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

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Thu Mar 8 17:56:30 UTC 2012

On 03/08/2012 07:32 AM, Tzeng, Nigel H. wrote:
> 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.
They can judge the risk regarding copyright-based licenses because the 
copyrighted material is there in front of them. This is not the case 
regarding patents.

If I were to evaluate the U.S. patent risk for a company, a great deal 
of the burden would be search and evaluation of a very large collection 
of patents. The engagement would be around USD$100K, and that's not 
counting what the attorney who gets my report would charge. And there 
would be some big caveats in my report.

The cost of engagement for evaluating risk and establishing policies and 
processes for combining Open Source and proprietary software would be 
less than 1/5 of that.

It is not clear to me that the small and private Open Source projects 
are at all equipped to perform the evaluation.
>   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.
No, they will prefer to /use /software with such grants because it 
reduces their risk. What they worry about is /contributing/ their own 
work to such software. In general the ones who also have a patent 
royalty business either refuse to make such contributions or use 
intermediaries to develop them.

If you want an organization that recommends licenses, the FSF is happy 
to help. I agree that OSI should have a short-list of recommended 
licenses, but the politics of dis-recommending some organization's 
license are too much for them.


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