[License-review] Approval Request: Free Public License 1.0.0
Christopher Sean Morrison
brlcad at mac.com
Tue Sep 1 17:58:52 UTC 2015
>> Permission to use, copy, modify, and/or distribute this software for
>> any purpose with or without fee is hereby granted.
>> THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" AND THE AUTHOR DISCLAIMS ALL
>> WARRANTIES WITH REGARD TO THIS SOFTWARE INCLUDING ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES
>> OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR BE LIABLE
>> FOR ANY SPECIAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR ANY
>> DAMAGES WHATSOEVER RESULTING FROM LOSS OF USE, DATA OR PROFITS, WHETHER IN
>> AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER TORTIOUS ACTION, ARISING OUT
>> OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OR PERFORMANCE OF THIS SOFTWARE.
I agree with others that this is a rather innovative suggestion, to simply remove the (unnecessary) copyright notice but grant all relevant rights. The mere familiarity with ISC/BSD/MIT would make for an interesting court argument regarding the author’s intentions.
> Public domain dedications are attractive to anyone who needs something more
> permissive than traditional licenses like the MIT license, but they're
> problematic <http://opensource.org/faq#public-domain>.
They’re also incredibly attractive to works of the U.S. Government. They're usually not subject to copyright law protections in the U.S and or sometimes there are rights under other mechanisms (contract law, federal regulations, etc), but their authors being proponents of open source and/or free software want to grant full rights to that work. In those situations, slapping a copyright statement (and licenses that rely solely on copyright law) is problematic to begin with. This cleverly, perhaps even unintentionally, circumvents that problem as well.
> The FPL is a modified ISC license that removes both the copyright notice
> and the requirement that "...the above copyright notice and this permission
> notice appear in all copies." While there's only a small textual difference
> between the two licenses, removing the copyright notice and copyright
> requirement solve the problem of software public domain dedication.
To my untrained legal eye, the only concern I’d wonder about is authorship / provenance. The copyright statement is essentially a quirky way of saying “I claim I have a set of rights”, followed quickly by a granting of those rights. Without that claim, there is no way to ascertain whether the grant is valid and truthful.
That’s arguably a problem of documentation, just like determining provenance of artwork, and not insurmountable by itself. However, it might be an interesting consideration to include an authorship (not copyright) statement like “This software is authored by [insert names].” With that, it’s clear whom disclaimed warranty, whom granted permission, etc, without asserting anything more (e.g., copyright).
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