- public money, proprietary license

L.Cecilie Wian likevel.katla at
Thu Dec 12 14:38:56 UTC 2019

Thank you for this interesting case.

In Norway it is an issue that people with impairments of different types
struggle to get a job. I would think it is an issue in Denmark as well. It
is a lot of effort to become fluent in tools, and having to learn two with
identical purpose makes no sense. I would have though that helping people
with tools that makes it easier to participate in both work and social life
is a wanted thing. A free licence would have given the tool a chance to be
used in a much wider sense, and given the tool a chance to be further
developed by contributors so that it could be even more suited for
different lifes.

I work as a tester here in Norway, to me it is difficult to get a hold of
tools that are relevant for impaired users. So we make due with what we
have (differs in every project). Unless impaired is a specific target group
the extra effort for testing for different solutions is hard to justify, so
it becomes a question of minimal effort/ compliant of laws. Making
development of good solutions for impaired so much slower that it could
have been.

I am curious to why the Agency of digitization thinks this is the most
viable model for their product.

On Thu, Dec 12, 2019 at 9:26 AM Carsten Agger <agger at> wrote:

> 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,
> Carsten
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Cecilie Wian

"A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."*- Grace
Hopper / William G.T. Shedd*
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