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

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Mon Feb 27 05:41:01 UTC 2012

On 02/26/2012 09:00 PM, Chad Perrin wrote:
> 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. 
The problem with your software, Chad, is that it's much too complicated 
for /no reason./ There's no reason for half of that "crapton" to be in 
there. We could cut it down to 10% of its present complexity if we had a 
/user /who wanted a really simple program write it first, and then we 
could have a programmer make it work correctly. While the programmer did 
that, we would make him explain /everything /that he was doing, and we 
would tell him "no" a lot to curb his natural tendency to add 
unnecessary complexity.


The pieces you don't like aren't there because anyone likes to put them 
there or because the people who wrote the license are idiots.

There have been a lot of court cases in history. From those cases, we 
know a number of things that go wrong in courts. We want you not to get 
trapped by the same stuff.

I had to help Bob Jacobsen, an Open Source developer who chose one of 
those over-simple licenses, the Artistic License 1.0, written by Larry 
Wall the Programmer. Bob had someone who both used his program in a 
product without even attributing it to him, and /also /asked Bob for 
lots of money for infringing his patent and tried to get Bob fired from 
his job by filing an FOIA with his employer. This was all over /model 
train software./

When Bob turned to Larry's Artistic License to help him get the guy off 
of his back, the Artistic License failed in court. We put a good team 
together and turned that around on appeal, but it was a close thing. By 
the time we were done, Bob had spent 5 years on the case, was out a good 
deal of money, and his relationship with his employer was damaged.

We might not be able to help the next Bob who comes along and uses one 
of those licenses written in crayon. You can protect your friends by not 
encouraging them to do that.



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