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"Michael K. Edwards" <m.k.edwards@gmail.com> writes:

> Sorry about that; I skipped a step or two.  Your "unilateral grant of
> permission" is not in fact a recognized mechanism under law for the
> conveyance of a non-exclusive copyright license.  

I'm sorry, can you point me to the statute here?  The US statute
simply prohibits copying without permission.  It says nothing about
how permission is granted.  Can you point me to a court case which
said "that grant of permission is not contractual, and therefore no
permission has been granted"?

We aren't concerned with a browsewrap or shrinkwrap license; all the
cases you point to are about that.  Those are about licenses which
attempt to take away rights that a person would have had if they had
never agreed to the license.  Since the GPL only gives you new rights,
never taking away any, it's not clear how objections to those kinds of
licenses would matter.

> There's also no question that the GPL is enforceable (and has been
> successfully enforced by Harald Welte in Deutschland) using a "breach
> of contract" theory against people who don't release source code to
> GPL works when they modify and distribute them.  But applying contract
> law standards of construction against the offeror, notice and cure of
> breach, grounds for preliminary injunction, and all that -- together
> with a correct reading of phrases like "derivative work under
> copyright law" and "mere aggregation" -- results in a GPL whose
> utility as a club against the Wicked Linker is greatly weakened and
> possibly (IANALIAJ) zero.  Which is, in my personal view, as it should
> be.

I see, so this is what you're claiming.  Since the proponents of the
unilateral-grant-of-permission theory completely agree that contract
law is the normal rule for the interpretation of such documents, there
isn't any debate there.  If you only reason for invoking contract law
is to say "the license must be interpreted in accord with the
standards of contract construction", there is already broad agreement
about that point.

> There's a world of difference between "we can't link Quagga against an
> OpenSSL-enabled NetSNMP because it's illegal; whoops, we already did
> so (and a thousand similar things), which means we have to beg the FSF
> to un-automatically-terminate all of our GPL rights" and "as a matter
> of courtesy to the FSF, we usually make a reasonable effort to obtain
> OpenSSL 'exemption riders' where their FAQ recommends them,
> irrespective of whether the assertions in their FAQ and related
> statements are legally valid".

Yes, and we can simply make neither statement, but ask for the rider,
make no statements to the FSF about whether our past actions were
right or wrong, and if the rider is not granted, stop distributing
(which we would do anyway).

So this is a tempest in a silly teapot.  I'm happy to leave the thread
here, since the upshot is a no-relevance-to-important-issues.


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