Three new proposed OSD terms

John Cowan jcowan at
Wed Mar 2 17:07:03 UTC 2005

I agree generally with Joel West's stand on the three proposed additions
(non-duplicativeness is an administrative detail; judge-friendliness
trumps programmer-friendliness, though the latter is good too; proper
names in licenses are bad).


> Define "steward".

I take the steward of the Mumble License to be the person who has the
right to say when a new version of the Mumble License has been released.
This is, informally speaking, a trademark rather than a copyright issue.

> Does this mean that we encourage people to copyright their licenses?

Unfortunately, it's not up to us.  Copyrightability is presumed, so every
license (including ones that say "This license is in the public domain")
is presumed to be copyrighted until a judge says it isn't.  It's not
even 100% clear that dedications to the public domain are actually effective.

> If so, I think there should be a policy as to what license should be
> used, because any license should be reusable (like code) to make a
> new license. We wouldn't have the Sleepycat license (from BSD) or the
> IPL/CPL (from Mozilla) without this principle.

I think this should wait until there is some evidence that license authors
are unreasonably withholding permission.  (Beware, Larry!  :-))

Why are well-meaning Westerners so concerned that   John Cowan
the opening of a Colonel Sanders in Beijing means   jcowan at
the end of Chinese culture? [...]  We have had
Chinese restaurants in America for over a century,
and it hasn't made us Chinese.  On the contrary,
we obliged the Chinese to invent chop suey.            --Marshall Sahlins

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