[linux-elitists] Fwd: RFC: Freecell Solver Licence "Change"

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Mar 19 01:56:43 PDT 2009

Quoting Shlomi Fish (shlomif at iglu.org.il):

> Rick, this email has been inspired by what you said about using the PD for 
> source code, and links to your page. Rick and everybody else - any comments?

Informed people of goodwill differ over whether particular PD
declarations (say, for example, Creative Commons's CC0) actually 
achieve the intended legal effect without ambiguity -- in _some_ 
legal jurisdictions, at least.  The best information I've heard
is that such attempts are legal NOOPs in the UK.  (I see that an article
you link to says the concept of public domain is "not recognised" in
France or Germany -- whatever that means.)

Tom "spot" Callaway of Red Hat told me recently that Red Hat Legal 
believes at least one PD declaration, that of Dan Bernstein in Dec.
2007, to be reliable in some way.  He promised to follow up with me on
that, but hasn't yet.  I'm very curious to hear what they have to say.

Anyhow, among the points my (referenced) page makes in passing is that 
a simple one-line permissive licence avoids ambiguity entirely, a
two line licence permits warranty disclaimer, and three lines permits
using a standard, OSI-certified licence:  the Fair License.

I personally think software under clear, definite PD declarations is 
perfectly safe to use, but that there's room to wonder exactly how 
judges in particular jurisdictions are likely to implement the grantor's
intent (if at all).

One thing I like about Creative Commons's CC0 is that it hedges bets on
the problem by providing that _if_ a jurisdiction holds that the main
declaration is invalid (fails to nullify the copyright's existence and
hence its property of being ownable), then a separate permissive grant
applies, instead.

> As a result I now think I should "convert" the licensing terms of new
> Freecell Solver releases to the MIT/X11 Licence:

A perfectly fine, standard permissive licence.  If it's still too
complex for you or others (/me shakes his head in disbelief), please
consider the three-line Fair License.

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