Re: Java3D license incompatible with DFSG?
On Mon, 17 Sep 2012, Steve Langasek wrote:
In this specific case, you're suggesting that we should for
some reason care that a user can't make a counterfactual claim in court that
this software has been licensed by the DOE for use in nuclear facilities.
Suppose someone puts this license on something that really is licensed
for use in nuclear facilities. (Perhaps they missed some obscure law which
licenses it.) Does the license become non-free (since the user can't
acknowledge a false statement), but only for this particular piece of software?
Suppose that tomorrow the government decides to license the software for
use in nuclear facilities. Does that immediately halt all further
distribution of the software, since it now requires a false acknowledgement?
GPL3, for instance, includes two distinct restrictions on the recipient's
right to sue:
Suppose that you use the software in a nuclear facility and you get sued for
negligence (either by a third party or by the copyright owner). Among the
evidence offered in the negligence case is that you acknowledged that the
software isn't licensed for use in nuclear facilities. Would that make it
non-free? This is not a case of the recipient suing--it's a case of the
recipient being sued.
How can we expect the user to make this acknowledgement anyway? I'm not a
lawyer. I don't know if the software has been licensed in nuclear facilities
or not. How can I acknowledge a statement whose factual nature I am
uncertain of? The statement isn't, after all, "we're telling you that
the software isn't licensed for use in nuclear facilities", it's "*you
Besides, this is a more general objection of which being licensed for use in
nuclear facilities is just a specific example. I can easily conceive of a
situation where the license says "you acknowledge X" and it is to the user's
benefit to not acknowledge X, even if that won't happen much in the nuclear
facilities case. (What if X is "___ violates ___ patent" and acknowledging
it exposes him to liability for willful infringement?)