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The Keypunch Public License


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About


The Keypunch Public License is a copy-far-left license which aims to overcome the primary failing of "Free" and "Open Source" licensing, namely that they allow the use of your work by profit-making entities and other for-profit ventures, regardless of your own views and beliefs.


This license is inspired by the Cooperative Software License and the Anti-Capitalist Software License, and is largely based on the concepts, ideas and drafting used in Kyle Mitchell's License Zero Project. Like License Zero, the KPL attempts to use more modern, simplified and non-technical drafting. It is an attempt to create a software license with the same intent as Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.


Cooperative Software License

Anti-Capitalist Software License

License Zero Project

Creative Commons BY-NC-SA


Is this Free and/or Open Source?


The KPL, like the CSL and the ACSL, places restrictions on the "freedom" of certain users and use-cases. It limits the license to personal and non-commercial use only. If you are using, or plan on using, the software for or directed towards commercial advantage or monetary compensation, then you do not have a license to use the software. Exceptions can be made to this rule by the developers, and some examples are provided in the license.


If you are a personal or non-commercial user, or you work for an exempted organisation, then you are granted the following freedoms:-


1. The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish. Access to the source code is a precondition for this. If you do modify the code, then you are required to contribute your changes.

2. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.

3. The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others. By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.


The Free Software Definition requires what they call "Freedom 0": *The freedom to run the program as you wish, **for any purpose***. As the KPL is consciously designed to restrict the use of the software by certain organisations and use-cases, any KPL-licensed software is incompatible with (and so cannot link to) software released under licenses such as the GPLv3 or the MPLv2. The KPL is, however, compatible with licenses which do not seek to limit the freedom of the developers in this way, such as the MIT license, the Apache License 2.0 or the Blue Oak Model License 1.0.0.


Free Software Definition

the MIT license

the Apache License 2.0

the Blue Oak Model License 1.0.0


The Open Source Definition places limits on the freedom of developers to restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor or to *"discriminate against any person"*. This means that you, the developer, are not permitted to prevent the use of your software by private prison corporations, for example, or being used by the military, or by corporations.


Open Source Definition


More importantly, while the OSD reads *"discriminate against any person"* ,the OSI has interpreted this to mean any *legal person*, meaning both *"natural persons"* (i.e. humans), or *"juridicial persons"* (what we commonly understand as corporations). They also interpret the non-discrimination clause as pertaining to the right of an individual person even when that person is acting under the direct instruction of a corporation.


The KPL, clearly, would not qualify as "open source" under this definition, despite the fact that the source is available, can be modified, permits derived works, preserves code integrity, is not restricted to a product, does not restrict other software and is technology neutral. Everything, in short, which would commonly be understood as open source.


Why "Keypunch"?


I looked at the SPDX Licence List, and there were no licenses beginning with `K`. That's the genuine reason. Keypunch was the primary device used to create "software" from 1801 until the 1970s, and were still in use into the 1980s.


Further Reading


You can read about my issues with the Free/Open Source movements in my essay:

The Original Sin of Free Software


Other writing on similar themes can be found at the following pages:-


The LeftCopy Licenses

The Telekommunist Manifesto

The Ethical Source Movement


Note that I may not exactly agree with each of the above, but their writing and their motivations helped me understand my own, and shaped what I sought to achieve with the KPL.

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