LinuxCon: The tragedy of the commons gatekeepers
Posted Sep 29, 2012 15:20 UTC (Sat) by khim
In reply to: LinuxCon: The tragedy of the commons gatekeepers
Parent article: LinuxCon: The tragedy of the commons gatekeepers
I would prefer that copyright and patents be treated separately, in separate licences.
To make it possible to create "free software" and then start charging for it? Thnx, but no, thnx. As long as the software is covered by both copyrights and patents you need permissions from both branches of law to use it.
I very much would prefer to live in a world where something copyrightable can not be patented and vice versa, but, sadly, our world is not like this.
By the same rule, you can consider CC0 a free licence because it means the program can be free software, if you live in a part of the world where software is not patentable. It does not actively try to fight against the problems caused by software patents. But that does not make it non-free, just non-copyleft.
When part of the world where software is not patentable was large this approach was entirely acceptable. But as this part shrinks the usability of such licenses diminishes. Worse: with something like BSD license you can argue that you have an implicit patent grant (for why else anyone will want to release something using such liberal terms if s/he does not want to give the ability to actually use it?), but with CC0 the intent to mislead you into adoption of the technology with later bait-and-switch tactic is obvious from the onset: how can you claim it's "free software" in this case?
And if you'll read the discussion about CC0 then you'll find out that it was, indeed, the whole point: The patent language that exists comes out of conversations with the scientific data community, whom were a large target of adoption for the tool. This community felt strongly that there was a need to clearly waive something into the public domain without also waiving patents in the process.
I can understand why CC0 did what it does: it's designed to release data which is you think are not covered by patents at all but which may contain something patented by mistake and you want to retain the right to backtrack. Simple and understandable desire. Unfortunatelly text as written makes it very easy to use CC0 to lay RAMBUS-style booby-traps.
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