On Wed, Mar 29, 2023 at 1:49 PM Jan Ainali <j...@aina.li> wrote:

> On the contrary, I think it is important to, as early as possible, deter all 
> these attempts
> to weaken the concept of "open" and that we as a movement need to take a hard 
> stance
> against them.

I agree with Jan on this. Licenses are the wrong tool for the job for
which they're being used for here (regulating use of AI models).

One core principle in open source licenses is that you are not
required to agree to the license in order to download or run copies.
The GPL makes this explicit: "You are not required to accept this
License in order to receive or run a copy of the Program." This is
really important. I can download and run every bit of open source
software in existence without ever agreeing to a single license.

Downloading a thing you make available doesn't give me the right to
distribute it -- copyright law itself is sufficient to limit that. If
you want to impose _additional restrictions_ on a person for stuff
they download from you, that actually requires proactive agreement
from the user to those restrictions at the time they download the

If you don't obtain this agreement, you cannot meaningfully enforce
the "license" because the downloader never agreed to it in the first
place. Moreover, you'll have to make sure that _everyone else making
copies of the file_ also obtains agreement from people getting those
copies, or your whole house of cards falls down. Needless to say, this
is totally incompatible with the way we distribute open source

To pick a concrete example, you can download the Stable Diffusion Weights here:

Did you agree to the Open Rail-M license? Nope, but you visited a
public URL to download some model weights you can do stuff with. I
cannot see any reasonable argument that you would be subject to the
provision of the license when _running_ the model locally or on your
own infrastructure.

To illustrate the point further, let's say I make "CoolCalculator.exe"
available to you, you download and run it, and then I demand 500
dollars from you. Why 500 dollars? Well, my license requires that if
you add sums greater than 1000 with my calculator, you owe me money.
You didn't agree to the license? Tough! Shouldn't have downloaded my

In short, in my view, these attempts to embed ethical rulesets into
licensing agreements are a "We did a thing" approach to ethics. They
are of highly dubious enforceability and do nothing to deter bad
actors, while making the technology legally incompatible with open
source software.

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