- Fedora will no longer incorporate software licensed under CC0, the Creative Commons ‘No Rights Reserved’ license.
- The new plan is to have CC0 as allowed-content only. The decision will affect some important Fedora packages.
- Fedora adds that it may support the rights of existing packages that include the CC0-covered code. But that has not yet been decided.
Fedora is one of the most popular Linux distributions for both workstation and server users. The project team behind Fedora has revealed its plan to abandon the CC0-licensed software code aka ‘No Rights Reserved’ to be distributed on the Fedora Linux distribution. The new plan is to have CC0 as allowed-content only. The decision will affect some important Fedora packages.
Aiming to prevent future legal issues
Richard Fontana, senior Commercial Counsel at Red Hat, unveiled the news through a mailing list. He admits that this decision will be a fairly unusual change, and some very important Fedora packages will be impacted. Fedora is sponsored mainly by Red Hat with additional support and sponsors from other companies and organizations. The community also has a very huge role in the growth and development of the popular Linux distribution.
With this change, the Fedora team intends to prevent any future legal patent issues related to its software under the CC0 license. Creative Commons CC0 license grants software developers to waive copyright to their work. However, it has no solid ground on the patent or trademark rights that the creators can continue to maintain formality. For instance, if a CC0-licensed code is used in a project, the developer may claim that it infringes a patent they own regarding that code in the future. In such cases, the defense will be limited. On the mailing list, Fontana wrote;
« The reason for the change: Over a long period of time a consensus has been building in FOSS that licenses that preclude any form of patent licensing or patent forbearance cannot be considered FOSS. CC0 has a clause that says: “No trademark or patent rights held by Affirmer are waived, abandoned, surrendered, licensed or otherwise affected by this document.” (The trademark side of that clause is nonproblematic from a FOSS licensing norms standpoint.) The regular Creative Commons licenses have similar clauses. »
CC0 has been listed by Fedora as a « good » license for code and content. The Fedora team will change the classification of CC0 as allowed-content only. The new plan will impact a nontrivial number of Fedora packages that are not clear yet. Fedora team adds that it may support the rights of existing packages that include the CC0-covered code. But that has not yet been decided.