This looks like the old question, but IT IS NOT.

BSD and MIT licenses are simple and straight forward, but are they safe against terrorist groups?

Any terrorist can use our code against us. Can't they? If anyone has the will to do something, they'll do it, whether we prevent them by a law or not. How can we trust the Freedom we have in BSD license or GPL or MIT License?

What ethical and moral prevention are in those licenses to imply the feeling that "you're not allowed to do harm by this code to anyone and if you will to do harm write a new code yourself". Look beyond money and capital.

Having all this in mind, which license is the better choice? What shall we do? I have seen evil people, they use GPL and BSD license software, yet they do the opposite.

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    You say "If anyone has the will to do something, they'll do it, whether we prevent them by a law or not," but also ask "What ethical and moral prevention are in those licenses...?" Given the lawless premise of the first statement, it's not clear to me why you're asking the question about licenses, a kind of legal tool? – apsillers Oct 5 '17 at 21:35
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    You could write/adapt your own license and add "This software may not be used by terrorist organizations or by persons assisting such organizations," etc. Do you think terrorists would adhere to that? If you added such a clause, it would technically not be a "free software" license anymore. – Brandin Oct 11 '17 at 7:02

The Open Source Definition requires:

  1. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

    The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

  2. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

    The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

The Free Software Definition requires:

  • The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).

A free/libre license must not limit how the software is used. Note that it is nonsensical to forbid actions in a license that are already illegal.

Additionally, it is problematic to bind the license to behaviour that the author deems ethical. There is no universal system of ethics, and morality is highly dependent on the personal viewpoint. Software licensing is not a good place for philosophical discussions.

Free/libre licenses do express values through their terms and conditions (and in the preamble of the GPL), but these values have no legal significance beyond the terms in which they are expressed. For example, permissive licenses like MIT value the freedom to do whatever you want with the source code, whereas the copyleft GPL values the freedom of end users to examine and tinker with the software they use. Those different goals are furthered through the specific conditions in the licenses.

As an example of a license that explicitly touches on ethics, the JSON license is basically MIT + the following sentence:

The Software shall be used for Good, not Evil.

That is not only meaningless and legally unenforceable, it also renders the license non-free.

None of the free/libre licenses is “better” than the other. The MIT, BSD, and GPL licenses all include no restrictions on how the software may be used. If you publish open source software, you will have to tolerate that the software may be used in ways that you don't like.

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