[License-review] Submitting CC0 for OSI approval

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Sat Feb 18 05:00:47 UTC 2012

Bruce Perens scripsit:

>> Similarly, there is always a risk of copyright recapture under U.S.  
>> law, which explicitly cannot be contracted or disclaimed away. 

> You mean in the case of material that was dedicated to the public  
> domain? I've seen some of this in state law, and there have been various  
> efforts to bring material that found its way into the public domain,  
> such as the film "It's a Wonderful Life", back under ownership.

No, I mean license termination by the author or his heirs under Title
17, Section 203(a), which permits the unilateral cancellation of any
license during the period from 35 years to 40 years after it was granted
(203(a)(3)), and which "may be effected notwithstanding any agreement
to the contrary" (203(a)(5)).

This provision is made in order to preserve the rights authors had in
the pre-1976 regime to renew copyrights and force their licensees to
renegotiate terms.  It is useful when a copyright was originally sold
cheaply but has substantially appreciated since then.  For open-source
code, the author's right is probably not a threat, but the right passes
to the heirs, who may not take the same view as the author.

Yes, chili in the eye is bad, but so is your    John Cowan
ear.  However, I would suggest you wash your    cowan at ccil.org
hands thoroughly before going to the toilet.    http://www.ccil.org/~cowan

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