[License-discuss] [License-review] CC withdrawl of CC0 from OSI process

Chad Perrin perrin at apotheon.com
Mon Feb 27 05:00:18 UTC 2012

On Sun, Feb 26, 2012 at 04:50:16PM -0800, Bruce Perens wrote:
> On 02/26/2012 02:31 PM, David Woolley wrote:
> >
> >The reality is that the people who have to comply with licences
> >are not professional lawyers.
> This is always in my thoughts when considering any Open Source license.
> We can fail these people in two ways:
>     1. Provide them with a license that they might not understand.
>     2. Provide them with a license that won't hold up in court.
> The second damages them more. The first can be solved with
> explanation separate from the license.

. . . which, judging by some Creative Commons examples (as the most
obvious case of a license author/organization taking exactly that
approach), is prone to being misleading and/or incomplete.  Legal rigor
is good, but pages of dense legalese coupled with "plain English"
explanations that give people mistaken impressions because it's just not
reasonable to expect a nuanced understanding of the sheer complexity of
the license suggests to me that there's something wrong.  What's wrong is
usually the metric crapton of terms heaped on such licenses.

I suspect a better approach to understandable, legally well-formed
license production might be to get someone who wants a very simple
license to write it, and only *then* get the lawyers involved.  While
you're at it, be prepared to make the lawyers explain everything they
want to change, and to tell them "no" a lot.

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]

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