[License-discuss] [License-review] CC0 incompliant with OSD on patents, [was: MXM compared to CC0 ]

Alexander Terekhov alexander.terekhov at gmail.com
Sat Mar 10 21:56:21 UTC 2012

On Sat, Mar 10, 2012 at 10:31 PM, Russ Nelson <nelson at crynwr.com> wrote:
> Alexander Terekhov writes:
>  > May I suggest that you finally do your own research, Mr. Nelson?
> You're the one who wants to convince me of something.

How about this (see below), Mr. Nelson?


Unlicense Yourself: Set Your Code Free

What is the Unlicense?
The Unlicense is a template for disclaiming copyright interest in
software you've written; in other words, it is a template for
dedicating your software to the public domain. It combines a copyright
waiver patterned after the very successful public domain SQLite
project with the no-warranty statement from the widely-used MIT/X11

Why Use the Unlicense?
Because you have more important things to do than enriching lawyers or
imposing petty restrictions on users of your code. How often have you
passed up on utilizing and contributing to a great software library
just because its open source license was not compatible with your own
preferred flavor of open source? How many precious hours of your life
have you spent deliberating how to license your software or worrying
about licensing compatibility with other software? You will never get
those hours back, but here's your chance to start cutting your losses.
Life's too short, let's get back to coding.

The Unlicense
To opt out of the copyright game altogether and set your code free,
put your next software project into the public domain using the
following (un)licensing statement:

This is free and unencumbered software released into the public domain.

Anyone is free to copy, modify, publish, use, compile, sell, or
distribute this software, either in source code form or as a compiled
binary, for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, and by any

In jurisdictions that recognize copyright laws, the author or authors
of this software dedicate any and all copyright interest in the
software to the public domain. We make this dedication for the benefit
of the public at large and to the detriment of our heirs and
successors. We intend this dedication to be an overt act of
relinquishment in perpetuity of all present and future rights to this
software under copyright law.


For more information, please refer to <http://unlicense.org/>
In a saner world, you would only need the first two paragraphs. For
the time being you'll probably want to retain the whole shebang. (You
should feel free, though, to leave out the last line containing the
link to this site, if that's your preference.)

You would traditionally put the above statement into a file named
COPYING or LICENSE. However, to explicitly distance yourself from the
whole concept of copyright licensing, we recommend that you put your
unlicensing statement in a file named UNLICENSE. Doing so also means
that your project can more easily be found on e.g. GitHub, Bitbucket
or Google Code Search, enabling others to reuse your code in their own
unencumbered public domain projects.

For a comprehensive listing of software using the Unlicense, google
for the first line of the Unlicense. It was purposely worded uniquely,
which means that all the returned search results are likely to relate
to the Unlicense in some way.

Unlicensing Contributions
In order to ensure your project remains completely free and
unencumbered by copyright, it is advisable that you ask any
contributors to explicitly dedicate their code base contributions to
the public domain.

At minimum, you should ask them to accompany any non-trivial patches
with a simple statement like the following:

I dedicate any and all copyright interest in this software to the
public domain. I make this dedication for the benefit of the public at
large and to the detriment of my heirs and successors. I intend this
dedication to be an overt act of relinquishment in perpetuity of all
present and future rights to this software under copyright law.
Better yet is to ask the major contributors to digitally sign a more
explicit copyright release (see an example WAIVER file), and then to
keep a record of such signatures in an AUTHORS file accompanying your
software. Using GnuPG, contributors can sign a copyright waiver file
as follows:

$ gpg --no-version --armor --sign WAIVER
Note that if a contributor makes significant changes or enhancements
in his capacity as an employee of some organization, then the above
may be insufficient and you would additionally need to ask for a
copyright disclaimer signed by a company officer. For more
information, have a look at how the SQLite project handles this. The
Free Software Foundation also provides an example of a simple
copyright disclaimer to be signed by an employer.

For a concrete example of this contributor process, see how the
unlicensed RDF.rb project has handled this.

Unlicensed Free Software
Here follows a sample of some of the software projects that have
already adopted the Unlicense or a derivative thereof:

Bitcoin.php, a PHP library (and plugins for WP e-Commerce, Ubercart,
and VirtueMart) for the Bitcoin peer-to-peer digital currency system.
CRM114.rb, a Ruby interface to the CRM114 Controllable Regex Mutilator.
Dagny, a Django adaptation of Ruby on Rails's Resource-Oriented Architecture.
EagleClaw, a Ruby library for building screen scrapers.
Fancypants, a JavaScript and Python library of data visualisation trinkets.
fastFrag, a simple JSON-based client-side JavaScript templating engine.
ficly, writes like, a Google Chrome extension for analyzing ficly.com
stories using the iwl.me service.
GrowlAMQP, a Ruby daemon that reports AMQP messages via Growl.
Habilis, an email-to-Dropbox gateway.
Have-a-Cookie, a Google Chrome extension for enhanced-privacy cookie management.
HTML5 Boilerplate, a rock-solid HTML5/CSS/JS template for creating
fast, robust, and future-proof sites.
I2P.rb, a Ruby library for interacting with the I2P anonymity network.
JavaScript Object Graph, a Java library designed to make working with
JSON simple.
Jibber, a small blogging engine built with Sinatra.
jQuery JSON-RPC, a JavaScript JSON-RPC library for jQuery.
JSched, a simple Java framework for coroutines.
loopozorg, Python infrastructure for executing shell commands on file
Machinery, a C library for dynamic x86 and MIPS code generation.
Markdoc, a Python-based lightweight Markdown-based wiki system.
MathIsFun2, a simple iPhone game.
netscan, a C-based set of low-level network utilities.
Nuush, a Bash-based command-line RSS feed reader.
OpenCoinage, an open-source digital cash library.
OpenPGP.rb, a Ruby implementation of the OpenPGP Message Format (RFC 4880).
PHP.rb, a Ruby-to-PHP code generator.
Prosper, a PHP 5.3 database abstraction layer library.
pyFaceGraph, a Python client library for Facebook's Open Graph Protocol.
Qataki, a command-line Identi.ca/StatusNet/Twitter client.
Rack::Throttle, Rack middleware for rate-limiting incoming HTTP requests.
RDF.rb, a Ruby library for working with Resource Description Framework
(RDF) data.
RDFI.js, a JavaScript implementation of the core RDF Interfaces Specification.
RDFgrid, a framework for map/reduce-based batch-processing of RDF data
with Hadoop.
RSA.rb, a Ruby implementation of the RSA encryption algorithm and the
PKCS#1 cryptography standard.
Tor.rb, a Ruby library for interacting with the Tor anonymity network.
Trith, an experimental concatenative programming language.
Trinity, a Ruby web framework for publishing Linked Data.
Tubras, a C++/Lua game engine.
Tween-o-Matic, a Mac OS X application for designing
CAMediaTimingFunction animation curves.
SXP, a data interchange format based on S-expressions.
Spira, a Linked Data ORM for Ruby.
Sudoku, a fancy, feature-complete, cross-platform Sudoku app written in C++/Qt.
UpTheAsset, a semantic ontology and system for double-entry
bookkeeping and accounting.
weblayer, a lightweight, componentized Python package for writing web
WP Citation Manager, a WordPress plugin for managing external
citations to content.
WP Disable Registration Email, a WordPress plugin for disabling
post-registration e-mails to the administrator.
xo, a superoptimizer for generating optimal x86 assembly programs.
ZF-Boilerplate, a pre-packaged, pre-configured Zend Framework-based
blueprint for enterprise-grade PHP applications.
If you would like your own project added to this list, drop us a note
on the mailing list or create a ticket.

For a more comprehensive listing of software using the Unlicense,
google for the first line of the Unlicense. See also a list of authors
who unlicense the software they write as a matter of course.

Public Domain Software
Some examples of well-known public domain or license-free software
libraries and applications:

CERN httpd, the original World Wide Web daemon developed by Tim
Berners-Lee, was in the public domain.
SQLite, the most widely-deployed SQL database in the world, is in the
public domain.
qmail, the second-most popular MTA on the Internet, is in the public domain.
djbdns, the second-most popular DNS server software on the Internet,
is in the public domain.
libdjb, a project aiming to make the excellent libraries from Dan
Bernstein available to a wider public by extracting them from his
packages and providing a minimal Makefile for each library.
BLAST, one of the most widely used bioinformatics programs, is in the
public domain.
dlmalloc, a widely-used memory allocator implementation for C, is in
the public domain.
HLA, a high-level assembler for the x86 architecture, is in the public domain.
CMUCL, a popular implementation of the Common Lisp programming
language, is mostly in the public domain.
SBCL, another popular Common Lisp implementation, is likewise mostly
in the public domain.
CLIPS, a widely-used forward-chaining, rule-based inference engine, is
in the public domain.
byacc, the Berkeley Yacc parser generator, is in the public domain.
Lemon, a thread-safe LALR(1) parser generator, is in the public domain.
re2c, a high-performance lexer generator, is in the public domain.
Docutils, the Python text-processing system, is mostly in the public domain.
PyCrypto, the Python cryptography toolkit, is largely in the public domain.
Crypto++, a cryptographic library for C++, is mostly in the public domain.
MPICH2, a high-performance implementation of the MPI standard, is
largely in the public domain.
MinGW's runtime, which provides POSIX compatibility for Windows, is in
the public domain.
Phyz, a soft body dynamics physics engine for Windows, is in the public domain.
NBDS, a C library for various lock-free algorithms (including a
lock-free hash table), is in the public domain.
Djehuty, a fully-verifiable operating system written in the D
programming language, is in the public domain.
XOS, a multitasking operating system for the x86 architecture, is in
the public domain.
snafu, a small operating system written in assembly language, is in
the public domain.
PDCLib, a minimal C standard library implementation, is in the public domain.
WPDCC, a C preprocessor and compiler implementation, is in the public domain.
For other listings of public domain software, see Whoow, Wikipedia,
SourceForge, Ohloh, Google Code Hosting, Alioth, Savannah, Launchpad,
CodePlex, RubyForge and the Python Cheeseshop.

Other Popular Unlicenses
Some other ways to set your code free:

BOLA - Buena Onda License Agreement is similar to the Unlicense in intent.
CC0 - Creative Commons Zero is not intended for software per se.
WTFPL - Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License can't be beat for
blunt directness.
Unlicensing Resources
If setting your code entirely free still seems a somewhat daunting
prospect, try these perspectives on for size:

Who's Afraid of the Public Domain?
The Surprising History of Copyright and The Promise of a Post-Copyright World
The Unlicense: The First Year in Review
Licensed, License-Free, and Unlicensed Code
Set Your Code Free
Dissecting the Unlicense: Software Freedom in Four Clauses and a Link
Why I'm Going Public
The Promising Future of the Unlicense
To License or to Unlicense?
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