Licensing policy change proposal

Ken Vermette vermette at
Mon Jan 28 23:00:42 GMT 2019

As an author and contributor I'm giving my thumbs-down on CC0 and
friends. The main crux I have is that, already, many of us have
artwork (including wallpapers, glyphs, icons, designs, and many other
visual assets) which are used unaccredited with extreme regularity.
Legally speaking, I need to go after every website I find using the
artwork and heckle them to post the appropriate license/attributions.
In practice if a company is abusing our visual work in some way (such
as claiming ownership, authorship, or excessive rights) I need to be
able to claim that the appropriate license was posted for the work,
and that I have enforced said license. I have also seen instances
where we have distributed assets without any license information at
all. In these cases, I at least have our license policy to fall back
on should a license abuser come to light.

The danger in accepting CC0 is that, if the KDE community were to
start publicly validating non-accrediting public domain licenses, then
it throws into someone like me *not* actively heckling people to
properly post licenses into a legal problem. If someone were to ever
abuse our work, it essentially removes my ability to claim that it is
not our policy to publish public domain work. I can claim I don't do a
great job at enforcement, but in tandem with that a license abuser
could claim that KDE community distributes public domain artwork, that
licenses haven't been enforced, and that there was reason to believe
the work may have been published in a public domain.

To add fuel to the fire, when we distribute assets, sometimes we get
the license wrong. If ever we maintained a body of work and a license
like the CC0 was mistakenly attached to it, it would be a very bad
situation for every author involved. It gets worse here because we're
talking about using public-domain licenses specifically to make
bundling several works of disparate authors together; everyone would
need to be vary careful about appropriately licensing every. single.
image.  in such a bundle. At least with what we have now, the licenses
aren't so dissimilar that significant problems could arise because of

TLDR; Authors who don't enforce license compliance with a heavy-hand
are put at a higher risk of losing rights when public-domain licenses
add potential confusion to what our work may be represented as. It
could, very easily, become ammunition against authors and artists to
be used by license abusers.

On Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 10:43 AM Krešimir Čohar <kcohar at> wrote:
> I think they're one and the same. All intellectual property the rights to which have been waived = CC0 = public domain. There are a few European exceptions to copyright expiration, such as that I don't think concern CC0.
> On Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 3:51 PM Cornelius Schumacher <schumacher at> wrote:
>> On Sonntag, 27. Januar 2019 21:14:10 CET Mirko Boehm wrote:
>> >
>> > I need to point out that CC0 licenses are problematic in many jurisdictions,
>> > as there is no simple way to dedicate a work to the public domain. The
>> > correct way in for example France or Germany would be to use a permissive
>> > FOSS license. Let us avoid the mine field of public domain.
>> Isn't the CC0 license the attempt to solve the issues of the term "public
>> domain" across jurisdictions and provide a license which works as what people
>> expect from public domain?
>> What are the issues of public domain that CC0 doesn't solve?
>> --
>> Cornelius Schumacher <schumacher at>

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