Re: Is an UNCOPYRIGHTABLE License (or keyword) needed? #poll

Steve Winslow

Hello all, there has been a related thread going on in the spdx-legal list: see

As mentioned in that thread, I would note the Legal Team's comments on this from April 2013 at


On Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 11:33 AM <michael.kaelbling@...> wrote:

A new poll has been created:

The U.S. Copyright Office considers some works uncopyrightable "because they contain an insufficient amount of authorship", e.g. "words and short phrases ... titles ... names", "mere listing of ... contents, or a simple set of directions...", and  blank forms  ( 

SPDX-License-Identifier: NONE and SPDX-CopyrightText: NONE state that there is no license or copyright statement, but do not say that none is needed or possible.

SPDX-License-Identifer: NOASSERTION and SPDX-CopyrightText: NOASSERTION is similarly inappropriate.

A scan will produce false-positives if it has no way to distinguish the case of uncopyrightable material.  This issue came up because my group has empty files (placeholders) and blank forms (templates) in OSS.  Since we require a clean scan on each build, we have to maintain a workaround to eliminate the false positives.
My apologies if you find this poll inappropriate: I thought I had submitted this concern weeks ago as a message, but I am now unable to find it -- nor have I got any response. Therefore I am taking this route to get my question addressed.

1. Yes - an UNCOPYRIGHTABLE License is needed
2. Yes - an UNCOPYRIGHTABLE keyword is needed
3. No
4. No - simply claim an unenforceable copyright and license

Vote Now

Steve Winslow
Director of Strategic Programs
The Linux Foundation

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