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Re: Third party code license issue

Paul Elliott <pelliott@blackpatchpanel.com> writes:

> I do not think the authors of the DFSG intended to endorse the use of
> software for evil.

I think the authors of the DFSG did not intend to endorse any particular
use. But I am certain they did not intend to *restrict* any particular

> And I don't think Evil is a "Field of endeavor". Most people know, or
> think they know, when they are doing evil.

Yes, I'm sure that's so. The problem with the license clause in question
is that it is not the person exercising the license who makes that
determination: it is the opinion of the copyright holder that matters.

So, at best, this clause becomes a “you must know the opinion of the
copyright holder before you can know whether you even have a license in
the work”.

And at worst it becomes a chilling clause: in the absence of knowing
whether one has license in the work to do something, many interesting
uses will be seen as too risky, even if they are considered “not evil”
by the person who would do them.

> The clause should be taken as an exhortation rather than a legal
> requirement.

That's something that you should take up with the author of that clause
then: it is phrased as a requirement, and I think it would be quite
reasonable for the recipient and any judge to interpret it as one.

> In our times, those who favor Good over Evil should be encouraged
> rather than discouraged. They should be given every benefit of doubt.

In our times, anyone who makes use of a copyrighted work does so at the
mercy of the entire draconian copyright regime. We need licenses that
make recipient's freedoms clear and simple to protect, not ambiguous and

 \        “A life spent making mistakes is not only most honorable but |
  `\          more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” —anonymous |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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