BookWyrm: Social reading and reviewing

Python code for implementing federation in a context other than micro-blogging.

A mastodon account was opened for bookwyrm today at

Today I discovered the bookwyrm license is not Free Software because it is restricted to a category of people and organizations. It makes it incompatible with all other Free Software licenses. And it turns out I am not among the people who are permitted to use it. As an individual, I would be allowed to use bookwyrm only if I match the following criterion:

An individual person, laboring for themselves

One possible interpretation of laboring for themselves is that I am self employed. Which I am not because I’m an employee of Easter-Eggs, a French company. I may be wrong but since there is no legal definition of laboring for themselves, there is no way for me to verify that. There however was a question about this term:

To which the author of the license answered:

Hi! My view is that this definitely includes a self-employed person, and it isn’t related to other, outside sources of wealth or income such as someone’s unrelated day job, inheritance, etc. So, for example, someone who works for a corporation is not forbidden or discouraged from running a bookwyrm instance for their friends in their free time, but they cannot run a bookwyrm instance owned by the corporation they work for as part of their job.

Which is interesting because it is one of the possible ways to look at this term (My view) and not the only possible interpretation. A lawyer or a judge, for instance, could have a different perspective. On the other hand the last sentence suggests there is only one possible conclusion (they cannot run a bookwyrm instance owned by the corporation). Which raises another question: what does it mean exactly for a corporation to “own” a bookwyrm instance?

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See also:

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A lawyer or a judge, for instance, could have a different perspective.

I (indirectly) pointed the licenses to lawyers at $WORK, but I guess they are either going to say “this is not ok for $EMPLOYER”, or going to ramble on how the license is unclear, and how that’s a problem and why people shouldn’t write their own license. I hope it might trigger a bigger discussion with others opensource lawyers.

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