Does anyone know about the legal usage of Ubuntu in US-embargoed countries like Iran? I have tried looking in the Ubuntu site but was not able to find such information. Thanks.
According to the Free Software Foundation's definition
Freedom to distribute means you are free to redistribute copies, either with or without modifications, either gratis or charging a fee for distribution, to anyone anywhere. Being free to do these things means (among other things) that you do not have to ask or pay for permission to do so.
Sometimes government export control regulations and trade sanctions can constrain your freedom to distribute copies of programs internationally.
Canonical is a UK company so subject to UK export law. Fortunately, UK export restrictions exclude 'information that is freely and legally available on public website[s]'
Here's an extract from the UK government page on Export of Technology
What does ‘in the public domain’ mean?
In the public domain means the information is made available without any restrictions, other than copyright, being placed on further dissemination. For instance, information you place on your website that anyone can download or that you publish in a sales brochure would be ‘in the public domain’.
This means the exporter doesn't need a license, but more widely, software defined as 'in the public domain' isn't subject to any export restrictions. (I found the same definition and exclusion in documents on restrictions relating to military technology)
Since anyone can download and use Ubuntu, it is 'in the public domain' as defined by the export restrictions
Here's my favourite quote from the Export of Technology legal page:
Do I require an export licence for information which is in my head?
Long live free software ;)
NO. I am myself from Iran and downloaded Ubuntu from it's official site without a single problem. BUT someone said to me why don't you use Clear Linux instead? it has a much better and dedicated performance with INTEL processors . so I tried to download it from its official site but when I clicked on the download button it redirected me to United States Sanctions page on Wikipedia.
so my hunch is (which is actually a conclusion ): If Ubuntu was a subject of United States sanctions they would simply prohibit Iran's IP from downloading it.