1998-09-30 - Re: propose: `cypherpunks license’ (Re: Wanted: Twofish source code)

Header Data

From: Richard Stallman <rms@santafe.edu>
To: aba@dcs.ex.ac.uk
Message Hash: af1bc68eed934aac5d4250ae58457faabd79bc80d6de9e2aa36785f0678ca6fa
Message ID: <199809301621.KAA09091@wijiji.santafe.edu>
Reply To: <199809281845.TAA18662@server.eternity.org>
UTC Datetime: 1998-09-30 03:22:56 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 11:22:56 +0800

Raw message

From: Richard Stallman <rms@santafe.edu>
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 11:22:56 +0800
To: aba@dcs.ex.ac.uk
Subject: Re: propose: `cypherpunks license' (Re: Wanted: Twofish source code)
In-Reply-To: <199809281845.TAA18662@server.eternity.org>
Message-ID: <199809301621.KAA09091@wijiji.santafe.edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

    All stuff I have written (non-commercially) so far has been PD.
    (Actually I don't even dignify it with a `this is PD' note -- I
    personally have zip respect for copyright, patents, licenses).

Legally, what this means is that your software is copyrighted, and any
redistribution of it is illegal.  That counterintuitive consequence is
the due to a treaty, the Berne Convention, that was designed to cater
to copyright owners.

    However, perhaps one could do one better than PD: restrict use to
    propogate cypherpunk goals.  eg. 

    - You may not use this code in software which provides government back

    - secret service agencies can not use this software / or must pay
    exorbitant license fees

My information is that such criteria are not legally enforcible under
copyright law in many countries.  You should probably check with a
copyright lawyer before trying such a thing.

In addition, a program with a restriction like this is not free
software, so people would probably work on a free replacement for it.
I don't want government back doors in any software I use, but this
kind of restriction is the wrong way to avoid them.  The right way is
through the GNU GPL, which would enable people to check the source
code of a modified version for anything suspicious.