[License-discuss] Unlicense CC0 and patents

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Aug 22 23:04:12 UTC 2013

Quoting Clark C. Evans (cce at clarkevans.com):

> The FSF considers works released under CC0 to be "Free Software" [1],
> but, the rationale for this determination was never disclosed.  Perhaps
> because anyone could sue for patent infringement regardless of
> copyright?

I might point out, too, in passing, that requiring the licensor to grant
a royalty-free licence to any applicable patents has limited utility in
even the rosiest scenario, as licensees could turn right around and be
hit up for royalties on someone _eles's_ patents over techniques the
code uses.

It's arguable that patent peace clauses _can_ be good strategy, but I'd
urge being careful to consider whether the specific clause one has in
mind is going to achieve one's aims without excessive collateral damage.

> The OSI couldn't come to an agreement on the fallback license, since it
> explicitly withheld patent rights [2].

Well, sort of.  My recollection is that some of the folks on
license-review including me merely suggested to CC that they should
consider just dropping the withholding-patent-rights language completely
(for the reasons cited in OSI's FAQ).   I don't think anyone on
license-review said it was, to borrow the expression, a deal-breaker,
just a bad idea to put into a licence generally.

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