Subject: RE: Towards an OSI-approved "waive all rights" software license
From: "Lawrence Rosen" <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2011 12:49:12 -0700

I wrote:
> > Maybe it depends on your definition of "trivial".

Richard Fontana responded:
> Oh, I basically agree with that.
> I actually do see CC0 as a valuable bit of legal machinery for 
> situations where strictly speaking it may not really be necessary.

This worries me. I have heard suggestions that CC0 be used for some really
important software specifications that are most definitely NOT trivial, and
for which patents and a secure IP environment definitely matter. Perhaps the
people who are choosing licenses won't hear that disclaimer from you and
others about the limits of the CC0 license for software and specifications.

/Larry 



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Richard Fontana [mailto:rfontana@redhat.com]
> Sent: Monday, April 18, 2011 11:48 AM
> To: Lawrence Rosen
> Cc: license-discuss@opensource.org
> Subject: Re: Towards an OSI-approved "waive all rights" software
> license
> 
> On Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 11:36:35AM -0700, Lawrence Rosen wrote:
> > Richard Fontana wrote:
> > > I am not too troubled by that to the extent CC0 continues to be
> > > applied to rather trivial pieces of code, but use of CC0 on a
> > > substantial body of code might be another matter.
> >
> > I'm not convinced you actually need a license for "rather trivial
> pieces of
> > code" that may be in the *real* public domain and not eligible for
> copyright
> > protection at all. See, e.g., 17 USC 102(b). This is another example
> of how,
> > in the context of open source software, we ask for licenses for
> things we
> > can just take, and ignore the important stuff (e.g., patents) we
> really need
> > licenses for.
> >
> > Maybe it depends on your definition of "trivial".
> 
> Oh, I basically agree with that. I actually do see CC0 as a valuable
> bit of legal machinery for situations where strictly speaking it may
> not really be necessary. There may be something problematic about that
> -- it draws attention away from the possibility that what's being
> covered might be noncopyrightable to begin with. But I also think
> there will always be some borderline cases where we don't reasonably
> know, and can't expect others to know, whether we've passed the
> threshold of copyrightability. Those might still involve code that
> looks fairly trivial. And under U.S. law the bar for copyrightability
> seems to be fairly low, generally speaking.
> 
> - Richard
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> >
> > /Larry
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Richard Fontana [mailto:rfontana@redhat.com]
> > > Sent: Monday, April 18, 2011 11:20 AM
> > > To: Lawrence Rosen
> > > Cc: license-discuss@opensource.org
> > > Subject: Re: Towards an OSI-approved "waive all rights" software
> > > license
> > >
> > > On Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 11:00:21AM -0700, Lawrence Rosen wrote:
> > > > 2. The CC0 license says nothing about patents. I find this
> > > particularly
> > > > troubling when a CC0 license (or the BSD license, for that
> matter!)
> > > is used
> > > > for software or specifications by companies that have large
> patent
> > > > portfolios.
> > >
> > > In fact CC0 explicitly excludes any licensing of patents.
> > >
> > >   No trademark or patent rights held by Affirmer are waived,
> > >   abandoned, surrendered, licensed or otherwise affected by this
> > >   document.
> > >
> > > I am not too troubled by that to the extent CC0 continues to be
> > > applied to rather trivial pieces of code, but use of CC0 on a
> > > substantial body of code might be another matter.
> > >
> > > I have recently suggested to Creative Commons that the issue should
> > > perhaps be revisited in future versions of CC0, now that its
> > > suitability for software has been acknowledged.
> > >
> > > - RF
> > >
> >
> >
> 
> --
> Richard E. Fontana
> Open Source Licensing and Patent Counsel
> Red Hat, Inc.