[Discuss] [mil-oss] Re: Fwd: ITAR, public domain, and open source

Wheeler, David A dwheeler at ida.org
Thu Oct 10 15:17:42 UTC 2013

I stand by my earlier statement that if you *want* something released as OSS, then you really *want* "approval for public release."

But if that will not happen, then obviously you need to look at alternatives.  As always, we don't always get what we want :).   We all agree that simply "ignoring the law" is a bad idea.  There's actually been a multi-year push for significant changes to export controls, with little to show for it; we can talk about that separately if you'd like.  However, I despair of any serious fixes to export controls in the near term, even if you tried.

So I think doing what you can, and enforcing the rules as required by law, is the rational decision... just as you stated.

--- David A. Wheeler

From: mil-oss at googlegroups.com [mailto:mil-oss at googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of J. Simmons
Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 10:24 AM
To: The Open Source Hardware Association Discussion List
Cc: mil-oss at googlegroups.com; Tom Igoe; oss-export-control
Subject: Re: [Discuss] [mil-oss] Re: Fwd: ITAR, public domain, and open source


While I agree that ideally we want to release as much as we legally can as fully open source, I imagine there are many technologies that open source space organizations like Mach 30 (and even groups working in other areas including UAVs and communications) for which the US government in particular will not be willing to clear for public release.  In those cases, we are left with four choices:

1. Abandon the project(s) in question (and possibly our organization's mission)
2. Lobby for significant changes to export controls
3. Simply ignore the law and do what we want
4. License our projects as openly as we can, enforcing export controls as required on a project by project basis

For us at Mach 30, we have decided option 1 is simply unacceptable.  Our mission is too important to the board and our volunteers.  As a 501c3, Mach 30 cannot take up option 2 (and honestly even if we could, I am afraid we could lobby until we were blue in the face and still not get clearance to release the full plans for anything resembling a launch vehicle).  Option 3 is also unacceptable to Mach 30, as the risks of unpayable fines and jail time are just too great.  Which is how we get to our approach to export controls - Option 4.  You can see more details (including several longer term plans for moving as much technology as possible to fully open source within the regulatory environment of ITAR and friends) here at the Mach 30 Export Control Task Force web page - http://mach30.org/ectf/


On Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 5:42 PM, Wheeler, David A <dwheeler at ida.org<mailto:dwheeler at ida.org>> wrote:
For export control you really want approval for public  release (by the "cognizant U.S. government department or agency").

Trying for an "export control license" goes down the wrong trail, because such a license is designed to allow *limited* distribution.  Which isn't what you want.

--- David A. Wheeler

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Mach 30: Foundation for Space Development
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