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

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Fri Mar 2 05:44:17 UTC 2012

On 03/01/2012 09:09 PM, Chris Travers wrote:
> You seem to say "do not link" and thus repeat more or less what the 
> FSF says (and what Rosen spends a good time arguing against in his 
> book, and he is by no means alone--- at least in any law review 
> articles I have been able to find and read the overall trend is 
> overwhelmingly against seeing linking as having much to do with 
> derivation).
My goal isn't to help my customers win after they're sued, it's to 
prevent them from ever being in a lawsuit at all. And you do that by 
staying away from some issues.

Despite the fact that Larry and those law review folks are sure about 
the linking question, every party who would benefit from a case going 
according to Larry's interpretation has settled their case with the GPL 
licensor rather than invest what is necessary for a court to make a 

So, what do you do? You stay away from that issue and arrive at an 
engineering solution that avoids it.
> which seems to be a fools errand: giving an engineering answer to a 
> legal question.
Only a fool's errand if the engineer doesn't have good legal support, or 
if the lawyer isn't able to work with engineers. I address that a little 
differently, by acting as a consulting engineer who works for the 
attorney and has experience in this particular sort of case.
> My sense (as a non-lawyer) is that communications from a project are 
> very much likely to affect the scope of the license, and that 
> downstream developers are likely to be able to reasonably rely on 
> communications from a project that some practices are safe in their eyes.
About the worst thing engineers can do is attempt to make legal 
determinations without proper counsel and the necessary training. They 
invariably get it wrong and they can be made to look really stupid in 
court by a competent expert witness. Relying on what they say about 
legal issues of their own projects would be ill-advised. Instead, learn 
how to engineer around the gray areas.


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