[OpenFontLibrary] Expat License
Liam R E Quin
liam at holoweb.net
Sun Nov 16 11:57:19 PST 2008
On Sun, 2008-11-16 at 15:06 +0100, Nicolas Spalinger wrote:
[Dave Crossland wrote:]
> > "Public Domain" is recognised in every day language.
> In which language, in which jurisdiction? To mean what exactly?
To put this another way (and I have very limited exposure to
international copyright law and to Conflict of Laws, for example,
and no formal legal training), saying Public Domain is a recognised
term everywhere is a bit like saying every programming language
has a "string" data type. That's fine for a non-programmer (even
if not strictly true) but, 7-bit or 8-bit or 16-bit or 32-bit
characters, is NUL allowed, fixed length or variable, bounds
checking, etc etc., programmers immediately have lots of
questions, and don't see FORTRAN 7-bit fixed-length strings
as the same as Java 16-bit variable-length strings, for example.
The people I've spoken with (although not about fonts) have considered
"public domain" to be so different just between Canada and the US that
they've said Canada doesn't have public domain, it has something
entirely different, even though to you and I it's pretty darn similar.
Since most people don't understand the differences between "copyrighted
and zero dollars" and "rights waived" and "public domain", at the
very least a clear explanation should be used (I can try to help
draft one, but copyright layers from at least the UK, US, Canada,
France, and at least one of Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy,
would be needed to have any clear certainty. Heck we can't even
be sure between us what typeface protection there is in the UK,
and the laws are online in (legal) English! :-)
But even an incomplete statement may help.
I'd really, really prefer to see OFL used. And of course, you
could take any font published in the US as "public domain" and
re-issue it ass OFL, with or without the consent of the designer,
at least as long as you can clearly demonstrate (1) that it was
published under such terms, and (2) that it is not itself a
derivative work... (sort of what was done with pdtar to make
gnu tar, stripping off the author's name and republishing under
a new license, although of course he never again released source
for anything he wrote).
> The problems with PD are all
> > theoretical problems that have not yet effected anyone, as far as I
> > know.
They are not theoretical, they are real.
> > I have one suggestion: We could use the "Do What The Fuck You Want To
> > Public License" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTFPL
This would not work in Canada, and I think also not in the UK (unless
the GPL also works there today; it used not to, unless you paid actual
money for the software, so that contract law could be invoked).
You're welcome to use my barefoot license, people have to go without
footwear for a day within a week of first using the font :-)
Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/
Ankh: irc.sorcery.net irc.gnome.org www.advogato.org
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