super small licenses, good or bad idea?

John Cowan cowan at
Wed Jun 1 03:48:32 UTC 2011

Bruce Perens scripsit:

> "Use" is a specific right in copyright law, separate from "create a
> derivative work" and "redistribute".

Actually, "use" is a right in patent law, where licenses are to "make,
have made, use, offer to sell, sell, import" etc. etc.

The copyright rights are "copy, distribute, prepare derivative works,
publicly display, publicly perform."  Copyright law does not constrain
use.  If you have a lawfully acquired copy of a book, you may do as you
please with it: read it, act on any instructions it contains, or "use"
it to prop up a table, insulate a root cellar, or check erosion in a gully.

> You really should grant all three and maybe some others. By the time
> you get done it's as big as 2-clause BSD, with the additional problem
> that it's one more license for people to include in combinatorial
> analysis.


A poetical purist named Cowan           [that's me: cowan at]
Once put the rest of us dowan.          [on xml-dev]
    "Your verse would be sweeter
    If it only had metre
And rhymes that didn't force me to frowan."     [overpacked line!] --Michael Kay

More information about the License-review mailing list