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The executive orders dealing with TikTok and WeChat don't apply to just those particular pieces of software, but "any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance/Tencent Holdings or their subsidiaries, in which any such company has any interest".

For the sake of the argument, suppose that the ban ends up applying to the installation or usage of software from ByteDance/Tencent or their subsidiaries. Also suppose that they've made contributions to an open source software project and still hold the copyright for the code they contributed.

  1. Would the ban apply to the open source software in question, just because they hold copyright to a portion of it?
  2. If yes to #1, and this was only realized after the ban had gone into effect, would there be any grace period allowed, or would everyone in the U.S. have to immediately stop using the software and only resume once the problem had been fixed?
  3. If yes to #1, would the ban also apply to having the source code on a storage device within the U.S., or would it only apply to the compiled and installed software?
  4. If the ban would apply to possessing the source code, would the ban also apply to a version control repository which contains all previous historical versions of the source code, even though the current version of the source code has been cleaned up?
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  • Good question! I think we'll definitely have to wait to see exactly what the Secretary says before we know the answer. For example, he could exempt the uses you ask about. Or... – Just a guy Aug 9 '20 at 20:19
  • The part where you say "they've made contributions to an open source software project and still hold the copyright for the code they contributed" needs fleshing out, perhaps reference to a real example. I don't think BD has an interest in code that is copied with permission by a US person – the license can be seen as a limited waiver of interest. So we would probably have to see the language of the license. – user6726 Aug 9 '20 at 23:33

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