- public money, proprietary license

Carsten Agger agger at
Wed Dec 11 11:57:10 UTC 2019

Digitaliseringsstyrelsen (Agency for Digitisation) in Denmark have
created an accessibility product called "acces for all" og "adgang for
alle", which is basically a screen reader. It's available for Windows
and MacOS, and for GNU/Linux-based operating systems it will work with
an extension for Chrome or Chromium:

Basically, it's a Danish screen reader for people who are visually
impaired, including the blind.

It's available for download and anyone is free to use it, however it is
published under a very restrictive proprietary license.

Among the conditions in the license are

* Non-commercial use

* No copying or distribution of any kind, under threat of "serious civil
and penal legal consequences".

* No distribution within an organisation - an organisation such as e.g.
a library may *not* have the program on its servers in order to install
it on public-facing clients.

There's one very curious thing about this product: Often, organizations
have software made by private vendors, and the private vendors will
retain their copyright and their right to keep it proprietary. In this
case, it's the Agency for Digitisation *itself* that claims the
copyright and threatens with draconian consequences to anyone who dares
use their product e.g. on the job and not just in their spare time.

So it's Danish people's tax money preventing Danish people from using,
let alone sharing, studying and improving this software - created by
Danish tax money - and once again, it's us as taxpayers who are
financing the very agency that's withholding this software from the public.

I find it surreal and close to a textbook example of how *not* to do things.

Best regards,


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