[License-discuss] Can OSI take stance that U.S. public domain is open source?

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Sun May 4 07:33:18 UTC 2014

Henrik Ingo scripsit:

> The analoguous explanation for why cc0 didn't qualify is that it
> explicitly said "you get rights a and b but not c", with c a necessary
> right to copy and use the software. It should be obvious that - even
> if you'd disagree wrt patents - at least for some values of c that is
> clearly not open source.

Yes, but c (patent rights) is not granted to *anyone* by CC0.  Whether
those rights are necessary or not, they don't come within the ambit of
OSD #7, which is about indirect distributees getting the same rights as
direct distributees.  Here, neither kind get any patent rights, so #7
is not triggered.

You could argue that selling is a patent right, and OSD #1 is violated
if a patent restricts you from selling software distributed under CC0.
But #1 reads to me as a restriction on the license, which contains no
such provision.

If the open-source nature of CC0 is to be disproved, it must be shown that
it violates some clause of the OSD.  This is distinct from the prudence
or otherwise of certifying the license.

John Cowan          http://www.ccil.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
It was dreary and wearisome.  Cold clammy winter still held sway in this
forsaken country.  The only green was the scum of livid weed on the dark
greasy surfaces of the sullen waters.  Dead grasses and rotting reeds loomed
up in the mists like ragged shadows of long-forgotten summers.
        --LOTR, "The Passage of the Marshes"

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