making public domain dedication safer

Alex Rousskov rousskov at
Tue Feb 17 21:26:11 UTC 2004

I use Creative Commons public domain dedication[1] for some of the
software I author. I am concerned that some people believe that it is
impossible to permanently and/or reliably place software in public
domain in some countries. It appears that while Creative Commons
public domain dedication makes authors intent clear, some laws may
not "support" that intent.

While I would love to hear that the above concerns are groundless, I
suspect we will never know for sure. Thus, I would like to create a
"safer" version of Creative Commons public domain dedication by
augmenting the public domain dedication with a catch-all license:

	The Authors place this Software is in Public Domain.
	<Creative Commons public domain dedication follows>

	If the above Public Domain dedication is deemed invalid
	under any theory of law, current or future, this Software
	can be dealt with under any OSI-approved license, including,
	without limitation, BSD and MIT licenses.

The above is unpolished because I am not sure it makes sense from a
legal point of view. After all, the above combination contains
contradictory assumptions (public domain versus copyrighted/licensed
code). Specifically,

  - Can PD+license combination be legal?
  - Can a reference to "any OSI-approved license" be legal?
  - Is the above approach likely to make PD dedications safer?
  - Can such a beast be polished and eventually approved by OSI?



P.S. The reasons I would prefer _not_ to always use MIT/BSD license
     alone (without PD dedication) are moral/political and, hence,
     are beyond the scope of this mailing list.

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