[License-discuss] Possible alternative was: Re: U.S. Army Research Laboratory Open Source License (ARL OSL) Version 0.4.1

Lawrence Rosen lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Wed Mar 1 23:34:55 UTC 2017

Jim Wright wrote:

> Something is certainly better than nothing, I agree, but ...


Jim, I'm on your side on this. :-)  I'm hoping that a U.S. government open source policy, someday published in the Federal Register and bearing the force of law, will also include an express patent pledge that we can all rely on. Copyright isn't enough. Maybe even UPL?


Such a pledge could become a model for other large patent-holding institutions, such as universities, to give open source users reassurance that they are not patent infringers.


That's a bigger topic than for here. It is largely up to that public Federal Register process that eventually may ensue. It has nothing to do with OSI's approval of CC0. This WE can do now on our own on behalf of government open source. 





From: Jim Wright [mailto:jim.wright at oracle.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 2:59 PM
To: lrosen at rosenlaw.com; license-discuss at opensource.org
Subject: Re: [License-discuss] Possible alternative was: Re: U.S. Army Research Laboratory Open Source License (ARL OSL) Version 0.4.1


Something is certainly better than nothing, I agree, but I think many of us would rather have an express and broad license from all participants in a project, including the government, than to have to rely on less than well understood public domain dedications and waivers of patent rights that do not apply to all participants.  Something closer to symmetry and broad coverage should be achievable here IMHO - the perfect may sometimes be the enemy of the good, but in this case, we can, I think, do better than CC0.  YMMV of course.





On Mar 1, 2017, at 2:01 PM, Lawrence Rosen <lrosen at rosenlaw.com <mailto:lrosen at rosenlaw.com> > wrote:

Jim Wright wrote:

> it seems odd to me to require a dedication to the public domain in any event - stuff is either in the public domain by law or isn’t, and to whatever extent it isn’t, we should have a copyright license, full stop.  Similarly as to patents, I don’t want to have to look at some ostensible policy on waiving patent rights, we should all have a clearly scoped patent license for the project, government and private contributors alike, and there is an easy vehicle to achieve this, use an OSI approved license.  


Jim, regardless of which OSI-approved license(s) the U.S. government chooses for its distributed software, neither the "public domain" question nor the "patent license" question will EVER be fully answered for any particular software simply by reading those licenses. You have to look at the software itself. Of course, we could all sue each other and let the courts decide....


I'll be grateful for a published government policy – perhaps posted in the Federal Register someday – that reassures us of a commitment by government agencies to open source using any OSI-approved license.


Including CC0.




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