[cc-licenses] Founders as a module? was Re: Getting to Version 3.0

Terry Hancock hancock at anansispaceworks.com
Fri May 19 09:50:35 EDT 2006

Greg London wrote:
> > but the much simpler question: "what are the practical differences
> > between a non-copyleft free license* and the public domain?"
> > AFAIK, there isn't much difference, and this appears to be a common
> > opinion in the free software community (including some important
> > opinion leaders).
>  Er, well, I wouldn't say that. I think that folks made sure that the
>  definition for Free spanned from Public Domain to Copyleft [...]
>  As for *practical* differences, I'd say there are significant
>  differences. The main one being that a copyleft ...

******NON******-copyleft  --- how many asterisks do I need to make
you read this syllable?  ;-P

As it is, you're replying to a pretty-much unrelated question that
I already know the answer to (in fact, it's been talked to death).

My question, to reiterate, is 'What's the difference between a
"NON-copyleft free license" (e.g. MIT, BSD, CC-By) and "Public Domain"?'

I believe that important communities (such as the participants in
the debian-legal mailing list that reviews projects against the DFSG for
inclusion in the Debian distribution) believe them to be essentially
equivalent (except for the quibble over unintentional effects of the
CC-By's attribution requirement -- which this revision is supposed to
fix, BTW).  And absent any argument to the contrary, I agree with

Of course, I am intimately familiar with the tradeoffs involved in a
copyleft license, but I wasn't talking about that.

The reason why this matters at all, is that the legal mechanisms for
licensing under "CC-By" and "Consigning to the Public Domain" are
quite different and the "Founder's Copyright" was apparently conceived
as being closer to the latter.  I think it's a lot harder to guarantee
conversion to Public Domain (Some people think it's not legal to do so,
but assuming it is, you definitely have to own all rights to it), whereas
converting to a non-copyleft free license like CC-By is pretty trivial.

So I regard them as a very easy road and a very hard road that lead to
the same place.  'Is there any reason', I am asking, 'to take the harder


Terry Hancock (hancock at AnansiSpaceworks.com)
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com

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