[License-discuss] OSI approved license without original license and reproduction of notices required in redistributions?

Casey Rodarmor casey at rodarmor.com
Mon Jul 2 15:40:37 UTC 2012

On Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 11:16 PM, Chuck Swiger <chuck at codefab.com> wrote:
> Nope.  The obligation to keep the copyright statement intact is typically
> required by law (see 17 USC section 506(c)(d) or your local equivalent), and
> the obligation to keep the license terms & disclaimer intact is a standard
> component of all-- or nearly all-- licenses.

Can you explain this obligation? It seems that if I am the original
copyright holder and I specifically allow for it in the license,
alteration of the copyright notices and trivial relicensing should be
no problem.

> It sounds like you're looking for "public domain", which may or may not be
> available depending on your local law.  Since public domain isn't always
> well-defined or available, using a simple permissive license is the next
> best thing.

My shaky legal understanding is that since copyright is the legal
leverage with which you dictate the terms of a license, it may not be
possible to dedicate something to the public domain AND provide
provisions such as those that I mentioned before. (Patent,
indemnification, etc)

> You can't remove Apache section 4 without replacing it with similar terms
> which grant folks the permission to reproduce the software, modify it, etc.

I would like to remove the sub-clauses (1,2,3 and 4, or a, b, c, and
d, depending on the version) of section 4, not all of section 4. It
seems like those sub-clauses wouldn't need replacement, since they are
purely restrictive in nature, merely qualifying the unrestricted
distribution rights given in the opening of section 4 itself.

> Perhaps consider the MIT or 2-clause BSD licenses if you want something
> smaller which is OSI approved.  Otherwise, perhaps take a look at the
> Beerware license, http://unlicense.org/ license, CC0, or WTFPL.

These licenses are fine, except that they do not have, for example, a
default license for contributions, patent clause, etc. And the
beerware, MIT, and BSD licenses are self-perpetuating, they require
their reproduction along with the work they cover.

Perhaps the question I should be asking is, why is this kind of
license a de-facto standard? (And by this kind of license I mean one
that requires that the license and all copyright notices be kept
intact.) Why not just let people do whatever they want with the work
in question? I want to be attributed, but I find it distasteful to
legally require people to do so.

Also, I know that people have a preference for many different
licenses, GPL, Apache 2.0, MIT, etc. I would like to release my work
under a license that can simply be replaced with the license of their
choice, or, in the case of a combination of work A and my work, can
simply be licensed under A's license, without being required to
perpetuate my license.

Sorry for all naive questions, this is the first time that I've
actually been required to understand software licenses, after many
years of simply agreeing to them :)


> Regards,
> --
> -Chuck

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