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

Derrick Coetzee dcoetzee at
Mon Apr 18 20:26:37 UTC 2011

2011/4/18 Dag-Erling Smørgrav <des at>:
>> For "waive all rights", CC0 is the best thing I can think of.
> Or the zlib / libpng license, which, unlike CC0, is actually a software
> license.

zlib / libpng doesn't meet the needs of a "waive all rights" scenario
though; it imposes several restrictions, including reproduction of the
notice (again) and clearly marking altered versions of the source.
What I'm really after here is a statement that will allow code reusers
to simply copy-paste code, reuse it, and alter it with impunity
without any requirements or restrictions (under the assumption that
it's free of patent issues). The goal is to streamline code reuse,
particularly in "mosaic" works composed of small pieces from many
disparate sources. There's no particular reason why CC0 isn't
sufficient, since in the absence of any restrictions there is little
need to discuss matters specific to source code such as the
differences between source and binary, but there is still a popular
impression that CC0 is "not for software" - it'd be nice to have a web
page somewhere with somebody officially saying "no it's really okay
for software, subject to these concerns (patents, etc.)".

It's worth noting that currently a number of major projects are
distributed as "public domain", most notably SQLite. I'm not confident
these projects have all thought through the problematic details of the
public domain label, such as the issue that works cannot be placed in
the public domain by the copyright holder in some nations (a license
waiving all rights is necessary instead), and issues of neighbouring
rights. CC0 addresses these but has not yet been adopted by this type
of project.

Derrick Coetzee

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