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Re: Squeak in Debian?

Scripsit Nathanael Nerode <neroden@twcny.rr.com>

> Actually, they're not entirely NOPs.  They mean "if you break the law, then
> in addition to the legal penalties, we can *also* terminate your license".
> We don't accept clauses stronger than that,

And, at least the last couple of years, we have usually found even
this strength of follow-the-law clauses non-free for exactly that reason.

The example commonly quoted is a dissident variation:

Consider a North Korean dissident (he used to be Iraqi, but the world
changes). He uses and distributes the software in ways that we
wouldn't bat an eye at, but which are manifestly illegal according to
North Korean law. Afterwards he miraculously escapes to a country
where more sincere ideas about human rights rule.

Should we accept a license as free if after escaping, our dissident is
sued by the software author for breach of the license, and his right
to distribute the software is taken away? No way.

Thus, a license saying

   "Your license terminates if by distributing the software you break
   a North Korean law that is applicable to you."

is non-free. By symmetry, it should be equally non-free if we replace
North Korea by USA. We cannot let the freedom of licenses depend on
which countries currently have reasonable laws or not - it would be a
madhouse to try to implement that in practise.

Henning Makholm        "De er da bare dumme. Det skal du bare sige til dem."

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