Subject: Re: For Approval: Common Public Attribution License (CPAL)
From: Rick Moen <>
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2007 13:28:36 -0700

Quoting Ross Mayfield (

[I appreciate your contributions, Ross.  One thing caught my eye:]

> Many websites have multiple attribution (my favorite example:
> ) and it has not caused a
> problem. 

I can't resist citing Nicholas Goodman's nightmare scenario:
(This is not a CPAL-related scenario, though; see below.)

> First, your example is hypothetical: it assumes that multiple
> entities will decide to use CPAL and demand attribution. We are
> skeptical that this situation will arise. If it does arise, we believe
> that the licensors will be practical enough to work it out.

This assumes the licensors can be identified and contacted.  One of the
longtime failure modes of proprietary software that open source
(partially) rectifies is the one where an important piece of software's
owner needs to be contacted for some permission, and cannot be found -- 
or has died and nobody is quite sure has inherited the rights.  This
problem cropped up frequently with "freeware"/"shareware" offerings, for

(Even with open source, this problem can hit re: licence exceptions, for

In general, one of the implicit goals of licensing something in open
source is for all necessary permissions to be granted in advance and 
conveyed with the code, so that allowed derivatives can be lawfully
created and distributed, and the original codebase can be lawfully
distributed, in perpetuity without needing to re-find and get something
new from the licensor.

But yes, _if_ the licensor can be found and is still cooperative, the 
sorcerer's apprentice effect of accumulative logos can be curbed. 

> Moreover, the "prominent" requirement is flexible and can accommodate
> different screens sizes and different numbers of attributions.

This is actually a better, and key, point, I think.

"Zees American words are too much.      Zen our culture you'll wrench; 
With 'le parking' 'le weekend' & such.  Wiz our children we'll be out of touch."
Eef you anglicise French,                -- L'Academie Francaise in a nutshell