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The first part of the software license looks to be BSD/MIT-like with the to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software,... sentence, but then there's this paragraph:

This permission does not include: (a) any use of the Software other than for its intended purpose; or (b) any use of the Software in any manner that violates applicable law. Any use of the Software other than as specifically authorized herein is strictly prohibited and will terminate the license granted herein.




In particular this means that this is anything but open source (at least if you go by the OSI definition, which I do).


It also precludes it from being free software, as defined by the FSF.


In particular this means that this is anything but open source (at least if you go by the OSI definition, which I do).

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I know some pedants argue that OSI don't have a registered trademark on "Open Source" and that they "don't get to decide what is or isn't open source." But in practice, many (most?) of us do acknowledge the OSI definition as being the de-facto definition of "Open Source."


I imagine that that's CYA; one thing both party organizations have in common: they are saturated with lawyers.


I can see how (b) gives them legal cover, since it says that you can't use the software to forge voter registrations. However, (a) implies that you can't reuse the code as the basis for software that's used to fill out some unrelated type of PDF form, like a tax form. So the terms of the license are really too restrictive to make the software legally safe for anyone else to use -- my employer's lawyers would never allow me to use this software as part of our commercial product. So while it may be technically "open source", it's not really a contribution to the free software community.


There's asset covering, and there's a license where you're assumed guilty until litigated.

And going against an organization that's "saturated with lawyers"?

Even if I were creating a voter registration web site, I'd likely not use this package, as reusing this PDF fulfillment package for any other use within that web site would potentially put the organization in licensing jeopardy. With this license, it'd be safer to re-implement rather than to re-use.

I'm not touching this license with a barge pole.




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