Subject: RE: Please add "Public Domain" to "license" list
From: "Lawrence E. Rosen" <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 15:46:00 -0800

The Creative Commons document entitled "Public Domain Dedication" is not
a license.  That document is a "copyright-only dedication."  It is up to
copyright holders whether to use it, but it is not something that gets
approved by OSI.  We only review open source licenses.  

For computer software that may be used by people to perform real-world
functions, please consider using a regular open source license that
contains a disclaimer of warranty.  The Public Domain Dedication does
not deal with such issues because it is not a license.  Consult your
attorney before dedicating software in this way.

/Larry Rosen

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bob Doyle [mailto:bobdoyle@skybuilders.com] 
> Sent: Friday, March 14, 2003 10:14 AM
> To: dwheeler@dwheeler.com
> Cc: license-discuss@opensource.org
> Subject: Re: Please add "Public Domain" to "license" list
> 
> 
> David,
> 
> Although they target "content" itself rather than source 
> code, you might 
> take a look at the several Creative Commons licenses 
> (http://www.creativecommons.org), including one Public Domain.
> 
> Another similar effort is the Open COntent License 
> (http://www.opencontent.org/).
> 
> 
> David A. Wheeler wrote:
> 
> >Hello - I'd like to ask OSI to add "Public Domain" to the
> >open source software license list at:  
> >http://www.opensource.org/licenses/index.php
> >
> >I have several reasons for this request.
> >
> >First, it clarifies the status of public domain software.
> >Some people do not realize that
> >source code in the "public domain" is open source software. 
> I've been 
> >having discussions with a lawyer specifically on that point - the 
> >lawyer doesn't think public domain software is open source 
> software.  
> >If I could point to the OSI and say "look! there it is!", 
> it'd be much 
> >clearer.
> >
> >Second, a "license" text would help people who intend to
> >make their source code public domain.  Some programmers 
> don't realize 
> >that copyright is now automatic, and that they HAVE to 
> EXPLICITLY give 
> >it into the public domain for it to be public domain.  And 
> even if they 
> >know that, they may not know the right legal incantations to do so.  
> >Some suggested language would go a long way.
> >
> >Third, you could make it clear that the SOURCE CODE has to be in the 
> >public domain for this to work.  Declaring that an object code is in 
> >the public domain isn't enough.
> >
> >Yes, strictly speaking "public domain" isn't a license.
> >But it has all the workings of one, so for consistency's 
> sake I think 
> >you can treat it as a license and all works out.
> >
> >Version 1.4 of the open source definition made this clear; 
> its section 
> >10 states that certification marks could be shown for "for 
> source code 
> >explicitly placed in the public domain." However,  when 
> section 10 was 
> >removed, this clarity was removed as well.
> >
> >The OSI has always had the position that public domain 
> software is open 
> >source software.  I just ask that the OSI clearly state this 
> in their 
> >current text.
> >
> >Thank you very much.
> >
> >--
> >license-discuss archive is at http://crynwr.com/cgi-bin/ezmlm-cgi?3
> >  
> >
> 
> 
> -- 
> Bob Doyle
> http://www.skyBuilders.com
> 77 Huron Avenue
> Cambridge, MA 02138
> 617-876-5678 
> 
> 
> --
> license-discuss archive is at http://crynwr.com/cgi-bin/ezmlm-cgi?3
> 

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