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question about free-software licenses


Thomas suggested that you might have information about the
significance of the DFARS clause in free-software licenses.

Specifically, I am trying to figure out whether

	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 BSD/MIT-style license (the remainder of the actual license reads

	You may use the software internally, modify it, make
	copies and distribute the software to third parties,
	including redistribution for profit, provided each copy
	of the software you make contains the copyright notice
	set forth above, the disclaimer below, and the authorship
	attribution below.

) is compatible with points 5 and 6 of the Debian Free Software Guidelines:

	5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
	The license must not discriminate against any person or group
	of persons.
	6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
	The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the
	program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may
	not restrict the program from being used in a business, or
	from being used for genetic research.

The conclusion so far on debian-legal is that the DFARS clause simply
annuls most of the extra rights that US copyright law ordinarily
grants to the government, and so is not discriminating *against* the
government.  One could argue that it discriminates against everybody
else, but on the other hand that such discrimination results not from
the license but from US copyright law, and that the license simply
does what it can to make things fairer.

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide on this matter.

Aaron M. Ucko, KB1CJC <amu@mit.edu> (finger amu@monk.mit.edu)

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