Fedora giving up on Creative Common’ ‘No Rights Reserved’ software due to patent issue

The Fedora Project is an independent project developed in coordination with Fedora Linux, announced that it will not permit Creative Commons ‘No Rights Reserved’ or CCo-licensed code in its Linux distro or the Fedora Registry.

The company said that they have taken this decision against Creative Commons’ CCo-licensed open source software as it could pose a threat to maintaining cybersecurity.

According to Senior Commercial Counsel Richard Fontana at Red Hat, “CC0 has been listed by Fedora as a ‘good’ license for code and content (corresponding to allowed and allowed-content under the new system). We plan to classify CC0 as allowed content only, so that CC0 would no longer be allowed for code…This is a fairly unusual change and may have an impact on a nontrivial number of Fedora packages (that is not clear to me right now), and we may grant a carveout for existing packages that include CC0-covered code.”

Creative Commons is an American non-profit international network developed for educators to expand the range of creative works. Educators or content creators can build up or share content without copyrights to their content, it has no bearing on the patent or trademark rights that the creators continue to retain. Officials of the Fedora Project underlined CC’s trademark issue as the actual problem by saying, “No trademark or patent rights held by Affirmer are waived, abandoned, surrendered, licensed or otherwise affected by this document.”

The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC)’s policy fellow Bradley M. Kuhn said in a statement, “Patents (that apply) to software are a constant threat to the rights of users and redistributors of FOSS — particularly those that deploy FOSS commercially. That’s why SFC opposes the patenting of software entirely.” As corporations including patents to consumables and distribution of free open source software can become problematic in the future.

Experts suggest that software developers should aim toward creating a transparent license like GPL or copyleft-next as opposed to CCo where patent rights are not waived. Other experts like an artist and hacker Rhea Myers explains how big tech companies like IBM and Red Hat which support supports subsidiary of Fedora will refrain from having to face any copyrights or patent issue in the future. In that case, Fedora supporting CCo can become a huge problem for these corporations.