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Re: ITP: squeak-vm, squeak-image, squeak-sources -- A highly portable Smaltalk system

On 06/01/2001 01:57:54 PM wouter wrote:

>> On Fri, 1 Jun 2001, Peter S Galbraith wrote:
>> > > > Btw, this license is unacceptable for at least one point: "here
>> > > > Licensee is located in the province of Quebec, Canada, the
>> > > > clause applies: The parties hereto confirm that they have
>> > > > that this Agreement and all related documents be drafted in
>> > > > Les parties ont exigé que le présent contrat et tous les
>> > > > documents connexes soient redigés en anglais."
>> > > >
>> > > > In Québec, there happens to be a law which permit Quebecers to
>> > > > require an official document to be in French.

Merely Official Govt Documents and Laws, or literally any private contract
between individuals?
I would be surprised if the Canadian's regulated the language of private
communications between private individuals.
Not trying to flame, just curious, asking for clarification.

>> > > It's completely unacceptable that anyone requires you to talk a
>> > > language to be able to do something.
>> >
>> > What does this license have to do with that?  They are simply
>> > saying they are not translating it.
>> Then why say that?
>> To me, this looks like "If you speak French, I don't deal with you".
>> Just don't mention you speak French; that's a lot easier...

To me, this looks like "This agreement is written in English and will be
discussed in English".  Nothing wrong with that.

I've seen this kind of language in contracts so that people can't play
"definition games" like this:

"Yes, Mr. IRS agent, that is true that my income on my tax return is not
the same number as on my W-2 form.  Thats because I used hexadecimal
notation on my tax return and decimal on my W-2 form, because there is no
"language" specified for that form".


"Yes, Mr Customer, this contract says you have been sold this car, but in
the tribal language of democratic Elbonia, where the official legal
language is DoubleSpeak, those words actually mean you are actually selling
your children into slavery, and we prefer the Elbonian translation, thank
you, now hand the kids over..."

1) The reason for the "Agreement" is so that the writer has some legal
protection despite not providing a french translation, after all, the
reader/user "agreed" that was OK as part of the license...

2) Also, legally bindable translations typically require a very expensive
bilingual lawyer.  If you thought a lawyer with one language was expensive,
wait till you are billed by a bilingual lawyer that is 100% fluent in both
languages.  The author of this license is trying to be cheap and only pay
for the "English" copy and not both languages.  If you want, send him a
check for several hundred dollars and ask him to hire a bilingual lawyer
and write a legally binding translation to include.  Of course, bilingual
lawyers may be a bit more common and cheaper in a bilingual area like
Quebec.  In fact they may be more common than the "uni-lingual" lawyers.
None the less, it takes a heck of a lot longer to write anything in
multiple languages at the same time than just in one due to differing
inherent differences in the language.

3) Finally, if this language issue is the only complaint, just cool it.
What if some idiot, trying to help, wrote a very bad "translation" of the
GPL in Elbonian, and it mistranslated "..your code is free.." into "..all
your (code) base belong to us, for great justice..."  Now which license
legally applies?  It's not the original English version because obviously
different countries have different legal limitations and rights, thus
difference licenses for different countries.  An Elbonian court could
pretty much choose to enforce a reinterpretation of the foreign English
version or the bad translation of the english version or the native
Elbonian version of the license, plus or minus the usual bribes, etc.  It's
hard enough for the judicial system to "interpret" contracts, good luck
getting any real justice if it's got to "interpret an interpretation" of a

4) It's kind of like upstream saying "I only speak english, so I'll only
allow english language patches, because I don't know what foul language you
are trying to include in the source that's commented in Klingon or
Elbonian".  It's intended as a self protection clause, not as an external
limitation clause.

5) The old legal concept that plantiffs play by the defendant's rules.  If
you want to sue me, fine.  But you (more or less) have to travel to
Wisconsin to do so, you can't realistically sue me in Elbonia.  If you want
to legally fight this guy, fine, but if you pick a fight with him, you have
to fight him in English.  Sometimes there are violations of this concept.
Those violations are immoral and unethical, in my opinion.  The fact that
it happens doesn't make it right.

I don't interpret this as a violation of the DFSG by intent or by action.
I interpret this is an acceptable license clause that meets the
specifications and intentions of the DFSG, following long legal traditions.
The risk of providing a translation such as screwing it up, or costing too
much, outweigh any advantage.

I am not a lawyer, but some people on debian-legal@lists.debian.org
probably are.

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