Subject: Re: [CNI-(C)] Re: Open Source Licensing
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 27 Aug 2003 12:10:41 -0700

"Lawrence E. Rosen" <> writes:

> > Will it be better if you take out the word "perpetual" and 
> > add another section on duration of license something like this:
> > 
> >      16. Duration.  This license shall be in force until
> >      the expiration of copyright in original work or the
> >      unequivocal and irrevocable dedication of the original
> >      work to the public domain, whenever happens first.  In
> >      no way this license will be terminated any time before
> >      then.
> > 
> > That way, lay people and judges will understand that you
> > do not mean the license to be overreaching, beyond the
> > scope and term of copyright.
> I was pleased to discover, after I published OSL version 2, that it was
> a full page shorter than the GPL.  That fact alone increases the chances
> that licensors and licensees will actually read it and try to understand
> its implications and limitations.  While your proposed language would
> indeed speak the truth, the cost of those words in terms of readability
> and public understanding is prohibitive.  :-)  

As a programmer, I don't think the proposed change would be better.
After all, if I choose the OSL, then those are the terms I want.  The
fact that the OSL expires when copyright expires is actually a
drawback, not a benefit.  I understand and support the idea that
copyright expires, but if the OSL could carry on beyond that point,
that would be what I want.

If I wanted something else, I would pick a different license, perhaps
a time bomb OSL or something.

license-discuss archive is at