Subject: Re: Towards an OSI-approved "waive all rights" software license
From: Richard Fontana <rfontana@redhat.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2011 14:48:28 -0400

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.