Textbook license demands that you live a good life

The license agreement for Eugene Blanchard's 2007 textbook "Introduction to Data Communications," is a rather extraordinary document: Mr Blanchard will let you do whatever you want with his book provided you live a fairly ethical and honest life. I like the idea, and it's quite a cute provocation in light of the abusiveness of your average EULA.
Introduction to Data Communications since Revision 2.0 has the following licensing agreement. You are allowed to use it, view it, modify it without permission of the author Eugene Blanchard, provided that you agree to the following:

* That you will try to be a better person today than yesterday.
* That you will exercise your body as well as your mind.
* That you will tell the persons dear to you that you love them.
* That you will defend the rights of those who are unable to defend themselves.
* That you will not hurt your family members emotionally or physically.
* That you will respect your elders and care for them in time of need.
* That you will respect the rights of others in their religious beliefs.
* That you will respect the rights of others in their sexual orientation.
* That every man, woman and child has the right to be here and is equal regardless of race, creed or color.
* That you will act honorably in all aspects of your personal and business life.
* That your family is first and foremost the most important thing in your life.
* That when you make a mistake, that you admit it and make amends.

This book is available online in the hope it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Licensing Agreement (Thanks, @ArjenKamphuis!)


    1. Great point. I love the rest of this, but I’d remove that line.

      I believe it was that famous guy from the Bible who said (paraphrasing) “Even the biggest a-hole can love their friends and family (think Hitler, Pol Pot, etc, etc), but only truly good people can love their enemy.”

      Also, um… if caring for your family was not already obvious prior to reading this, I would make the argument that you should not be reproducing your genes and values.

    2. Do you mean “That your family is first and foremost the most important thing in your life” or “That when you make a mistake, that you admit it and make amends”? I’ve seen *both* of those used as excuses to justify evil behavior, but more of the latter than the former.

      I completely agree with the *all* the comments posted so far about putting one’s family first, including thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.

  1. I expected to find this buried under the standard boilerplate, but it’s the whole license. Very cool!

  2. This is a wonderful licensing agreement: unfortunately it will be followed with the same diligence as is used with the standard one.

  3. @sum.zero I suppose because it’s offered free of charge online. The EULA is there to ensure you can alter it, distribute it, etc. without technically violating the author’s IP rights.

    1. You don’t want to go there! There is a long (and at least mildy colourful) history between those two… ;)

  4. For the Readers Digest Condensed Edition see @wilw “Don’t be a dick” ;)

    I think #11 can stay so long as ALL are followed and do not take precidence over each other. Truly an excellent list of guidelines. Wish we could just set religion and politics aside once in a while and just give a crap about the world.

  5. I have an account, but this is better done annon.

    My Partner gets (justifiably)angry and upset at some of these suggestions of what makes a “Good” person.

    Her Father abused her physically and mentally, and her Mother abused her sexually and mentally, every day of her young life, the mentally abuse continued until she finally cut them off in her 30’s

    On the rare occasion she plucked up enough courage to tell someone else in her so-called ‘family’ she was ignore, called a liar, or, on one instance, met with “well, I’ve always got on with your mother…”

    And now, she’s told that she is not a nice person, and indeed, not entitled to use this book, because she doesn’t put these monsters first!

  6. Anon: I think you’re missing a point (or two). We get to pick our family and we can choose our elders.

    Both my parents are dead (and were fine parents) but that doesn’t mean my life is elder-free: now I can and do choose who I look up to and support. As for family, neither of my siblings lives within 1,000 miles of me and I seldom see them: my family is a family of choice, not a family of blood.

    Understandably, family is an emotion-laden term but it can be redefined at a personal level to be something healthy and not necessarily “family of origin”.

  7. A very problematical list. The most obvious problems:

    * That you will respect the rights of others in their religious beliefs.
    If “their religious belief” is that you shall submit to them (as is the case with some religions) then refusing to submit violates this particular credo …

    * That you will respect the rights of others in their sexual orientation.
    Refusing to celebrate some sexual orientations, and advising your children against those orientations has, numerous times already, been held to be not “respecting” that orientation.
    Also consider some sexual orientations such as incest, necrophilia, bestiality etc.

    The real problem here is the insistence on “respect”. Respect traditionally is (a) earned by exemplary behaviour, or (b) enforced at the the point of a sword. A demand for respect, in absence of (a) is in fact an implied (b).

    1. It’s only requiring that you respect the rights of others.

      You absolutely have a right to belong to a religion that holds that I am inferior to you, that I am going to suffer eternal torment after death, etc. I absolutely will not assault you, spit on you in the street, confine you to a ghetto, steal your property, take away your children, deny you the vote or participation in any aspect of civil life, deny you employment, medical care, or housing, just because you adhere to a religion I find nonsensical. Those are your rights.

      That doesn’t mean I have to respect your religion itself, only your right to belong to it; and it certainly doesn’t mean you get to deny any of those rights to me or anyone else based on their religion. In fact I reserve the right to fight you tooth and claw if you should try.

      Same goes for sexual orientation – I will absolutely respect your rights in your sexual orientation. Anything you want to do with one or more consenting adults, do. I don’t have to like it, I just have to respect your rights.

      There may be aspects of your religion or sexuality I find so distasteful that I decline to keep company with you. I may even publicly declare my distaste for those things, decry them as disgusting, antiquated, illogical, unhygienic, try to persuade those who follow them to change their ways. And I believe that nothing in this license would prevent me – you have no right to my approval, so I may withhold it at will.

  8. I am reminded of the Spybot EULA, which is a)quite short, and b)includes a request for the user to “say a prayer for [the author] and the best girl in the world”.

    In re the “put family first” clause – wow, when I read it I simply took it to mean “don’t put your work before your spouse and children”, which is something I think many/most of us struggle with.

    1. Actually, the 10 commandments neither mention nor imply anything on this list; and all but a few do not follow from it.

  9. I am surprised at the number of comments here that seem to be be completely missing the point. I am sure the author is having a *facepalm* moment.

  10. Actually, anything you want to do with any number of consenting adults, including zero, do. Masturbators have rights too…

  11. Cute, but dumb and completely unenforceable. Once I buy a book, it’s mine to do with as I wish. The author doesn’t have squat to say about it.

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