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Re: Fwd: Chicken Dance License

Andrew Harris <tuna@supertunaman.com> writes:

> On Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 10:21 PM, Ben Finney <ben+debian@benfinney.id.au>wrote:
> > On 26-Mar-2011, Andrew Harris wrote:
> > > As for your suggestion of using a better-tested license, I do not
> > > feel that any other license carries the same message as CDL. WTFPL
> > > comes close, but offers nothing in the way of attributive
> > > protection. My ultimate goal is a recognized Free Software license
> > > that is copyleft, and satirical of copyleft itself.

I can't sympathise with the latter part of those goals. Satire is great,
but not in a copyright license.

A copyright license should be a clear legal instrument primarily; in the
world of programs, that is a strong force against creating new licenses.
So satire, while admirable in many areas, is a terrible goal for an
author of a copyright license.

A copyright license especially isn't the place to “send a message” or be
poetic or humorous or the like. (Yes, I include the GPL under this
criticism; fortunately, it is sufficiently well- and widely-examined
that it is a good choice anyway.)

Giving the reader a chuckle or a wry smile is a pretty poor tradeoff
compared to the high likelihood that there are undiscovered legal
problems in the new license, simply because it hasn't been applied to
thousands of known works and examined by millions of minds already.

So, my advice for license with the goals you state would be: please
don't try to inject satire into a copyright license, and choose the
GPLv3 for a well-understood copyleft free software license.

If you want “attributive protection” as you say, rather than copyleft,
choose the terms of the Expat license.

> After all obvious options considered, what is the difference between
> finding an obscure license that nobody knows about and writing a new
> one, besides my own familiarity with the license?

It may be obscure to you, but it increases the chance that it has been
examined previously. (And the outcome is usually “it has problems, and
probably more than we've found already”.)

> Ah, understood and noted. Thank you for your time, and good evening!

Good hunting, and please choose your license mindful of the recipients
who have to deal with the legal tangles.

 \         “If life deals you lemons, why not go kill someone with the |
  `\     lemons (maybe by shoving them down his throat).” —Jack Handey |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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