[License-discuss] TrueCrypt license (not OSI-approved; seeking history, context).

Richard Fontana fontana at sharpeleven.org
Wed Oct 16 02:36:44 UTC 2013


On Tue, 15 Oct 2013 17:53:37 -0700
Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
 
> (License is at:  http://www.truecrypt.org/legal/license
> They make no effort to distinguish revisions by URL.)
 
Looking at the latest TrueCrypt license, I can see how they responded to
some of the criticism coming from Fedora and others, which is something.
Some things they didn't change, though. On a fairly quick read, which
is as much as I want to do, here are some things I noted:

IV-4: indemnification clause is broader in scope than that found in any
mainstream open source license. Possibly problematic. 

VI-4:

"You may allow a third party to use Your copy of This Product (or a copy
that You make and distribute, or Your Product) provided that the third
party explicitly accepts and agrees to be bound by all terms and
conditions of this License and the third party is not prohibited from
using This Product (or portions thereof) by this License (see, e.g.,
Section VI.7) or by applicable law."

I think this practically violates OSD 1 (at least its spirit), since
conventional multi-package distribution projects can't easily comply
with this requirement (if only for cultural reasons). It possibly also
violates the letter or spirit of OSD 10. I seem to recall Fedora
discussing this one with them, and that they indicated they meant
"explicitly" to mean "explicitly", but I could be misremembering there.

(VI-7 for reference:

"IF (IN RELEVANT CONTEXT) ANY PROVISION OF CHAPTER IV OF THIS
LICENSE IS UNENFORCEABLE, INVALID, OR PROHIBITED UNDER APPLICABLE LAW
IN YOUR JURISDICTION, YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS UNDER THIS LICENSE AND YOU
MUST NOT USE, COPY, MODIFY, CREATE DERIVATIVE WORKS OF, NOR
(RE)DISTRIBUTE THIS PRODUCT, NOR ANY PORTION(S) THEREOF." )

The reference to this provision in VI-4 seems to mean that a
distributor violates the license by virtue of the fact that the license
is unenforceable as to the distributee. Since a distributor can't in
general know whether this is going to be the case, a distributor can
never have reasonable certainty over whether it is compliant with this
provision or not. 

VI-6: 

"IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHETHER YOU UNDERSTAND ALL PARTS OF THIS
LICENSE OR IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHETHER YOU CAN COMPLY WITH ALL TERMS AND
CONDITIONS OF THIS LICENSE, YOU MUST NOT USE, COPY, MODIFY, CREATE
DERIVATIVE WORKS OF, NOR (RE)DISTRIBUTE THIS PRODUCT, NOR ANY
PORTION(S) OF IT. YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH A LAWYER."

This is a very interesting provision because it seems to indicate
that you violate the license if you don't have absolute certainty
regarding what it means or whether you are in compliance, a sort of
weird meta-condition. I remember we objected to this on principle. 


- RF


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