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Re: The APSL and Export Controls

Seth David Schoen writes:
> But this document abruptly moved from a set of "Guidelines" to a
> "Definition", which is now being used as though it were a legal document
> by many people and entities who are completely unfamiliar with free
> software.  If the current OSD is all they see, there's a lot of room for
> confusion, perhaps because of the number of things the DFSG took for
> granted.

This doesn't have to be a problem.  Open Source is a trademark, and the
owner can be completely arbitrary in granting and denying the right to use
it.  If OSI tells companies that they may not use the mark until they are
explicitly granted permission to do so, the companies will be forced to
submit their licenses for review.

> This is a recipe for endless controversy, if only because the lawyers
> writing each new public license seem to be able to dream up new license
> terms which never even crossed the minds of the people who conferred on
> the DFSG.

But the owners of the mark do not have to justify their decision to deny an
application for permission to use the mark.  While it certainly would be a
very bad idea to be capricious in denying certification, the fact is that a
company that is denied has no option but to ask what they must change.  The
owners of the mark are the sole and final authority.

> It's easy to get the impression that the lawyers who write many of these
> licenses don't _actually_ want to give up some sort of "control" over the
> code, and are looking for loopholes in the OSD.

For as long as there has been intellectual property, it has been the job of
IP lawyers to retain as much "control" as possible.  When they write these
licenses they are just doing what they believe they were hired to do.
Fault the people who hired them and failed to instruct them properly.
John Hasler
john@dhh.gt.org (John Hasler)
Dancing Horse Hill
Elmwood, WI

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