Subject: Re: For Approval: The Simplified BSD License
From: Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com>
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2007 12:54:24 -0700

Quoting David Woolley (forums@david-woolley.me.uk):

> For open source licences, it very much matters what the computerist 
> thinks, because it is normally they that have to choose and interpret 
> and obey the licence.

Yes, it is thus important that, e.g., open source / free-software
licences be comprehensible by mere mortals.  However, c'mon.  It really
doesn't require a lot of intelligence to understand that the traditional
term of art 'All Rights Reserved' does not nullify software licences.

>> What matters is that judges (and people with at least a passing
>> acquaintance with the traditions of copyright law will read the
>> situation as intended.
> 
> I agree that they will realise that the phrase is being used without
> meaning....

Mr Woolley, the phrase 'All Rights Reserved' does not lack _meaning_. 
It means 'all rights not explicitly conveyed are reserved to the
copyright owner'.  Arguably, that was always true by default operation
of statute even pre-Berne, but this is the belt-and-suspenders approach
common in the language of business law.  What it lacks, under the
current Berne copyright regime, is _legal force_ -- except, per my
understanding, if your work is first published in Honduras.

> ...but I think they will then read the rest of the licence in the 
> context of having been written by someone that cut and paste codes their 
> legal documents, and therefore be more likely to give the benefit of 
> doubt against the author for other parts of the licence.

No.  The judge is going to read 'All Rights Reserved' as meaning what it
has always meant.

-- 
Cheers,                            To you, this thought         Alot
Rick Moen                          I gently allot:              Isnot
rick@linuxmafia.com                                             Aword.