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|For Good Eyes Only Licence v0.1.md||3 months ago|
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For Good Eyes Only Licence FAQ
- Is there a shorter name for it?
- Why do we need licences at all?
- What is Fog Eye supposed to do better?
- Whose ethical principles is Fog Eye based on?
- What are Fog Eye's conditions?
- Can I use Fog Eye myself?
- Can I change Fog Eye's conditions?
- What kinds of works can Fog Eye be used for?
- Aren't all the clauses overkill?
- Is Fog Eye approved by the Open Source Initiative or the Free Software Foundation?
- Does Fog Eye comply with Free Software definitions?
- Is Fog Eye court-proven?
- Is Fog Eye reliable?
- Can I still make personal agreements when using Fog Eye?
- Can I contribute?
- Which country's law applies to Fog Eye?
- How to display licence changes?
- Can I fork Fog Eye?
- Has Fog Eye been legally reviewed?
- Reading the summary is enough, isn't it?
- Can I just use "the most recent version of Fog Eye" as my licence?
1. Is there a shorter name for it?
If you want to use a short abbreviation for the rather long name "For Good Eyes Only Licence" I'd recommend "Fog Eye" or "Fogeye":
Fog Eye = FOr Good Eyes OnlY LicencE
2. Why do we need licences at all?
Imagine a software developer who spent days or weeks to create an awesome program he/she wants to share with others. What is he/she supposed to do? Most people would probably upload it to the internet as that's the easiest way of sharing digital data. If the actual source code is publicly available the application is considered open-source.
Let's assume some other developer has a great idea of some feature that could be added to the program – no big deal, he/she could just develop the code on his/her own and send it to the original creater who then proceeds to implement it. But what if the creator starts to sell the program for a small fee to the users but the contributor disagrees? On the one hand, the creator invented the program but on the other hand, the contributor holds copyrights to his/her additions too.
As soon as several people work together on a common project there have to be certain rules regulating stuff like copyright, code of conduct, re-distribution or usage. Otherwise, there will always be some sort of dispute over basic decisions regarding the project's future.
3. What is Fog Eye supposed to do better?
If you publish a software project you could just write down your own rules. But they would probably be misunderstood or have loopholes that others could abuse. That's why professional organisations have already designed and published legally secure licences that both creators and users can rely on. They have simple standard rules regarding the re-use of the licensed work, so that one usually does not have to do more than add the licence text to the software project as a separate file.
For example, the GPL allows commercial use but forces re-users to disclose their adaptations. There are plenty other licences with conditions more or less strict. However, there aren't any licences enforcing human rights or ethical behaviour.
That's why the Hippocratic Licence and the Do No Harm Licence have been founded. They're really great as they force all licensees to comply with basic human rights principles or climate protection. If you want to make sure your software isn't used for unethical things you should definitely consider using those licences.
Even though both licences are good choices their terms don't go far enough for me, so I decided to create my own license based on them, which is firstly completely according to my ideas and secondly also useful for others. The result is Fog Eye.
The licence combines human rights as well as climate and nature protection from both licences and also includes aspects such as international law or user data protection and security. I also considered that the licence should apply to all types of creative works, rather than just software. I have made sure that when the work is redistributed, on the one hand it cannot be marketed as a stand-alone work, but on the other hand it can be part of a larger, extensive product. This is to ensure that creative works cannot simply be "stolen", but that commercial use is nevertheless not excluded per se.
4. Whose ethical principles is Fog Eye based on?
Fog Eye is based on the ethical principles and moral views as implemented in:
- the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations
- the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
- the German Code of Crimes against International Law (CCAIL)
- the German Basic Law (constitution)
5. What are Fog Eye's conditions?
Here's version 0.1's summary:
The Licensee is allowed to:
- re-destribute, modify and use the original work gratis
- commercialise and patent an extensive product which also contains the adaptation
- use a custom licence for an extensive product which also contains the adaptation
The Licensee is obliged to:
- credit the original author
- maintain the exact same licence for the adaptation
- document changes to the original
- make the adaptation distinguishable from the original
- always comply with ethical principles
- check the original work for defects before interaction
- preserve the user’s dignity, privacy and data security
The Licensee is not allowed to:
- commercialise or patent the original or an adaptation as a stand-alone product
- behave in unethical ways
- the Licence does not provide any guarantee, warranty or liability
- rights once granted to the Licensee cannot be withdrawn by the Licensor
- the Licence may be amended/withdrawn all Licence amendments must be stated transparently
- violations of the terms and conditions result in the loss of the rights granted by the Licence
- the Licensor may make exceptions for logos, icons and the name of the work
- licensed software works have to be offered entirely, free of charge, non-obfuscated and in a common form as far as possible
6. Can I use Fog Eye myself?
Yes, please! If you want to do so, please copy the entire licence text into a separate "LICENCE.md" file in your repository or wherever you publish your work. (Don't just link to this repo.) You can also just copy the respective PDF file as it already contains all relevant information.
7. Can I change Fog Eye's conditions?
Yes, of course. You can change the licence's conditions but you have to change the licence's name afterwards too in order to prevent any confusion. Also, don't use Fog Eye's icons, logos, banners etc. if you change the conditions.
8. What kinds of works can Fog Eye be used for?
Well, it can be used for any work that is protected by copyright law, e.g. software, photos, paintings, music, literature, sculptures etc. There are no boundaries.
9. Aren't all the clauses overkill?
No. Yes. Yo. Nes.
Of course, one can argue that someone who already has the power to e.g. commit war crimes with impunity is unlikely to care about some paltry licence. But I don't think it's primarily a question of being able to reliably sue for one's copyrights or the like. Rather, with this licence you should be able to send a clear signal that you are committed to the Light Side and will always defy the Dark Side. That you stand up for moral values and ostracise unethical behaviour. That you take responsibility for the consequences of your own creativity. That is the purpose of this licence, no more and no less.
In contrast to some unimaginative, hackneyed "Code of Conduct", which is not binding anyway, this licence aspires to actually uphold ethical principles, at least on paper.
10. Is Fog Eye approved by the Open Source Initiative or the Free Software Foundation?
No, (AFAIK) it's not. Also, I have not asked them to and I don't know whether they would if I asked.
11. Does Fog Eye comply with Free Software definitions?
Yes, it does comply with the "Open Source Initiative's" so-called "open-source definition" in my opinion. It consists of the following criteria which Fog Eye fulfills:
- Fog Eye explicitly states that the permission of usage is free of charge and that the licensee may use the licensed work in an extensive commercial product.
- The Licensor has to provide the software work entirely, free of charge, non-obfuscated and in a commonly used form.
- Fog Eye explicitly allows adaptations and enforces their re-distribution under the same licence conditions.
- see point 3
- Fog Eye doesn't exclude anyone based on discrimination or any intolerant criteria.
- Fog Eye doesn't exclude any fields of endeavour that adhere to the general consensual rules of free, just and peaceful social coexistence.
- Fog Eye is automatically offered to anyone acquiring a copy of the licensed work.
- Fog Eye doesn't have any rules on particular pieces of software.
- Fog Eye doesn't have any rules for other/foreign pieces of software.
- There are also no rules about the kind of certain technologies.
Also, it does comply with the Free Software Foundation's four essential freedoms:
- Those users are free to run the licensed software for any purpose that adhere to the general consensual rules of free, just and peaceful social coexistence.
- Fog Eye explicitly allows usage and modification of licensed works.
- and 4. It also explicitly allows re-distribution of the original and adaptations.
However, as you probably already noticed, Fog Eye's conditions on commercialisation are less radical than FSF's understanding of software freedom as Fog Eye doesn't allow selling, patenting etc. an adaptation as a stand-alone product. Only allowing commercialisation of extensive products with the adaptation as an addition to it is supposed to ensure that the Licensee's freedom doesn't reduce fairness with respect to the Licensor.
Of course, one could say that due to this rule Fog Eye wasn't compatible with FSF's definition of software freedom. However, I think that this doesn't matter so much because Fog Eye is still a Free licence as it fulfills the essence of what people understand by Software Freedom in practice.
In fact, Fog Eye is so much more than just a regular Free Software licence – it's a licence focused on freedom, justice, fairness, responsibility and ethics. It would be misleading to reduce it to just one of those aspects.
12. Is Fog Eye court-proven?
No, it has never been subject to a litigation (AFAIK). However, it doesn't have to in order to be considered somewhat "reliable". First, every case is different. Even if there was a verdict, it only applies to that particular case with its unique conditions. It doesn't make any sense to assume that a random verdict created somehow any "trust". Second, judges are independent. Even if the conditions of two cases are similar, each judge may come to different conclusions based on their legal INTERPRETATION.
So like every lawyer says: It depends!
13. Is Fog Eye "reliable"?
Well, at least I think so as is have implemented mainly one major measure to prevent any abuse or misunderstanding: The interpretation clause. Just like the name says it regulates how the licence text may be interpreted:
"This Licence shall be interpreted on a common-sense basis and as a coherent, non-absurd and non-contradictory flow of ideas, thoughts and moral points of view. Definitional gaps shall not be interpreted in a manner inconsistent with the intent and the essence of this Licence."
This clause would, in my view, theoretically weaken fundamentally in court the basis of argument of the party trying to exploit any "loophole" in the licence.
14. Can I still make personal agreements when using Fog Eye?
Just as federal law breaks state law, personal agreements between licensor and licensee are also of higher value than the general licence conditions. So, yes, you can still make personal agreements.
15. Can I contribute?
Sure! I'm happy about any feedback, recommendations etc. Just open a new issue and I'll have a look. ☺️
16. Which country's law applies to Fog Eye?
This depends on various factors, such as the places of residence or nationalities of the parties involved, or simply the legal situation of the country in which a possible dispute is being litigated. Also, according to the internationally widely accepted country-of-protection principle, the law applicable to intellectual property issues is that of the country for whose territory protection is claimed. But that isn't necessarily always the case.
Neither the licence nor I can reliably say which law applies.
17. How to display licence changes?
Well, usually the Git history should be fine as long as it's not artificially manipulated. For example, you could link to your project's commit log in the README.md file.
18. Can I fork Fog Eye?
Sure! Just be sure to change its name, logos etc. afterwards too in order to prevent any confusion. 😉
19. Has Fog Eye been legally reviewed?
I have already talked to a lawyer about the licence but haven't had it reviewed by an actual advocate yet. However, you're free to do so yourself if you wish to.
20. Reading the summary is enough, isn't it?
No, you're strongly advised not to use the licence without fully reading it. Licensees should also always read the licence in full.
21. Can I just use "the most recent version of Fog Eye" as my licence?
No, don't do that. Of course, you're free to update the licence each time a new version of Fog Eye is published, but you have to provide the full licence text in a seperate file in your repo. Linking to Fog Eye's repo is not enough.