LICENSE: base-files and use of CC0 - public domain

Jari Aalto
Sat Oct 27 13:47:00 GMT 2012

On 2012-10-27 12:41, Corinna Vinschen wrote:
| > When I first decided to use CC0, I admitedly didn't do too much of a
| > research.
| >
| > I really don't mind to move to any of BSD-2 or GPLv3 if needed, but I
| > definitely don't want to see my name in each and every one of the
| > files, because I'm only the maintainer

The maintainer is always listed as a member in Copyright. You don't need to
worry about previous maintainers in this case. You'll be contacted, if
anyone wants to chime in; it's always a priviledge to attribute prior work
of someone.

License and Copyright are two different things. The selected license
(assume we use BSD or GPL), will grant anyone the right to modify the files
now and later. The Copyright is automatic, as it is always there when
someone creates something; e.g. when you touch the code. The Copyright line
only announces this explicitly; it is also important for traceability.

| > ( Copyright (c) 2010-2012 The cygwin project <> )
| That's really not required, IMHO.

As Corinna said, the above is used for organization/Corporate/Entity
Licenses and not usually applicable for individual packages outside of

| The setup files in Fedora don't have such a header either.  The only
| copyright note is this text in /usr/share/doc/setup${vers}/COPYING:
|   Setup package is public domain.
|   You are free to use, copy, distribute or modify included files
|   without restrictions.

Arguable not safe choice any more today. It may have been 20-30 years ago
in a different world without companies and people suing and without
software patents around the corners.

Public domain is a vague and probematic concept. It does not offer any
protection against liabilities. For this reason every instance (see
previous mails) recommend including a proper license in software files.

Software Freedom Law Center has a nice talk about public domain. If
someone has time, listen parts 19:30 - 24:10 at

I think the reason why pubic domain sounds seductive was put well in the
aftertalk of withdrawl of CC0 from OSI process:

    Clark C. Evans: "So, what makes Unlicense [failed attempt] and these
    public domain statements alluring is that they serve as vehicles for
    their authors make a statement about public policy. The MIT/BSD simply
    don't make a public statement this way, and hence, they don't have that
    sort of irresistable attraction."


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