Towards an OSI-approved "waive all rights" software license

Derrick Coetzee dcoetzee at
Fri Apr 15 05:32:32 UTC 2011

[Sorry if this is a duplicate message - I just realised I sent it from
the wrong e-mail account and trying again]

Hi all,

I'm a software developer/grad student and administrator on Wikipedia
and Wikimedia Commons. As you may be aware, in 2009 Creative Commons
released the CC0 Waiver, a tool for waiving as many rights as possible
in a work, worldwide - I use it myself extensively as it appears to be
the only professional public legal tool that allows an author to make
a work available without a requirement of attribution.

Nearly every OSI-approved license today - including MIT/X11 and BSD -
requires not only some form of attribution but also reproduction of
the license in derivative works. For integrating large components into
a system, this is feasible and appropriate, but even these
light-weight requirements can rapidly grow cumbersome for small
"snippets" of code like individual files, functions, and small
libraries that are borrowed from open source repositories. There are
countless examples of snippet sharing sites, snippets are frequently
shared through documentation and forum posts, and research shows many
modern programmers have incorporated the rapid assimilation of code
snippets from diverse sources into their workflow, with little to no
regard for attribution or the legal consequences. I believe
facilitating the legal use of snippet repositories in this manner is
essential to maintain long-term productivity of the developer
community. An OSI-approved "waive all rights" license could be easily
adopted by code snippet repository websites as a logical choice, as
well as by developers without an interest in attribution like myself,
and would lead to greater community code reuse due to a decreased
burden on the reuser.

There are two paths I see to this: one is to adopt the existing CC0 in
its entirety as a software license; the other is to start with CC0 and
tack on a disclaimer similar to the one in the MIT license, to attempt
to indemnify developers against liability. I'd like to know your
thoughts on what other paths are available for a "waive all rights"
software license, or your thoughts on whether one is needed. Thanks
for your feedback

Derrick Coetzee

More information about the License-discuss mailing list