The Superman license

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65 Replies - 1957 Views - Last Post: 26 May 2021 - 04:29 AM

#1 EmollientZero   User is offline

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The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 06:16 AM

Hello world,

I've got this weird idea... thought I would share.

There are all kinds of open source licenses, MIT, GPL2/3, LGPL, there's even a What-The-F*** license (even though this one wasn't written by law experts obviously, so it is not exactly a serious one, but I think it was the whole point of it).

I'm wondering what you can do with licenses. We already know that you can forbid or authorize commercial usage, sub-licensing, and a few other things like require proper attribution, ...etc. For example, do you think it would be possible to require users to always include a link to a specific charity or an NGO in their release?

The idea would be to code for good: anybody using your wonderful framework or library would have a legal obligation to promote the chosen organization. For this to work, the text of the license would have to be written by lawyers or something.

Take this one (*** link removed ***) for instance. I'm pretty sure they could use some help.

What do you think, dumb idea?
In advance, thanks for your time.

This post has been edited by Skydiver: 23 May 2021 - 07:01 AM
Reason for edit:: Removed spammy link.


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Replies To: The Superman license

#2 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 07:08 AM

And what happens when a product or website uses a component that with a license promotes one organization, and uses another component with a license that promotes another organization where the ideals/goals of the two organizations are in conflict with each other? For example, we have one license promoting the NRA (a pro-gun group), and another license promoting Brady (an anti-gun group)?
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#3 EmollientZero   User is offline

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Re: The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 07:12 AM

Take "welcome to chechnya" for instance. I'm pretty sure they could use some help.

View PostSkydiver, on 23 May 2021 - 07:08 AM, said:

And what happens when a product or website uses a component that with a license promotes one organization, and uses another component with a license that promotes another organization where the ideals/goals of the two organizations are in conflict with each other? For example, we have one license promoting the NRA (a pro-gun group), and another license promoting Brady (an anti-gun group)?


I don't know man. What do you think?
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#4 EmollientZero   User is offline

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Re: The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 07:25 AM

Wait, you understand the point of the license, right?
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#5 EmollientZero   User is offline

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Re: The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 07:40 AM

Listen, I'm sorry if I said something wrong, I didn't mean to bother you, and I don't want to break the forum rules. I just had this idea, and wanted to get feedback on it, from a huge community of devs that has a lot of power, which could be used for good. I'm not an expert in licensing, I just thought it could be interesting to explore whether or not this concept is worth investing time in it. No offense, really.
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#6 EmollientZero   User is offline

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Re: The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 08:11 AM

It can be part of a CSR.

Is there a way I can edit my own posts, instead of triple-posting like that?
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#7 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 08:14 AM

While you are investigating a path of good intentions I also see this being heavily abused.

First would be what I would consider the 'nascar driver' effect. Where your project or page would be littered with tens of ones of charities which could easily happen if you are using a package manager like NPM.

The secondary issue was already sort of brought up. What if you are using a version of a package, library, etc, but the required next version has an updated license to an outfit you may not like, or is widely panned as being 'bad'? Pro whale hunting, pro Uighur internment, pro Arayan Nation, next to Save the Rain Forest,help homeless grandmothers in Israel, or World Wild Life Fund.

This leads in the ultimate point of then 'politicizing' lines of code when they doesn't need to be, and then, by extension, legally requiring to carry that politicized code as that business or risk lawsuit.

Say I run a website blog about sweaters for puppies while selling my own. I've been heavily invested in using Schmootstrap the javascript framework. This new license scheme goes into effect and I find I can either: stay on the current version and never get updates or patches, rewrite everything to avoid the new license, or accept the new license where I need to promote WhyteThyghsOnly charity or some racist dingdong named Dieter will sue me for money.

Suddenly my sweater puppy blog and store maybe politicized needlessly. The downside would greatly outweigh any benefit.

Side question, why 'superman'?
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#8 EmollientZero   User is offline

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Re: The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 09:02 AM

First, thank you for the time you took to write a reply.

I understand the nascar effect, you're right about that. Thanks! So let's modify the original idea. If you simultaneously use several frameworks or libraries that are Superman licensed, you have an obligation to promote only one of the charities/NGOs among all of the ones chosen by these frameworks/libraries. There are 3 PROs on this:
  • Your project is not littered with tens of charities
  • You can make a choice
  • You don't have to show support to contradicting stuff


And I think it also solves the secondary issue, and the third one too, if I'm correct?

View Postmodi123_1, on 23 May 2021 - 08:14 AM, said:

'politicizing' lines of code when they doesn't need to be


Let me ask you. Have a look at this documentary I shamelessly plugged in my original post. You can like gays or not, I don't care. Raping and killing people is evil, whoever they are. And I don't think this is political. It is just... being human. Actually, I think we have to take responsibility. Since we are devs, licenses are one way to act.

In the world of 2021, being known is far more important than receiving money. That's how we can help them. Hungry people, poor people, victims all over the world. Don't shy away. Act now.

Quote

Side question, why 'superman'?


Because Superman can make you read this thread :)
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#9 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 09:35 AM

View PostEmollientZero, on 23 May 2021 - 12:02 PM, said:

You don't have to show support to contradicting stuff

But there is a high probability that someone will discover that you used a component that does promote something that you don't support or is not currently popular.

It'll be akin to using a technology or building on a scientific discovery now, but was initiated by Nazis in the past, or modern discoveries or techniques which were perfected on African Americans without their knowledge or consent. As long as nobody points it out these hideous past, everything is hunky dory. When someone does bring it up, some will just squirm uncomfortably, but stay quiet hoping for the storm to pass, others will start a cancel campaign, others will discuss the ethics of it all, etc.
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#10 EmollientZero   User is offline

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Re: The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 09:45 AM

Which... would mean the license works as expected, doesnt'it? This is the point. It makes you responsible for your educated choices. Or am I missing something?
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#11 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 10:36 AM

Adding the layer of 'you are obligated to pick one of the charities if many' is just another superfluous layer in the process. At the point where you are would not be legally obligated to pick any but one then why even be required to pick any?

Additionally that does not solve the issue where if my puppy sweater site has been leaning on a specific framework then suddenly that framework supports something I am not for now I am obligated to promote it as it is the only one I have. That's not good.

Quote

Actually, I think we have to take responsibility. Since we are devs, licenses are one way to act.

While you are promoting that specific charity sure, but again the inherited option for 'bad' charities exist. Example the Westboro Baptist Church folk could easily be seen as getting their hooks into some framework, snippet, etc and either suing for the money or promoting their agenda.

Again, politicizing inert items that do not need to be politicized seems needless and fraught with pitfalls.

I still don't get the superman connection.

View PostEmollientZero, on 23 May 2021 - 10:02 AM, said:

In the world of 2021, being known is far more important than receiving money. That's how we can help them. Hungry people, poor people, victims all over the world. Don't shy away. Act now.

Act on what? This theoretical concept? The Chechen thing? Sweaters for puppies?
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#12 ArtificialSoldier   User is offline

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Re: The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 10:53 AM

In a non-legal sense, you can require whatever you want to require. If you want to know what you're able to legally enforce, that's probably a question for a lawyer. If you want to require a link to a charity you can, but the more you require, the less likely people are going to choose your license. If someone wants to promote a charity then they will, I doubt that someone who doesn't want to promote a charity is going to use something with a license that requires that.
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#13 EmollientZero   User is offline

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Re: The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 11:36 AM

Thanks for the input.

Quote

Adding the layer of 'you are obligated to pick one of the charities if many' is just another superfluous layer in the process. At the point where you are would not be legally obligated to pick any but one then why even be required to pick any?


Because there are people who need help. It's not a "layer" on top of the original idea, it is a modification of it. It lets you choose what you support, and it removes the problem of having dozens of promotion obligations because of cascading packages.

Quote

Additionally that does not solve the issue where if my puppy sweater site has been leaning on a specific framework then suddenly that framework supports something I am not for now I am obligated to promote it as it is the only one I have. That's not good.


Yes it is good.

This is not an issue, this is the main concept here. I don't think humans are selfish, but sometimes they need to be pushed to do right thing. Moreover, if nobody's aware of a situation, who can act on it?

Again, there's nothing political when we're talking about Actionagainsthunger, or about people being raped and killed because or their sexual orientation. This is not political. But just because it's not happening to you doesn't mean you have the right to... do nothing about it.
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#14 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 12:07 PM

Seems I am getting no traction on this, so I'll end with my wrap up, and address a few other things just brought up.

Procedural:
- no indication on which country court this would be tried in or under what applicable law.
- no indication on who is entitled to do the suing.

Impact:
- if visibility is better than nothing than 'thoughts and prayers' enough for a cause?
- no response on the flip side abusing this. Obviously there are people, as abhorrent as it is, pro raping/killing of a subsection of people in a country based on their sexual orientation. It is entirely plausible that group goes about chucking out code or gobbling up importance projects so folk are obligated to 'promote' their agenda or this group gets their financial payoff in court. Again, see the Westerboro folk. They exist on litigious abusing people who take action against their insane events.

While I can see the merit in the thought this may work out, you are painfully ignoring the impacts and promotion of those who could abuse it.

Certainly issues you brought up ought to be addressed, but this whole licensing scheme is the wrong vehicle.
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#15 EmollientZero   User is offline

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Re: The Superman license

Posted 23 May 2021 - 01:14 PM

Thank you for the time you invested in your reply.

The 2 procedural points you're bringing are very useful and interesting. This is where the help of licensing experts would be welcome. These questions need to be addressed.

About the impact, you already know, when you're writing it, that thoughts and prayers are not enough. Note I'm not saying that visibility is sufficient, I'm saying that it's necessary. A necessary first step.

I understand your concern about potential abuses the system, but don't you think it can't happen since the user can choose an organization to promote? Obviously, nobody would reasonably want to promote the Westboro thing you're talking about (which I googled, because I ignored its existence) but anyway you're never obligated to promote things like that because you can always choose another cause to promote, a real one (and preferably something that makes sense to you).
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