Question about free licenses

Paul Hänsch paul at
Sun Apr 6 16:45:45 UTC 2014

Carsten Agger <agger at>, Sun, 06 Apr 2014 17:52:58 +0200
> Is it acceptable for a free license to limit the use of whatever it
> covers to lawful purposes?

I can only draw a parallel to Free Software here.

Freedom number 0 includes that a Free Software license must allow the
use of a program for any purpose. Prosecution for breaking national law
is of course not restricted by that.
However in this case it is clearly the license putting limits on the
purpose. Personally I would see a problem with this, even if the clause
were purely tautological (which it is not).

The reason why this clause is included, is probably to ensure
compliance with Danish law beyond national borders. For people outside
of Danish jurisdiction this constitutes an arbitrary cut back of their
freedom to use the software (if we were speaking of software).
Within the jurisdiction of Denmark the clause would appear to be mostly

I cannot tell, how this applies to questions of open data. If there is
an open data definition, which ensures similar freedoms, then you have
a path of reasoning here.
It may not be easy to convince the government agency to give up this
clause. I suspect they intend to prevent circumvention of national data
protection laws.

Paul Hänsch                        █▉     Jabber: paul at
Webmaster                        █▉█▉█▉               Support the FSFE
Free Software Foundation Europe    ▉▉
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