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Re: US Encryption Policy Change Now Official!



> On Thu, Jan 13, 2000 at 04:33:58PM +0000, Dale Scheetz wrote:
> > On Thu, 13 Jan 2000, Jules Bean wrote:
> > 
> > > On Thu, 13 Jan 2000, Bear Giles wrote:
> > > > 
> > > > BTW, for the same reason I'm not entirely sure that many ham radio
> > > > packages should be considered non-DFSG.  If the sole purpose of a
> > > > package is operation of a device which requires a gov't license
> > > > to operate, is it non-DFSG for the license to restrict the use of
> > > > the license to only those who can legally use the software?  I'm
> > > > sure the author honestly doesn't care one way or the other, but
> > > > includes the language just to CYA if someone buys some used gear
> > > > at a swap meet and doesn't realize that a ham station is not just
> > > > an overpowered CB radio.
> > > 
> > > It's a moot point. But IMO, if the author uses the copyright license to
> > > enforce this, it's no DFSG free.
> > > 
> > > If, instaed, the author says "This software is under the GPL" but "Respect
> > > the local laws of your jurisdiction.  In particular, in the United States
> > > you are forbidden from doing X, Y and Z" then he's covered his back (IMO)
> > > but hasn't actually made his copyright license non-free.
> > 
> > It would depend upon whether those statements (the CYA ones) are part of
> > the license or just part of the copyrighted material. If it is just text
> > in the code, and not part of the license, then I would still consider the
> > license to be DFSG compliant.
> 
> IANAL, but I think it does not matter. You have to "Respect the local laws
> of your jurisdiction" anyway, always and without exception (you are doing a
> criminal offence if not!).

It's more complex than that.  In most jurisdictions you can break the
law to prevent the commission of a more serious crime -- this is known
as a "lesser of evils" defense.  It can get *very* interesting when
there's a misunderstanding, e.g., a couple's public sexual fantasy 
being mistaken for a rape.

Back to the point, an otherwise legal act can become illegal if the 
person has a reasonable expectation that his acts will aid or abet a 
criminal act.  If nothing else, you could always be pulled in under
general criminal conspiracy.

I think that's what the ham radio licenses are intended to address.
Operating a ham station without a license is a criminal act.  Some
licenses require special software to operate, and this software has
no use other than operation of a specific type of ham station.  Therefore
anyone using the software must be planning to operate a ham station.
Therefore knowingly providing the software to someone without a 
suitable license is aiding the commission of a crime.

An analogy which shows this much clearer is software that produces
IDs.  There's a legitimate need for such software - it could be
used by universities and K-12 schools, employeers, stores (discount
cards), clubs, etc.  However using a fradulent ID is a crime, as
is the production of such IDs.  So a reasonably prudent person who
wrote a specialized program for the production of IDs would make
his license conditional on the legal use of the software, if for
no other reason than to establish a firm legal barrier between him
and the d00dz who repackage the software with driver's license
templates from every state and a product review of digital cameras.

--
Bear Giles
bgiles@coyotesong.com


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