Patching your license

Greg London email at
Wed May 26 11:02:38 EDT 2004

Glenn Otis Brown said:
> Version 2.0 licenses that feature the Share Alike requirement now
> clarify that derivatives may be re-published under one of three types
> of licenses: (1) the exact same license as the original work;
> (2) a later version of the same license as the original work;
> (3) an iCommons license that contains the same license elements

Some people are having issue with (2). But I would have to
agree with CC on this one. Copyright law is first and foremost
a dynamic thing. It can change at the drop of a hat.

When Bruce Lehman as patent commissioner issued guidelines
for the patent office saying that software would qualify
for patent protection, he did so in opposition to thirty or
forty years of Supreme Court decisions saying software is
not patentable. This was a major change to Open Source
software projects in that suddenly, Open Source licenses,
which only addressed Copyright, could suddenly be severely
impacted by Patents.

No one knew this was going to happen in 1984 when Stallman
drafted the GNU-GPL.

The only way for Open Source to protect itself would be
to allow for license upgrades. The alternative being
contacting every author and contributer of every GNU-GPL
work and getting their permission to relicense their work.

This does, however, raise an issue of trust.
Namely, you've got to trust the creator and chaperone
of the license itself to not upgrade to a "bad" license.
But I think that Stallman, Lessig, and the like deserve
some benefit of the doubt in this area.

I am a bit curious of how the licensing approval process
works in preventing a manchurian candidate sleeper from
messing up the works, but that worry belongs to the
creator and chaperone's of the license itself. My job
in all this is to create content.

More information about the cc-licenses mailing list