[License-review] Submitting CC0 for OSI approval

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Sun Feb 19 02:49:23 UTC 2012

Russ Nelson scripsit:

> Yes, let's all thank Bruce for that. (If Bruce wants credit, he has to
> take blame, too.) 

Can you please stop the dick-measurinug contest on this list?  (And by
"dick-measuring" I mean "measuring who can be the bigger dick".)

> If the OSD covered patents, it would only be a whitewash over the real
> problem. It would be irresponsible for us to pretend that we are
> creating any benefit to B.  There are 6 billion people on the Earth,
> and with an OSD that requires patent indemnification against lawsuits
> by A, only 5,999,999,999 of them can sue you for patent infringement.


> And, the final killer is that CC0 is an attempt to put software into
> the public domain, or come as near as possible. So, in a country where
> CC0 is valid law, once you see the CC0 on a piece of code, you don't
> have to reproduce the CC0 anymore. Now, code that is in the public
> domain is not licensed. There is no copyright holder TO license the
> code. With no copyright license, there is no patent license.

Whyever not?  Alice can (in the appropriate country) write a piece
of code and dedicate it to the public domain.  Bob can copy, modify,
and distribute it to his heart's content.  But because Alice or perhaps
Charlie has a patent that reads on it, Bob can't use it.

An important distinction between copyright licenses and patent licenses
is that a copyright license is fully effective:  Alice says you can copy
her work, you can copy it.  But if Bob grants you a license to use his
patented frobnicator, you can't necessarily do so -- you have to make sure
that you have a license from Charlie to use the part he owns the rights
to, and David, licenses from Charlie and David and sublicense them to you,
but if he didn't know about Eve's patent, both Bob and you are screwed.

A poetical purist named Cowan           [that's me: cowan at ccil.org]
Once put the rest of us dowan.          [on xml-dev]
    "Your verse would be sweeter        http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
    If it only had metre
And rhymes that didn't force me to frowan."     [overpacked line!] --Michael Kay

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