[License-discuss] Another "crayon" license

Engel Nyst engel.nyst at gmail.com
Sun Nov 17 08:44:32 UTC 2013

Hello Gregor,

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withdrawn) that it specifically reserves patent rights.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.[1] 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
 > name)?

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 
license text.)

[1] https://github.com/asaunders/public-domain-customized

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