[License-discuss] I've been asked to license my open source project CC0

Christopher Sean Morrison brlcad at mac.com
Tue Nov 7 20:47:42 UTC 2017

On Nov 07, 2017, at 02:27 PM, Shahar Or <mightyiampresence at gmail.com> wrote:

Nigel, in case there's a misunderstanding—I'm not contributing to a CC0 licensed project. A maintainer of a CC0 licensed project has requested me to re-license my ISC licensed project to CC0.

What do you mean by "Modifying the stock CC0"? Did they?

I presume he was referring to my reply which suggested that if you use CC0, to address patents in some manner.  CC0 is in prevalent use so you're probably fine either way, but just be aware that there is uncertainty (or at least disagreement) as to whether CC0's fallback license is consistent with the Open Source Definition (OSD) as defined by OSI.  The reason is that it essentially says "no patent grant for you!" which none of the permissives (e.g., ISC) say.

To the contrary, licenses like ISC arguably imply a patent license, but this is fully untested.  For an artwork asset, it doesn't really matter.  For code and contributors, it "could" matter if someone has a patent.

My overarching suggestion remains to address CC0's patent clause in *some* manner whether by a contributor agreement, dual-licensing, or amendment and probably in that order of decreasing favor.

And what do you mean by "they won’t use your code anyway"? They intend to use it as a dependency, via package management (Node.js/NPM) and specifically include it in their web frontend via bundling (Webpack, probably).

To me, their request makes absolutely no sense unless they distribute that frontend code independently of npm.  They're basically asking to not have to acknowledge your contribution as having come from you.  They're certainly able to do that and not an uncommon desire, but it seems very lame to me to ask that of an ISC code.

It appears to me that the maintainers want all the code and art assets under one license and they are using CC0.  That’s not too uncommon in general and in this case, it makes even more sense given that shields appears to programmatically makes badges in svg.

Except they are extending their desire to non-bundled *dependencies*, which is just bizarre.  It's like wanting GPL virality sans copyright ... copyfarleft?

The patent provision is meaningless if you don’t own any patents used by your code.

It's not necessarily meaningless to contributors and forks and future you.



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