Re: [ox-en] non-commercial software lic
- From: Rich Walker <rw shadow.org.uk>
- Date: Tue, 18 May 2004 19:32:43 +0100
august <august alien.mur.at> writes:
There are plenty of licenses that have non-commercial use
clauses. They are not Free Software or Open Source licenses of course.
yes they are. I guess that depends in how "free" you want to be in
One issue with NC clauses is that some people see them as dangerously
I agree that it would be difficult, but not impossible.
Point is, the clause turns "we can clearly see how to enforce this
license" into "the lawyers will be in court for 20 years with this one"
Another is that they are a slippery slope.
what do you mean by a slippery slope?
A third is
that they render the software a whole lot less useful or legally clear
to many groups.
well, the idea would be to render the software a lot less useful to
But you get a lot of collateral damage. For example, if you apply a
hypothetical "Not-for-use-by-military" license, you exclude anyone that
gets military funding, which means all universities, most major
companies, and of course almost all governments.
A fourth is that the freedom to do whatever you want
with a software is important enough in the absolute that whether or
not you are making a profit really doesn't matter.
I really wince when I hear things like "....freedom to do whatever you
want ...." in relation to "free" software. I really don't mean to
knitpick with you Mako, but it sounds so incredibly naive to me. Does
You should check some of Mako's postings in the archive for details of
his stance on this. He appears to have thought a lot about it, and have
very good reasons for his conclusions.
that mean that someone is "free" to use freesoftware to make a destructive
virus? or free to use it to spy illegally on other people's
communications? or free to use it to guide scud missiles at innocent
Pretty much, yes. Because if you prohibit any of these, then you are
also (usually) prohibiting people from defending themselves against
these things. Also, hindering citizens is *much* easier than hindering
governments, who in most jurisdictions can simply say "matter of
national security" and override your license anyway.
this is the way Vaneever Bush was thinking when he lead the
project that built the nuclear bomb. and, to date, he is praised by
artists and scientists alike.
Vannevar Bush, and did he have anything to do with that? Are you
confusing him with Oppenheimer and Teller?
I, for one, don't think along these lines. I think the illusion of free
software is that it really is "free"... and that it lies outside all these
other social conditions and structural violence. The illusion, I think,
is that the software is neutral, that the technology is neutral. I just
can't see it like that any more.
No, state power is the illusion, but millions go along with it :->
There are plenty
please name them.
One thing I'd like to add is that FOSS programmers *have* seen the
danger of exploitation that you mention but they choose to tackle in a
way that avoids the problems introduced by NC clauses. The answer is
copyleft which, while not barring use, makes sure that those using it
for "bad" never have an advantage over those using it for good.
how can this be, when certain groups already have an advantage over
individuals or other smaller groups? let's take my motion tracking
example again. jo schmoe who invents it, has nowhere near the influence
of the US military or local police. the disadvantages are already set.
And if JS invents it in the US, the US military *already* has the rights
to it. Most patent law is like that.
rich walker | Shadow Robot Company | rw shadow.org.uk
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