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Re: DFSG status of DFARS clause?

On Oct 14, Aaron M. Ucko wrote:
> [Please Cc: me on replies.]
> For the record, does
> 	All Rights Reserved. RESTRICTED RIGHTS LEGEND: Use,
> 	duplication, or disclosure by the government is subject
> 	to restrictions as set forth in subparagraph (c) (1) (ii)
> 	of the Rights in Technical Data and Computer Software
> 	Clause at DFARS 252.227-7013 (Oct. 1988) and FAR
> 	52.227-19(c) (June 1987).
> in a license violate the DFSG?


In the current DFARS, this appears to be subparagraph (b).  Frankly
the whole thing looks like a confusing mess but it appears to obligate
the federal government to respect copyright law except in cases where
software was developed exclusively with government funds.  I recommend
finding a lawyer.

I really don't see anything in DFARS that would restrict the ability
of the U.S. government to use any DFSG-free software, though it's
possible DFARS may give them additional rights not granted by license
(in which case you could argue that the restricted rights legend
actually discriminates against non-government users) in certain cases,
particularly if the entire project was government financed.  I could
only see this as a problem with something that was GPLed or otherwise
copylefted (ex: GPLed software that is financed by the govt could be
modified by the govt and combined with non-GPL-compatible software); a
BSD-style license (which I think Tcl/Tk is under) doesn't restrict
derived works anyway.

If anything, it seems like a separate license for the government,
which may or may not be the same thing as a discriminatory
license... though we generally don't argue that dual-licensed software
is non-free unless all of the licenses aren't DFSG-free and/or the
range of all possible software users isn't covered by a DFSG-free
license; e.g. GNU Ghostscript 6.51 is GPLed, but it was also licensed
under the AFPL [as Aladdin Ghostscript 6.50] before being freed, and
Aladdin licenses copies of Aladdin Ghostscript under other non-free
licenses, yet GNU Ghostscript is DFSG-free.

(I guess the question is: if I license software under a BSD-like
license, but say in the license that people who use it to build
nuclear power plants, have bad breath, or hang out with Osama bin
Laden have to abide by the terms of the GPL with regards to the
software, would that be non-free, even though both groups are covered
by DFSG-free licenses?)

Chris Lawrence <lawrencc@debian.org> - http://www.lordsutch.com/chris/

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