Question about free licenses

Carsten Agger agger at
Sun Apr 6 15:52:58 UTC 2014

Silly question, maybe:

Is it acceptable for a free license to limit the use of whatever it
covers to lawful purposes?

The question is not about a free software license, but about an open
data license - specifically this one, by the Danish government body
Digitaliseringsstyrelsen (Agency for Digitalization):

The clause that makes me wonder is this:

"Det skal sikres, at brug af data er i overensstemmelse med dansk ret."

... meaning ...

"It must be ensured that the data are used in acccordance with Danish law."

Apart from this one clause, the license is a very decent BSD- or
MIT-style license.

But I wonder if this one clause is a poison pill that they should be
adviced to take out?

Now suppose ... someone took property value data to make an app which
figures out which families may be rich and uses it to burgle them. When
they are caught, should they also be prosecuted for breaking the open
data license? They might, but it seems absurd.

A second scenario: Someone makes another and perfectly legitimate
traffic monitoring application, and someone buys that app and uses it to
figure out when trucks carrying valuable goods pass. The crooks did not
make the app, which is legit. Should the supplier of the app be
prosecuted for not ensuring a legal use of the data? But how could they?

Could a free software license contain such a clause? I guess it would be
non-free. But open data or open content? I'm a bit confused as to what
to think about that.

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