Fedora Sours On Creative Commons ‘No Rights Reserved’ License

Fedora Sours On Creative Commons ‘No Rights Reserved’ License (theregister.com)



from the how-about-that dept.

waspleg writes: Fedora, the popular Linux distribution, will no longer incorporate software licensed under CC0, the Creative Commons “No Rights Reserved” license. In order to support the wide re-use of copyrighted content in new works, CC0 provides authors “a way to waive all their copyright and related rights in their works to the fullest extent allowed by law.” The license arose in response to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA), which extended the duration of copyright by 20 years at the expense of the public domain. But CC0 explicitly says the licensor does not waive patent rights, which for free and open source software (FOSS) is a potential problem. That means, for instance as described here, if you use CC0-licensed code in your project, and the author of that code later claims your project is infringing a patent they own regarding that code, your defense will be limited. Avoiding the use of CC0-licensed code is one way to steer clear of these so-called submarine patents that could years later torpedo you.

In a message to The Fedora Project’s mailing list for legal issues, Richard Fontana, a technology lawyer for Red Hat (which sponsors Fedora), explained that while CC0 is cited as a “good license,” it won’t be for much longer. “We plan to classify CC0 as allowed-content only, so that CC0 would no longer be allowed for code,” said Fontana. “This is a fairly unusual change and may have an impact on a nontrivial number of Fedora packages (that is not clear to me right now), and we may grant a carveout for existing packages that include CC0-covered code.” Fontana said there’s a growing consensus in the FOSS community that licenses without any form of patent licensing or forbearance aren’t suitable. CC0, he said, like other Creative Commons licenses, includes a clause that explicitly states no patent rights are waived by the licensor.

I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs.
— H.L. Mencken


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