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Re: DFSG compatibility of the "Poetic License"

Maximilian Gaß <mxey@cloudconnected.org> writes:

> I recently discovered the Poetic License:

Which makes for interesting rhythm and a smile, but I very much doubt
its robustness as a legal instrument.

> This work ‘as-is’ we provide.

What is meant by this? Without explanation and clarification, it's
close to being a tautology.

> No warranty express or implied.

What happens where this conflicts with the very common situation where
there *is* an implied license required by the jurisdiction: does the
license still apply? Which parts apply?

> We’ve done our best,
> to debug and test.
> Liability for damages denied.

Again, what of the cases where such liability *cannot* be denied under
law? The license must make provision for that, or leave itself open to
being null in that case.

> Permission is granted hereby,

To whom, exactly? The terms need to specify and define parties.

What part does the recipient play? Passive voice may make the meter
easier to write, but it's needlessly difficult for working out what
the heck it means.

> to copy, share, and modify.

What about redistribution? Presumably that's meant to be included in
"share", but it's not clear.

What terms may the "shared" work be licensed under?

> Use as is fit,
> free or for profit.

The use of an unqualified action of "use" in a legal document about
software works is vague to the point of uselessness.

> These rights, on this notice, rely.

Is this meant to have some legal meaning? Or should we ignore it?

> <http://genaud.net/2005/10/poetic-license/>

What works do we know of licensed under these terms?

> I ponder using this license for my own stuff, but I'd like to hear
> some opinions from debian-legal before doing it.

Whatever its worth as a poem, as a legal instrument I can only think
it is vague waffle that is wantonly open to interpretation. That's a
fine property of poetry, but it's poisonous for a license.

License proliferation seems fun to the instigator, but it's an utter
pain for those trying to follow them and is to be avoided whenever

Please, please do not use these terms for any work. There are far more
robust, well-tested and scrutinised licenses that, after painstaking
scrutiny under diverse circumstances, are widely thought to result in
free works: please choose one of them.

 \      “I have a large seashell collection, which I keep scattered on |
  `\    the beaches all over the world. Maybe you've seen it.” —Steven |
_o__)                                                           Wright |
Ben Finney

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