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    This is a very nice article, going into much of the details at the right places, with a fun oddity:

    (in fact, for some time I used the WTFPL on my code, which is about as permissive as you can get)

    It actually isn’t.

    The problem is that the WTFPL might not be respected in jurisdictions where there is no concept of public domain. (Such as… most of Europe) This is why CC0 has quite a bit of legalese to grant all users full rights instead in those cases. Clearly, this hasn’t been tested in court, as people using the WTFPL will probably not sue anyone for doing whatever the F they want. Still, it tends to become an issue at companies where licenses are taken seriously and license compliance is checked. Which the whole article is kind of about :).

    This mainly points to many issues on how copyright is a mess, and how it isn’t a uniform matter, but that’s the current state of affairs. It also shows how copyright is definitely not made for people not wanting to learn about copyright :).

    I see the WTFPL as a useful commentary - it makes it intent very clear. Indeed, the author confirms it as parody: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTFPL#Discussion. I have gotten into the habit of just slapping CC0 on all my public stuff I really don’t care about. While WTFPL probably makes intent clearer, CC0 makes it happen.

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      The problem is that the WTFPL might not be respected in jurisdictions where there is no concept of public domain.

      I fail to see why public domain is relevant. The WTFPL doesn’t posit to place the code in public domain. It merely gives people the conditions for copying, modification, and distribution. That has nothing to do with the concept of public domain.

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        Yeah, in fact, the WTFPLv2 was created explicitly because Sam Hocevar is in France and there’s no public domain there.

        Even the FSF agrees the WTFPL is a free license. The problems with it are more about judges thinking that it’s a joke because of the language, not because of anything to do with public domain.

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        In fact, if you care about being sued for copyright violation (which the entire point of the article is to argue that you should), WTFPL is indistinguishable from “all rights reserved” because it could easily be argued to be a joke and not confer any rights at all, or that any given right isn’t included in “what the fuck you want” due to ambiguous wording, and thus the copyright holder has standing to sue.

        Like it or not, licenses are Serious Business, because they can have consequences up to and including massive fines and jail time. Don’t fuck around with them. Pick one of the big three (BSD, GPL or all rights reserved) that has even the slightest amount of legal precedent behind its interpretation.

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          What’s your opinion on BSD Zero Clause? I think it’s more in line with current trend of just slapping MIT on projects and it’s simpler. I use it for few of my projects.

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            I wasn’t aware of BSD0 before. Thanks!

            IANAL, but as far as I read it, it’s mostly boils down to the first clause of CC0 without much of the explanation around. Specifically, it grants a right to use instead of just releasing to public domain. I’d prefer if it also explicitly allowed dropping mention of the author.

            CC0 is the only artistic license recommended for software and this also points to a different problem: CC-licenses are not written for software, CC0 is only incidentally fitting. This also means that CC0 covers quite a few things that might not at all be applicable to your work, e.g. EU database rights. Although I can see cases where database rights might be an issue (for example, if your software includes a fact database). But this is more that “software” is such a fuzzy term then anything else.

            So, my opinion: I think it makes sense to have a tighter, more focused license for software for this usecase. It communicates better and thus makes it easier to raise awareness of the option. Shorter, more focused licenses are also better to digest and to grasp for the general user. I think people should read licenses, but we should also be conscious to make sure they can understand the license (the GPL and CC non-commercial are very notorious for not quite fitting what their user wanted, for example). So, long story short: I like it.

            I’m a little annoyed by the explanation text here that mostly goes flinging accusations and rants around first instead of giving a short and sharp explanation of the usefulness of a license. For example, it calls the whole “public domain”-problem “FUD”.

            Please check with a lawyer on the details if you really want to use it in a license-conscious environment, but I’d definitely see good chances of getting it approved.