[License-review] OSI recognition for Creative Commons Zero License?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Feb 2 21:33:01 UTC 2012

Quoting Carl Boettiger (cboettig at gmail.com):

> Excellent question.  I believe that the need to include the license itself
> in BSD and MIT licenses make them substantially different from the CC0
> license.

If you don't wish to require inclusion of a licence text, waive that 
requirement, where present, in your copyright notice.

For a long time, I published some technical documentation under GPLv2,
carelessly forgetting about its clause 1 requirement to include a copy
of the licence.  Someone on OSI licence-discuss pointed out my gaffe, 
and I amended my copyright notice accordingly.  (I think it was John
Cowan.  Thank you, John.)

Anyway, MIT License is only about 20 lines.  Fair License is 3 lines.
Much as I admire terseness, there is such thing as taking that passion
to extremes.

> First, I often distribute software packages with data.  This is common
> practice for R packages, for example.  It is unclear that the MIT license
> and its kin can apply to the data, which are statements of fact and
> not copyright-able material.

If your copyright notice is unclear, you should fix that.  I'm sorry,
but I cannot see who has a problem, here.

> Second, such clauses place an additional burden on the reuse of the
> software.  If someone wants to grab snippets of code I distribute (i.e.
> through github) and paste them into a pastebin or gist and send them around
> to all their friends/vistors/etc, they shouldn't have to worry about
> whether they've copied a "substantial portion" of the code and if they have
> to copy that license somewhere into their gist or blog or what not.

Small snippets of code probably don't even have copyright title, and
nobody even cares about title to them anyway, and their provenance isn't
even in the general case going to be traceable.

If you're _really_ concerned about that, put 
#Do whatever you want with this codebase.  Copyright (c) 2112 Joe Owner.
...as a comment on line one.

As a personal comment, I'd like the global copyright regime to go away,
too, but we'll need to take it up with the legislatures of the world.
Handwaving it away just doesn't work well.  (My view, available to
others for a small fee and waiver of reverse-engineering rights.)

Rick Moen              "An easy way that you can save space is to edit out the 
rick at linuxmafia.com    overused word 'that.'  That's just not a word that needs 
McQ!  (4x80)           that much use."                       -- FakeAPStylebook 

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