[License-discuss] Another "crayon" license
engel.nyst at gmail.com
Sun Nov 17 08:44:32 UTC 2013
The following are answers and comments on and around the license and its
On 11/10/2013 05:53 PM, Gregor Pintar wrote:
> Is "relicense" meaningful in law?
"Relicense" is not a term of art in copyright, as far I know (I trust
someone can correct me if it is). In actions and discussions around
copyright licensing, it's used in more relevant different ways, in
particular it can refer to sublicensing or to the copyright holder
granting another license.
Its lack of definition in the text can make the clause invalid, and the
license may/will be rejected by communities that care about accurate or
familiar licensing. The license should preferably talk about rights in
copyright (and patents) field.
You could use "sublicense", or use a paraphrase (MIT does).
It's still like what you intend, an ultra-permissive license. But it's a
license, not a waiving of copyright of sorts.
Such an ultra-permissive license (or an equivalent existing one, there
are others than WTFPL) is a possible approach to your goals.
Another approach is CC0, PD dedication with fallback license, and
perhaps with patent grant.
It has been pointed out during CC0 review for OSI approval (it's
withdrawn) that it specifically reserves patent rights. No other open
source license gives copyright rights and explicitly reserves all patent
rights in the same time (read: the right to demand royalties or sue for
patents on that code). Saying nothing about patents in a license still
allows to rely in good faith on implicit assumptions, but saying it
reserves them is different.
I want to live in a world where no one ever has to worry and hesitate
because of software patents, but that's not this world today. Anyway,
there is work out there to fix CC0 adding to it a waiver of patents
rights. Personally, I'd recommend to use it.
Another approach is a permissive license with author attribution
condition, because they're popular and expected, IMO, though I
understand it's not what you want.
> Hmm, it's less explicit, but it's still longer than zlib's.
> Wouldn't "to the utmost extent", "any kind", "any way" and "any issue"
> do the trick?
You're right, there are minimal clauses. I don't know what works better
here. I'm not a lawyer, and I didn't research issues surrounding
implicit warranties or their risks. As noted before, I think you're
better off to just adopt an existing one.
> Do you think it would be better without "Copyright (C)" (with just
Better, as in clearly meant to allow removal? Well, no, I don't think
so. Some would keep the license and at least main authorship notices
regardless. Only, since this is what you wish, let it be a choice simply
by not including a condition to keep them.
If you want to guide interpretation as an "implicit public domain
dedication" more than that, you can add text to clarify that you'd make
it public domain if you could do it simply. But please keep the added
text outside the license. (i.e in the name of the license, or readme of
a project, or write an introduction clearly marked as not part of the
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