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Re: BCFG Public License

Henning Makholm wrote:
> 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.
By using the rights given to you by the license. Your use of the rights
is contingent on acceptance of the terms of the license, thus by
exercising those rights, your are demonstrating your acknowledgment.

Think of the GPL. By distributing software under the GPL, you are
acknowledging the terms of the GPL (SCO excluded) and you are then bound
by them. This license just explicitly requires you to acknowledge a fact
of US law, which you do by the act of distribution/modification.
> 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.
This was an example of the difference between the two types of 'agree',
not saying a license should say that.


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