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Hacktivismo Enhanced-Source Software License Agreement

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 26, 2002

The HESSLA is a new open source-ish software license agreement that includes some terms that allows “both Hacktivismo and its end-users to go to court if someone tries to use the software in a malicious manner, or to introduce harmful changes into the software.” Furthermore:

“The most novel innovation in the license distributes enforcement power instead of concentrating it in Hacktivismo’s hands. If a private citizen happens to violate the license, then Hacktivismo is in charge of enforcement. But the situation is different if the violation is by a government or a governmental official. When Governments subvert human rights, and try to use Hactivismo-licensed software as part of any aspect of such a project, then the license empowers end-users act as enforcers too.

“The Hacktivismo license makes it clear that the act of voluntarily using Hacktivismo software, if it is used by a government as a part of any project that has the effect of violating human rights, explicitly constitutes a waiver by that government of its sovereign immunity in the courts of other countries.

“In other words, if Myanmar or China want to keep violating human rights — then they have no choice but to steer clear from using Hacktivismo’s software in connection with any of their wrongful projects. If not, then this software license just may be the victims’ long-needed ticket into court; their pathway over the obstacle to justice previously presented by sovereign immunity.”

I’m not quite sure how “malicious manner” or “harmful changes” are defined by the license or will be intepreted by the courts, but the whole thing is an interesting idea. (Thx, Oxblood.)

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