitting this!


After a quick read I generally think what you've created is close to being OSD-compliant. I am of the opinion that non-legally binding statements about the author's goals can be part of a open source license. I personally feel the wording could be tightened up a bit because I'm not sure it's as clear as it could be.


But I'll leave it up to the lawyers to decide whether the sections you intend to be legally non-binding statements actually are non-binding.




On Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 6:50 PM Andrew Nassief <kamalandrew55 at gmail.com <mailto:kamalandrew55 at gmail.com> > wrote:

Hi, I would like to submit my license for approval. The LICENSE.md file can be seen on GitHub <https://github.com/StarkDrones/OIN/blob/main/LICENSE.md>  with its available markdown. For sake of simplicity, here is the raw text of the license:

Released under the Open Innovation License

Copyright © // Insert information of license holder

Version 1, 10th November 2020

Copyright © 2020 Stark Drones Corporation
Copyright © 2020 Andrew Magdy Kamal

This project is licensed under the Open Innovation License. This means any code, file, diagrams, data format, or other innovation containing this license within it can be copied, modified, redistributed, published, or even used for commercial purposes within the context of this license.

Any code, file, diagrams, data format, or other innovation containing this license is understood to be fully "AS IS", no claims are made in regards to safety, security, warranty, usability, or other form of merchantability and market-readiness. In no events are copyright holders, authors, or publishers are to be held liable for any claims, damage or results from usage of what have been licensed under this license.

The context of this license includes: Keeping this original license text verbatim and permissive notice, as well as the copyright notice included in any redistribution of said project. Project is defined as what is using this license. For purposes of context, the copyright notice above version and year is meant to be modified for whomsoever publishes or releases "any code, file, diagrams, data format, or other innovation", so that they can include their information. After modifying, the comment saying "// Insert information of license holder" which starts with // can be removed. This current paragraph however, will remain in-tact.

Anybody who releases software under the "Open Innovation License" agrees to at goodwill, build or release technology for the betterment of humanity not meant with the intention to harm a human being. They agree to a prima facie moral duty through consequential deontology to understand that technology should be within the concept of moral good or outcomes that are morally right and/or ethical. They agree at goodwill to promote the advancement of humanity and civilization as a whole. They agree to a sense of adventurement, edification, and the expansion of the human mind.

Said agreement which is within the last paragraph prior to this sentence is meant to be taken as a general consensus, but not legally enforceable. Again for context, the last paragraph which starts with "Anybody" and ends with "human mind" minus quotations, is outside of the boundaries of being legally enforceable and within the duties of oneselve's actions. The rest of the license which includes the copyright notice and its context is within a legally enforceable context. For secondary context, the rest of the license refers to anything outside of that said paragraph.



I wanted to release this license for a variety of different reasons. Infact, I made many posts in regards to why this license is unique and valuable, and found many developers willing to adapt this license through small innovation challenges. The license was made on the basis of promoting a mission statement on ethical technology within the license as well as not being specific to only software i.e. files, diagrams, data format or any other innovation. 

We also wanted to make sure that the license is adaptable. Many open source licenses require you to put tons of header files for compliance. We wanted to make a license that just requires you to contain the license file in your directory. While many other open source licenses also do that or follow in similar footsteps, we weren't able to find one that met all these unique qualities.

Currently, a big inspiration for this license was the idea of promoting free and open software as well as a mission statement on ethical technologies. We found that many of the big tech companies that are hailed as heroes of open source or doing open source initiatives, built technologies that are harmful to human activity. A technically non-legally enforceable mission statement within an enforceable open source license was the way to go. We also made sure to go out of our way to promote the ideals of open source and free and redistributive software.


I looked at a variety of different open source licenses. The standard being MIT, then BSD+Patent, ZLib, CDDL, CPAL, CPL, CAL, BSL, and the AFL license. I feel like MIT, ZLIB, and the Boost licenses focus on redistribution and code. Those are the standards. The open patent licenses and other licenses focus on derived original work. However, none of them tried going to the same extent I wanted in terms of being specific in regards to data formats or general consensus and mission. I believe this is an important thing to take into account.

Legal review:

Currently I have submitted this to SPDX as well for review through their GitHub/Website. However, the review time to get approval and receive SPDX identifiers can be many months. I submitted in November and decided to submit to OSI while I wait. As for reviewing the context of language myself and actual legal review, I have thought out reviews through my own legal council and self judgement as a researcher familiar with these types of languages.

Proliferation category: 

I don't necessarily need to be in a Proliferation category as of now, as many of the licenses on your site are not in a category. However, I would eventually want to get into the Licenses that are popular and widely used or with strong communities category.

The opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and not necessarily those of the Open Source Initiative. Communication from the Open Source Initiative will be sent from an opensource.org <http://opensource.org>  email address.

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