Licensing myths (was Re: [linux-elitists] The breadth of SCO's claims)
Karsten M. Self
Fri Jul 4 16:25:05 PDT 2003
on Sat, Jun 28, 2003 at 12:50:23AM -0700, Rick Moen (email@example.com) wrote:
> I've had to be away for a few days, and am just now catching up on an
> avalanche of mail, but I have to comment, here:
> Quoting Aaron Sherman (firstname.lastname@example.org):
> > However, on the flip-side, licensing is just a contract.
> Nope. Most proprietary software sales are structured as contracts, for
> sundry business reasons. However, the BSD, GPL, LGPL, etc. licences
> operate not through contract law, but rather copyright law.
More specifically: a license is a grant of reserved rights. From
Black's Law Dictionary:
A revocable permission to comit some act that would otherwise be
unlawful. The certificate or document evidencing such permission.
A contract is:
An agreement between two or more parties creating obligations that
are enforceable or otherwise recognizable at law.
There are those who've argued that the GNU GPL is an _adhesion contract_
-- essentially a take-it-or-leave-it contract, similar to what you'd get
from a parking lot, a laundry, or a ferry service (in fact, case law
cites these three examples). Unsuprisingly, the key paper on this topic
is authored by a Microsoft lawyer, Robert W. Gomulkiewicz
A list of related references is maintained by the FSF:
Karsten M. Self <email@example.com> http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
There is no K5 Cabal: http://www.kuro5hin.org/
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