[License-review] CC0 incompliant with OSD on patents, [was: MXM compared to CC0 ]

Tzeng, Nigel H. Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu
Thu Mar 8 15:32:59 UTC 2012

On 3/7/12 9:15 PM, "Bruce Perens" <bruce at perens.com> wrote:

>I don't really see that you are stating anything new. We know full well
>that the grantors only hold a few patents in the torrent. In the recent
>vote, it looked like about 50% still felt it was worthwhile to make sure
>that the grantors are not themselves taking bad action.

As long as it's plainly stated that the license does not provide a patent
license then users of the software can judge for themselves the risks
involved.  Just like they do with copyleft vs permissive licenses.

Many folks will only use a smaller subset of the open source available to
them for a variety of reasons.

>Ultimately, this comes down to who you're working for. If your customer
>is Red Hat and its users, this issue doesn't matter much to you. For OSI
>to be a rubber-stamp of licenses without considering policy might well
>be a good decision for those parties. If you're trying to look out for
>the volunteer developers and their projects, you get a different answer.
>But it might also be that you are attempting to address with light a
>portion of the argument that is only heat. I don't think that will work.

Allowing licenses that explicitly do not provide a patent license like CC0
is not a rubber stamp of licenses without considering policy.  Especially
if labeled as a special purpose license.

Nor does it ignore the need of volunteer developers in favor of corporate
need.  Frankly, it will likely be corporations that will avoid the use of
open source without explicit patent grants more often as a matter of
policy.  One less thing to worry about in terms of compliance.

"Looking out" for volunteer developers isn't tightening the definition of
the OSD but to clearly provide a set of licenses that are easy to
understand from a layperson perspective as to what their compliance
requirements will be, what their risks are AND to provide a sufficient
range of licenses that covers the needs of the community as a whole.

Something CC does and OSI does not for their respective communities.  I've
seen several times volunteer developers ask for an open source license
with a non-commercial clause for their projects only to be told "that's
not open source...go look elsewhere because we wont help you and don't
even think to use CC-SA-NC either".

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