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Re: DFSG-compatibility of X13-ARIMA-SEATS (U.S. federal govt. software)

Le vendredi 03 août 2018 à 20:50 +1000, Ben Finney a écrit :
> > Sébastien Villemot <sebastien@debian.org> writes:

> > However, the last clause of the licence says that the “user agrees to
> > make a good faith effort to use the Software in a way that does not
> > cause damage, harm, or embarrassment to the United States/Commerce.”
> > This may be seen as a restriction on use (and therefore contrary to
> > DFSG§6)
> The term “use” is too vague, IMO, for help in discussing whether some
> action is restricted by copyright. You are right to point to DFSG§6,
> which distinguishes restrictions on “field of endeavour”.
> I think this case does in part depend on whether “[…] not cause damage,
> harm, or embarrassment to the United States/Commerce” excludes some
> field of endeavour. If it does, the restriction fails DFSG§6.


> > Do you think that this license is DFSG-compatible?
> I'd like to see discussion of fields of endeavour for a work like this,
> which may violate the restriction, and whether excluding those would
> count as a restriction on freedom of endeavour.

In a nutshell, this software is used to compute seasonal adjustments on
(mostly economic) time series data. For example, economic activity (as
measured by GDP) typically goes down during the summer in Western
countries, because of vacations; but this is a predictable pattern and
should not be counted as an economic slowdown. This software is used to
 distinguish this seasonal component from the underlying fundamental

So this software is used for statistical analysis and economic
research. I can hardly see any other use of it. The fields of endeavour
to which it can be applied are therefore quite limited, and it is hard
to see how this could be further restricted (short of making the
software useless, which is obviously not upstream’s intent).

Also, since this software cannot be used for, say, breaching into
computers or building weapons, it cannot do “damage, harm or
embarrassment” to the country or to the Department of Commerce as we
usually understand those words.

However, if “damage, harm or embarrassment” is taken in a broader sense
which includes political criticism, then things would be different. One
could write a hypothetical economic research paper, using this
software, and coming to the conclusion that some U.S. administration
has taken economic policy decisions that were “bad” (for some value of
“bad”). Using the software in such a way could obviously be perceived
as “damage, harm or embarrassment” by the criticized administration.

⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀  Sébastien Villemot
⣾⠁⢠⠒⠀⣿⡁  Debian Developer
⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋⠀  http://sebastien.villemot.name
⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀  http://www.debian.org

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