[License-review] Submitting CC0 for OSI approval

Christopher Allan Webber cwebber at creativecommons.org
Fri Feb 17 20:25:27 UTC 2012


Hello,

By this email we (Creative Commons) are formally submitting CC0 for
approval on the OSI license list.  We've actually discussed this
internally for some time, but wanted to see if there was enough of a
demand from people external to CC to see this happen.  I'm happy to
say that we've gotten a lot of pressure recently to make that
submission, so it looks like that's in proper alignment.

CC0 is a "public domain tool"; that is to say, it attempts to make
releasing something into the public domain possible worldwide.  Where
possible, the tool is designed to put something into the public
domain.  Where that is not possible, there is a lightweight "fallback"
license.

You can find the "deed", which describes the legal tool, here:
  http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

Additionally, the actual legalcode for the license is available here:
  http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/legalcode

Some additional background here:
  http://creativecommons.org/about/cc0
  http://wiki.creativecommons.org/CC0
  http://wiki.creativecommons.org/CC0_FAQ

As you may know, last year Creative Commons worked with the FSF on a
similar process to attempt to clarify whether CC0 was acceptable for
free software per the FSF's definitions, and to check to make sure CC0
(including its fallback license) was GPL-compatible.  I'm happy to say
that this was a massive success:

 - A CC blogpost after the FSF declares CC0 as acceptable for
   software, compatible with the GPL:
   http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/27081

 - The FSF's listing, which includes the statement "If you want to
   release your work to the public domain, we recommend you use CC0.":
   http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#CC0

 - Also, as we blogged on CC Labs, the FSF recommends CC0 for
   "code snippets" in documentation:
   http://labs.creativecommons.org/2011/05/27/fsf-recommends-cc0-for-code-snippets-in-documentation/

 - CC0 FAQ entry on using CC0 for software, including suggested
   marking:
   http://wiki.creativecommons.org/CC0_FAQ#May_I_apply_CC0_to_computer_software.3F_If_so.2C_is_there_a_recommended_implementation.3F

 - Lastly, we do provide a plaintext version of CC0 (and actually the
   core, unported 6 CC licenses these days):
   http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/legalcode.txt
   http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/27094

Speaking personally, I believe that simplifying the "public domain
tool with fallback license" space is a good thing, and would be useful
for FOSS generally.  Conversely, I think CC0 on OSI's license list
would be useful in that many code hosting platforms look to OSI's list
when determining whether or not to list a license as an option... and
I think it would be great if CC0 were listed more often in such places!

Thanks!
 - Christopher Allan Webber & Creative Commons


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