Is Rust restricted by Export Administration Regulation (EAR)?

Will it be like Apache Software Foundation (

Rust isn't an organization (yet), and isn't en entity bound by the U.S law.

Good grief what?

From that "Apache Software Foundation" link:

Therefore, U.S. export laws and regulations apply to our distributions and remain in force as products and technology are re-exported to different parties and places around the world.

Why does anyone release anything under any kind of "Apache Software Foundation" license with the understanding of that restriction in place?

That suggests Rust disassociates itself from the "Apache Software Foundation" and whatever licences they have as soon as possible.

These terms certainly do not live up to the "inclusive" ideals of Mozilla and Rust.

The linked ASF exporting terms apply to ASF software (and software built with ASF software/tooling), not all software licensed under the "Apache License".

As such, that specific explainer has no relevance to Rust (or most other software licensed under Apache-2.0).

Unfortunately, companies based in the US must comply with US law (at least officially) whether they agree with said laws or not. Rust is not an organization, so how any state's laws apply to it is an open question in law in general.

In theory, if you are a US citizen, allowing any of your work to be used by an embargoed entity is against the law. In practice, embargoes only really matter for organizations, not people, and for OSS, having it available but saying "hey embargoed entities, don't use this" seems to be all that is expected.

(Disclaimer: I am NOT a lawyer, this is not legal advice, and have no appreciable claim to understanding embargo law.)


History says otherwise: Remember "DVD John"?

Jon Lech Johansen :

Not even an American or in America.

Out here in the rest of the world we are very wary of such things.

Johansen's case did not involve export restrictions and seems completely unrelated. On the other hand, Phil Zimmermann was investigated (though ultimately never indicted) for violating weapons export laws.

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I guess nothing to do with export laws, given that DVD John never moved anything out of the USA. Not sure he had even ever been there or not.

But the fact that the long arm of the American contrived laws can reach out where they do not belong is disturbing. And it very much involves copyright law. As do the Apache licenses it seems.

In the extreme the USA could ban all export of any software to certain countries or indeed the world.

I feel it would be better for Rust to state from the outset that this is not tolerable, what is created is for all of humanity and contributions from anyone anywhere are welcome.

The Apache licences, as far as I can tell do not do that.

If export controls are instituted on Rust, it's not up to the Rust maintainers. The exports will be banned regardless, and the question is purely if anybody is going to put themselves in legal jeopardy to get there. Export control law explicitly overrides any existing contractual obligations - any commitment to global exports would be moot.


Very true of course. Ultimately the law can come at you with armed police in helicopters to stop you distributing stuff. See Kim Dot Com. I would not expect the average developer wanting to be in that situation.

But that is a grim prospect for those of us outside the USA.

What would Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation say about all this?

And more recently the RISC V project located it's foundation in Switzerland after considering exactly this kind of problem.

Across 2018-2019, the RISC-V community has reflected on the geo-political landscape and we have heard concerns from around the world that investment in RISC-V must come with IP access continuity to ensure a long-term strategic investment. We first mentioned our intentions to move at the December 2018 summit. Incorporation in Switzerland has the effect of calming concerns of political disruption to the open collaboration model.


This is at least not just my paranoia.

To be clear:

Rust's use of the Apache-2.0 license has absolutely no impact on any import/export/embargo law's applicability.

There is no Rust Organization (yet?), so the applicability of any nation's laws to the Rust Project is an open legal question.

If nations' embargos really matter to you, the first target of your ire should probably be Rust's reliance on GitHub and other US hosted services for its infrastructure, rather than the unsurprising tidbit that the original author of (one of the) licenses Rust is available under complies with US law. (Surprise, Mozilla does too, as a US 501(c) nonprofit, just like ASF!)


That is good to hear.

Funny you should say that. I was thinking about it recently.

Never mind embargoes but the reliance on GitHub and hence Microsoft now a days is certainly a concern.

Is there ever likely to be any way to diversify Rust?

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