License Committee Report for April 2009

Rick Moen rick at
Thu Apr 2 22:23:52 UTC 2009

Quoting Alon von Bismark ( at

> also makes no reference to "a covered work" (other than using a word "works").

Even though we were _not_ speaking of the merits of questionably worded
licences OSI has approved in the past, your objection to Fair License
is, of course, irrelevant:  Fair License _does_ grant rights to works.

The author would insert Fair License (or a reference to it) into his/her
work's comment lines, right below the copyright statement.  That binds
that particular instance of the work to a permission grant, with the
copyright statement clarifying who's the owner/grantor and, ideally, the 
claimed year when copyright is claimed to have originated -- and the
wording of Fair License clearly states that the owner specifying its terms
is granting rights.  WTFPL does not.

I'm personally happier with licences that enumerate reserved rights and
explicitly say owner is granting them -- as does, for example, MIT/X11[1]
-- than one sweepingly talking about "usage" as an umbrella covering
those rights.  Probably, the OSI reviewers who looked at Fair License
said "Judges are likely to enforce the drafter's intent, and I agree --
but would not use that licence.


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