[License-review] CC0 decision process, waiting for CC response, etc.

Karl Fogel kfogel at red-bean.com
Wed Feb 22 08:34:33 UTC 2012

Carl Boettiger <cboettig at gmail.com> writes:
>As an observer, this has been a very interesting thread, but perhaps
>someone could clarify: Is the decision-making process one of majority
>vote, consensus of board members, or something else?

Essentially, the Board votes.  Ideally, it rubber-stamps the consensus
of this committee.  If there are deep divisions here, the Board is
unlikely to approve the license.  (I might make a recommendation, but it
would be just that: a recommendation.  Anyway, I'm unlikely to make one
when there are important outstanding questions!)

Christopher Allan Webber of Creative Commons has already posted (in the
"Request for consultation with CC on patent issue" thread) saying that
they're drafting a response to the concerns raised, so we should see
what CC says.

It might help to take a step back and think about how CC0 could be
useful to open source.  I had thought of it primarily as part of the
answer to the many "But what about the public domain?" questions we see
(at OSI and elsewhere).  But there may be ways to answer those questions
even without CC0 being an OSI-approved license.  I'm not trying to
prejudge the question, I'm just saying that the larger context is
important to bear in mind.  It's not that CC0 is a software license
already applied to lots of programs -- rather, it's that people have
questions about the public domain and open source, and CC0 might help
make them a bit less complicated to answer.  This could be still be true
whether or not it is approved.


>On Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 8:27 AM, Tzeng, Nigel H. <Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu> wrote:
>> On 2/19/12 3:08 PM, "Russ Nelson" <nelson at crynwr.com> wrote:
>>>Patent licensing is a mess. It would be better to establish one policy
>>>for all OSI-approved licenses, possibly modifying the OSD, than to try
>>>to piecemeal it one license at a time.
>> +1
>> As a partial counterpoint to MXM PL, OSI has approved patent grants
>> explicitly limited to only those patents held by the individual
>> contributors of the code and not the whole organization they belong to in
>> ECL 2.0.
>> Someone attempting to game the system with a patent trap inside software
>> under an OSI approved licensed could as easily do so with ECL 2.0.  Just
>> make sure the software devs don't hold the patents in question.  If some
>> of you try to get ECL revoked on such silly grounds I will be annoyed with
>> you and call you names.
>> FWIW I view CC0 as fine as written.  Given the explicit language CC put it
>> there for a reason.  An explanation would be nice but not approving for
>> that reason strikes me as counter-productive if CC is unwilling to
>> change/clarify the clause.  I don't see the patent risks as any higher
>> with or without the clause but I do see the community poorer without a CC0
>> option.
>> If you guys have that much heartache park it in that "special purpose
>> licenses" category.  Which I notice is still pointing at ECL 1.0 and not
>> 2.0 on the website.
>> IANAL, speaking only for me, etc.
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