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On 5/19/05, Thomas Bushnell BSG <tb@becket.net> wrote:
> "Michael K. Edwards" <m.k.edwards@gmail.com> writes:
> > An action for copyright
> > infringement, or any similar proceeding under droit d'auteur for
> > instance, will look at the GPL (like any other license agreement) only
> > through the lens of contract law.  IANAL, TINLA.  I don't believe you
> > have succeeded in providing any evidence to the contrary.
> Um, it is true that the rules for interpreting the meaning of licenses
> are more or less the same as the rules for interpreting contracts.  It
> does not follow that licenses are therefore contracts.

The words "license" and "contract" are indeed not synonymous under
law.  But the law applicable to offers of contract containing grants
of license is contract law (or the equivalent codes in civil law

> > Contract law (or its equivalent in a civil law system) always applies
> > to offers of contract; that's kind of tautological.  And the GPL has
> > no legal significance as anything other than an offer of contract,
> > except perhaps as a public statement by the FSF and hence conceivably
> > as grounds for estoppel.
> Huh?  What about the license as just what it purports to be: a
> license?

You're a little bit late to the party.  Check the debian-legal
archives for debate and case law out the yin-yang.  There's no such
thing as a "copyright-based license".

> There is a thing you are not considering: it is a unilateral grant of
> conditional permission.  This is a perfectly well-traveled area of
> law.

Also part of contract law; and not applicable to the GPL, which does
not lack for acceptance or consideration.  Thread at
http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/12/msg00209.html .

- Michael
(IANAL, TINLA, etc.)

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