[License-discuss] a Free Island Public License?

Rod Dixon roddixon at cyberspaces.org
Mon Dec 19 17:38:43 UTC 2011

Wow! I must add that I do not think I would have seen a comment like this posted by Bruce Perens 10 years ago. Of course, I completely agree with the sentiment.

Rod Dixon

Sent from my iPhone 

On Dec 16, 2011, at 6:24 PM, Bruce Perens <bruce at perens.com> wrote:

> OSI should deny certification of this license for the reasons already discussed, and because:
>     It is not the product of a legal professional.
> I've been calling these "crayon licenses", taking a line from an old Monty Python sketch about a dog license with the word "dog" crossed out and "cat" written in, in crayon.
> Crayon, in this case, is a metaphor for the poor legal qualification of the authors. Crayon licenses show a lack of understanding of copyright law, license structure, and most important: what would happen if the license were to be interpreted in court. We had an excuse for writing such things in the early days of Open Source when no lawyer would help us. We no longer have that excuse.
> Crayon licenses harm Open Source developers because they don't do what the developer expects. My most poignant experience with one was working on the appeal of Jacobsen v. Katzer. Bob Jacobsen, an innocent Open Source developer, essentially lost his case in the lower court due to the poor drafting of the Artistic License 1.0, one of the initial Open Source licenses, when the judge found it to be tantamount to the public domain. This loss would also have been very damaging to Open Source in general, had it been allowed to stand. Bob suffered very significant damage from this case. We are very fortunate that he persevered, and that we were able to overturn the decision on appeal.
> OSI should no longer approve crayon licenses, due to the potential they have to damage our own community.
>     Thanks
>     Bruce Perens
> <bruce.vcf>
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