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Re: BCFG Public License

Scripsit Benjamin Seidenberg <astronut@dlgeek.net>
> Henning Makholm wrote:

>> What does it even mean then? Which legal consequences does it have for
>> me to "acknowledge" that law? Why would the licensor want me to do so
>> - he must have _some_ purpose in requiring such an "acknowledgement",
>> which indicates that a laywerbomb must be present somewhere. I would
>> be wary of using the software, because it is completely opaque what
>> the catch is.

> It's to cover UChicago's ass. They want to make sure if someone
> distributes their software in a way that violates US export laws they
> can point at that license and say "See! We warned them! It's not our
> fault"

Thay would be able to cover their asses just fine by simply informing
the licensee that those laws exist. Lots of fine licenses do that.

However, this clause does not simply inform about a fact. It requires
the _licensee_ to do something, namely to "agree". Some people in this
threa claim that the action being required is not that of holding the
same opinion as that of the export law, but one of "acknowledging"
it. I don't even _know_ how to perform that action to the satisfaction
of the court. If I am to communicate acknowledgement to the licensor,
the software becomes postcardware and therefore non-free.

What I am saying is that if the author sues me with a claim that my
copying was unautorized becaus I have not performed the act of
"agreeing that bla bla bla" that was a condition of getting the
license, how would I go about convincing the court that he is wrong
and I did in fact do what the licensor wanted me to. (Assume here that
I _know_ what it is that the licensor wanted me to, which I don't).

>> At least I know what opinions I have. If "Licensee agrees" does not
>> mean that I in fact agree, then I don't know how to tell whether I
>> have "acknowledged" the law in a proper manner that allows me to use
>> the license, or what it would mean for me to do so.

> Would you agree that there are bugs present in the Debian operating
> system?  You may not like the fact (I know I don't), and you may not
> agree that they should be there, but I hope you can agree that they exist.

It is true that there are bugs in Debian. That does not mean that a
free license can require me to tell the licensor that.

Henning Makholm                        "Unmetered water, dear. Run it deep."

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