[License-review] veto against Unlicense

McCoy Smith mccoy at lexpan.law
Sat May 16 23:21:29 UTC 2020

> -----Original Message-----
> From: License-review <license-review-bounces at lists.opensource.org> On
> Behalf Of Langley, Stuart
> Sent: Saturday, May 16, 2020 3:30 PM
> To: License submissions for OSI review <license-
> review at lists.opensource.org>; Thorsten Glaser <tg at mirbsd.de>
> Subject: Re: [License-review] veto against Unlicense

> Pragmatically, if I end up in court to settle an uncertainty, I've already
lost.  I may win on the merits, but that is not cheap.  If a license does
not give me certainty that I won't have to go to court to defend > myself,
it's not a worthwhile license.  Similarly, I would never advise a client to
sign a commercial license that did not have conventional, well-trodden
language of license such as "Licensor grants X 
> rights...."

Everyone assesses and accepts risks differently, but I wonder whether this
same rationale would lead one to advise clients to avoid, e.g., BSD (in its
various clause iterations),* which uses neither "licensor," "license,"
"copyright," "patent," nor "grant," and uses none (or one, if you equate
"redistribution" with 17 USC 106(3) "distribute ... copies") of the
statutory copyright verbs and only one of the statutory patent verbs

*BSD+Patent corrects some of these issues, at least with respect to patent

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