back to article Fedora sours on Creative Commons 'No Rights Reserved' license

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 …

  1. DS999 Silver badge

    Will this have any practical effect?

    Are there CC licensed packages included in base Fedora installs now?

  2. Alistair Silver badge

    For the record:

    rpmquery -a --queryformat %-30{NAME}:%{LICENSE}"\n"

    Will produce a list of packages, with the licenses they use. I see 41 packages that have or include CC0 in my list, on a Fedora 35 install. Mind you I also include rpmfusion and a couple of other non fedora repos, so that may throw that number off.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      My F35 results in 55 hits. Of those are 33 hits on the libreoffice packages, which includes some CC0 materials.

      Only very few have an exclusive CC0 license. However, if all packages with any CC0 materials should be abandoned, then that would be a bloodbath. Like, for example, abandoning libreoffice, parts of emacs, ruby and more? That would be very hard to swallow. Some re-licensing or replacement is required, which will be a hard time coming.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        I'd guess some or maybe many were licenced as CC0 in good faith in the belief that it was the least encumbered licence available. The first step should be for the Document Foundation (LibreOffice) and distros to ask those authors who can be traced to relicense or add a patent waiver. That should identify the scale of remediation needed.

        Given the number in LO perhaps el Reg could ask the Document Foundation for their comments and report back.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          This page lists media from LO under CC0:

          It's not a clear statement that there are no other files under that licence but there but it seems that devs are encouraged to use CC0 for media so it's not surprising that so many CC0 files are found.

          1. b0llchit Silver badge

            Then the question would be whether grant of rights of any "design patents" also are excluded by the wording in CC0. It seems so, as CC0 only seems to take care of copyright. If so, then this CC0 media/artwork can be a real problem.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > My F35 results in 55 hits.

        How many of those are code, as opposed to art or documentation?

        A quick way to get a rough estimate would be to filter out "march" hits (yes, some of those could also be scripts)

  3. steelpillow Silver badge

    Yet another reason why

    software patents are a terrible idea.

    1. naive

      Re: Yet another reason why

      All patents are a terrible idea, the concept of patents should be abandoned with a few exceptions in pharma and other areas involving physical things, where research is very costly.

      It leaves too much space for suppression of competition dominating players, contributing to the world we currently live in, big tech whales holding factual monopolies and power over elected governments.

      Monopolies are the result of socialist market regulation when they are not linked to physical assets held by a single company.

      1. iTheHuman

        Re: Yet another reason why

        Pharma needs to be more closely allied with government for many reasons. The issue of patents (something closer to FRAND rather than exclusivity for 15 years) being only one.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Yet another reason why

        "All patents are a terrible idea"

        Not necessarily. In theory, at least, it protects an inventor with a genuinely original idea from cheap knock-offs.

        The problem with S/W patents is an over-ready willingness to see something as non-obvious to someone skilled in the art. Programming is so often a case of the developer being asked to write something for a particular situation and just rolling out what seems obvious. If the solution is novel because the situation was novel then there's no difference between that outcome and yet another order-processing scheme. The experiments which led up to the ideas around software patterns should have underlined that - given a problem developers will tend to solve it in similar ways.

        What should be required is evidence that the problem has been looked at in the past with no previous solution. Something such as published papers in the literature as evidence of that (and not a series of straw men published by a team who suddenly pull their rabbit out of the hat). An example of that would be hypertext. It had been proposed and discussed with no practical solution before TBL. By such stricter standards that might have been a suitable development for a S/W patent. And what is really the killer blow for patents is that it became a success not because it was patented but because it wasn't and was actually released untrammelled by patents and with open source code for both client and server.

        1. Oglethorpe

          Re: Yet another reason why

          The other benefit of patents is that they can avoid the need for trade secrets, which may result in new technologies being lost.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yet another reason why

            > The other benefit of patents is that they can avoid the need for trade secrets, which may result in new technologies being lost.

            This is precisely why, when you have something *really* novel, the lawyers advice may very well be not to patent it. Instead you keep it as a secret and run the risk of someone reverse engineering and duplicating your process rather than hand over the blueprints to your competitors on a plate, at which point for them it's "just" a matter of working out the one or two crucial details that a good patent filling takes care to omit and tweaking the process in some minor way sufficient to be legally different from the description in your patent. Pay your own lawyers to file your own patent and save yourself years of R&D expenditure.

            It's a fine line whether to patent or not. And yes, the system is utterly broken.

        2. Daniel Pfeiffer

          Re: Yet another reason why

          An example of that would be hypertext. It had been proposed and discussed with no practical solution before TBL.

          If you're referring to Xanadu, yes, HTML did overtake it. But others were usable earlier, like GNU Emacs' Info system, that was already in v1.3 (probably 1984 or latest '85).

          Though, to be honest, TBL preceded that with the CERN-internal and even there little used ENQUIRE (1980).

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @naive - Re: Yet another reason why

        Pharma ?! You must be joking.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Patently oblivious

    Since they're only targetting CC0 because it has an explicit non-grant of patent rights, does that mean that any open-source license which doesn't mention patents has an implicit patent grant? Has that been tested in any court?

    Or are we perhaps eventually going to be seeing a push back on permissive licenses like BSD, which don't mention patents at all, as being legally risky to use?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Patently oblivious

      Did you not read the article? That's all mentioned in there.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Patently oblivious

        You would need to look at each licence in turn and there are too many for the article to consider. Even if a licence includes a patent licence it can only do so in regard to any patent rights the publish holds. Third party patents are still a risk.

  5. Bebu Silver badge

    Dual/multiple licenses?


    If software were licensed with a few of CC0, GPL/3, BSD etc with the choice of applicable license made by the user (licensee) would that avoid the patent issue?

    How much of the world has software patents? I thought the EU didn't but might now with various trade and IPO treaties requiring such.

    I suspect if patents expired after 5 years (not the 17 I think now) no one would bother.

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