Public Domain


   Licensing without restrictions


Why it often might be a better idea


Hanno Böck, http://www.hboeck.de/
Why I'm interested in this?


●   Active in various free Software / free Content
    projects (e. g. Gentoo, OpenStreetMap...
What is Public Domain?


●   Any kind of content (music, software, code,
    movies, text etc.) that has no copyright
    ...
What are free licenses?


●   Gives you the „four freedoms“
       –   Use
       –   Modify
       –   Share
       –   S...
Restrictions in free licenses


●   Usually, two kinds of restrictions are accepted
    for free licenses
        –   Attr...
Freedom to mix?


Two free licenses does not mean they are
compatible.
●   GPLv2 vs. GPLv3 vs. CDDL vs. OpenSSL
●   Creati...
Example: OpenSSL


●   OpenSSL contains an advertisement clause
    incompatible with the GPL
●   GPL doesn't allow linkin...
Recent example with OpenSSL


●   vpnc implemented hybrid-auth with OpenSSL
    (used at many universities for internet ac...
Licenses for specific issues


●   We have software licenses, content licenses,
    documentation licenses, font licenses
...
Wrong license usage


●   OpenCola is GPL
●   Fonts under GPL
●   Wikipedia was FDL, some content still is
●   OpenStreetM...
Interesting example: GPL fonts


●   Good question: If you embed a GPL font in a
    document, e.g. a PDF, is your documen...
Borderline cases


●   Code and documentation often mixed (auto-
    generated API-documentation, it makes sense
    to mo...
Attribution no problem? (BSD, CC by)


 ●   The kind of attribution is often unclear
 ●   Many of the more interesting fre...
Complexity


●   How many people that create stuff under GPL,
    CC etc. have read it?
●   How many people that use stuff...
Creative Commons


●   Common misunderstanding: CC is not a
    license, it's a whole bunch of licenses – many
    people ...
CC: Noncommercial?


●   „Noncommercial“ sounds good to so many
    people at a first glance
●   Linux was nc at the begin...
CC: No derivatives


●   In original announcement, CC referred a lot to
    the „Remix“-band Negativland – the question is...
Relicensing?


●   Very hard (ask everyone involved)
●   Less likely to happen with old projects or
    projects with many...
Copyleft has done good


●   Without doubt copyleft licenses did a lot of good
●   OpenWRT is a famous example for it
●   ...
Alternative: Just ask


●   Just ask friendly for attribution, keeping stuff
    free etc.
●   May sound naive, but most p...
Go Public Domain!


●   You are compatible with everyone
●   You can explain the license to everyone within
    a minute (...
If you don't believe me


●   If you start a new project, think twice which
    license may fit
●   Think if you want to k...
PD not possible in Europe


●   Strictly legal speaking, PD not possible in
    Europe – but you can „grant all rights“.
 ...
CC Zero


●   Legal text for public domain
●   And they have nice logos you can put on your
    webpages
Notable PD stuff


●   Stuff with expired copyright – gutenberg.org,
    archive.org, librivox
●   Many images on Wikimedi...
Public domain Code


●   xz-utils
●   sqlite
●   gameswf
●   libcaca
●   qmail, djbdns
●   More: unlicense.org
What could be done?


●   Create catalogues, search engines to collect
    (and mirror?) PD data sources
●   Force Wikimed...
Sources


●   http://lists.scribus.info/pipermail/scribus/2005-
    April/ Fonts/GPL
●   http://creativecommons.org/press-...
Sources


●   http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/
    1.0/ CC Zero
●   http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Templat...
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Public Domain - Licensing without restrictions

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Why it might be a good idea to license without restrictions.

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Public Domain - Licensing without restrictions

  1. 1. Public Domain Licensing without restrictions Why it often might be a better idea Hanno Böck, http://www.hboeck.de/
  2. 2. Why I'm interested in this? ● Active in various free Software / free Content projects (e. g. Gentoo, OpenStreetMap) ● Always interested to bring the idea of free licenses to new areas ● Recently worked on ACCEPT_LICENSE feature in Gentoo
  3. 3. What is Public Domain? ● Any kind of content (music, software, code, movies, text etc.) that has no copyright restrictions at all ● Can be because of expired copyright (death+70y) or because the author „gives“ something to the public domain ● (strictly legal speaking not possible in Germany and most of Europe)
  4. 4. What are free licenses? ● Gives you the „four freedoms“ – Use – Modify – Share – Share modifications ● Examples: GPL, BSD, Creative Commons by, by-sa, FDL ● Definitions by OSI, FSF, freedomdefined.org
  5. 5. Restrictions in free licenses ● Usually, two kinds of restrictions are accepted for free licenses – Attribution – you must mention the original author(s)) – Copyleft – derivated works must stay free ● So everything is fine with free licenses? You're allowed to do anything beside making it nonfree and using it without attribution?
  6. 6. Freedom to mix? Two free licenses does not mean they are compatible. ● GPLv2 vs. GPLv3 vs. CDDL vs. OpenSSL ● Creative Commons by-sa vs. FDL ● FDL vs. GPL ● Creative Commons by-sa 2.0 vs. 3.0
  7. 7. Example: OpenSSL ● OpenSSL contains an advertisement clause incompatible with the GPL ● GPL doesn't allow linking against non-GPL libs ● Relicensing an old piece of software is nearby impossible ● Many work around by having a GPL+special OpenSSL exception clause
  8. 8. Recent example with OpenSSL ● vpnc implemented hybrid-auth with OpenSSL (used at many universities for internet access) ● vpnc is GPL without exception, thus this is not allowed – code was there but it wasn't allowed to distribute binaries ● (in the meantime, they've re-implemented hybrid-auth using GnuTLS – not in Debian/Ubuntu yet)
  9. 9. Licenses for specific issues ● We have software licenses, content licenses, documentation licenses, font licenses ● Soon maybe database licenses, hardware design licenses, yet-to-be-invented-stuff licenses ● Many people use already existing licenses, no matter if it makes any sense
  10. 10. Wrong license usage ● OpenCola is GPL ● Fonts under GPL ● Wikipedia was FDL, some content still is ● OpenStreetMap uses CC by-sa 2.0 ● Beolingus-dictionary is GPL ● RepRap is GPL
  11. 11. Interesting example: GPL fonts ● Good question: If you embed a GPL font in a document, e.g. a PDF, is your document GPL? ● This probably was never intended by the font author putting his work under a free license ● But that's the wording of the GPL – derivated works must be GPL, too ● FSF suggests font-exception to GPL
  12. 12. Borderline cases ● Code and documentation often mixed (auto- generated API-documentation, it makes sense to move comments to doc and vice-versa) – remember GPL and FDL incompatible ● Games, Music, Images, Art ● Creative „misuse“ of stuff (e. g. Machinima) ● Screenshots
  13. 13. Attribution no problem? (BSD, CC by) ● The kind of attribution is often unclear ● Many of the more interesting free projects are highly collaborative – making attribution difficult ● Do you need to print the full revision history if you want to print Wikipedia articles? ● If you re-use images, e. g. in a design for a small flyer, is there enough place for the author? For five authors?
  14. 14. Complexity ● How many people that create stuff under GPL, CC etc. have read it? ● How many people that use stuff under GPL/CC etc. have read it? ● People should be „free“ to use stuff – not to understand the bunch of complexities from licenses
  15. 15. Creative Commons ● Common misunderstanding: CC is not a license, it's a whole bunch of licenses – many people don't know that ● They invented a whole number of new restrictions (noncommercial, no derivatives, developing countries, sampling) – more complexity ● Ignored everything that was there before (FDL)
  16. 16. CC: Noncommercial? ● „Noncommercial“ sounds good to so many people at a first glance ● Linux was nc at the beginning – I pretend if Linus had stayed with that, it'd never be where it is today ● It is very questionable if anyone can give a strict definition of „commercial“ (is a private party where drinks are sold commercial?)
  17. 17. CC: No derivatives ● In original announcement, CC referred a lot to the „Remix“-band Negativland – the question is why? ● Negativland became famous for remixing Disney (Gimme the mermaid) and U2 ● If Disney and Bono had decided to use CC by- nd, they could've sued Negativland anyway
  18. 18. Relicensing? ● Very hard (ask everyone involved) ● Less likely to happen with old projects or projects with many contributors ● Sometimes there are special options ● Biggest relicensing effort was probably Wikipedia switching to CC by-sa
  19. 19. Copyleft has done good ● Without doubt copyleft licenses did a lot of good ● OpenWRT is a famous example for it ● I was in favour of copyleft for a long time ● I hear more often from licensing problems than from successful attempts to free code ● Looking at the whole issue, I came to the conclusion that we'd still get further without it
  20. 20. Alternative: Just ask ● Just ask friendly for attribution, keeping stuff free etc. ● May sound naive, but most people using your stuff will be „community“-people ● People can decide theirself if it makes sense to pay attribution, keep stuff free etc. ● Some won't – take it easy
  21. 21. Go Public Domain! ● You are compatible with everyone ● You can explain the license to everyone within a minute („you are allowed to do everything“) ● Your project can be everything that is related to knowledge ● You will make lawyers unemployed
  22. 22. If you don't believe me ● If you start a new project, think twice which license may fit ● Think if you want to keep an option to change the license later ● Don't use a license that doesn't fit your purpose
  23. 23. PD not possible in Europe ● Strictly legal speaking, PD not possible in Europe – but you can „grant all rights“. – I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible: I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law. (Wikipedia)
  24. 24. CC Zero ● Legal text for public domain ● And they have nice logos you can put on your webpages
  25. 25. Notable PD stuff ● Stuff with expired copyright – gutenberg.org, archive.org, librivox ● Many images on Wikimedia Commons ● TweetCC ● Book metadata from some german libraries ● digg.com ● Laws, often images from authorities
  26. 26. Public domain Code ● xz-utils ● sqlite ● gameswf ● libcaca ● qmail, djbdns ● More: unlicense.org
  27. 27. What could be done? ● Create catalogues, search engines to collect (and mirror?) PD data sources ● Force Wikimedia Commons and others to implement a PD search ● Create the next big project based on PD / CC0 (Encyclopedia without relevance criteria?)
  28. 28. Sources ● http://lists.scribus.info/pipermail/scribus/2005- April/ Fonts/GPL ● http://creativecommons.org/press- releases/entry/3707 Negativland/CC ● http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benutzer:Historiogra f/GNU_FDL_Highway_to_Hell_-_FAQ Wikipedia/FDL
  29. 29. Sources ● http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/ 1.0/ CC Zero ● http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:PD -user-w/en Wikipedia Public Domain Template ● http://www.edri.org/edrigram/number8.6/germa n-libraries-cc0-catalog-data Libraries CC0

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