Re: Dangerous precedent being set - possible serious violation of the GPL
Lynn Winebarger writes:
> You'll note I said "title to the copy", not "title to the copyright".
> I am referring to:
> ATTENTION:THIS IS A LICENSE, NOT A SALE. THIS PRODUCT IS PROVIDED UNDER
> THE FOLLOWING AGREEMENT WHICH DEFINES WHAT YOU (HEREAFTER REFERRED
> TO AS "YOU" OR "YOUR") MAY DO WITH THE PRODUCT AND CONTAINS LIMITATIONS
> ON WARRANTIES AND/OR REMEDIES.
> You know, the typical EULA claptrap that attempts to circumvent the
> first sale doctrine and subsequent fair use. There's no reason to make
> this pretense with the free software portion of the distribution.
> The way I see it (and IANAL), the GPL (and other free software
> licenses) are copyright licenses that accompany copies of software. If I
> never receive actual ownership of the copy, it's not clear that I would
> receive the accompanying license, or that the license would require my
> receipt of it. In the case of the GPL, I don't think this would be a
> problem (since public distribution has occured even without transfer of
> ownership - I _think_). Nonetheless, I'd rather not anyone view this as a
> potential way to circumvent free licenses, if it is, in fact, not.
This is why the GPL, at least, says
4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program
except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt
otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is
void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.
However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under
this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such
parties remain in full compliance.
In other words, "they can't add new restrictions, and, if they do, it
doesn't count". (Cf. GPL section 6.) This is one reason that I am skeptical
that the Corel Linux EULA is actually harmful, at least in regard to GPLed
programs: with the possible exception of the export restrictions clause
(depending on the legal meaning of "responsibility" in that context), I don't
see where the EULA actually attempts to restrict the exercise of any rights
under the GPL.
(If it did, then, according to the GPL, it would be "void", a copyright
infringement, and irrelevant. Whether that provision of the GPL is actually
enforceable is anybody's guess -- preferably a lawyer's.)
Some other free software licenses do not contain this restriction; the MIT
license explicitly permits sublicensing.
I don't know or even have a guess about the situation of public licenses
which don't make any statement about sublicensing or the incidental
imposition of additional restrictions by some other means. (For instance,
the GPL has been interpreted as forbidding binding NDAs that cover GPLed
software; I don't see that other licenses even attempt to do that.)
Seth David Schoen <firstname.lastname@example.org> | And do not say, I will study when I
Temp. http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/ | have leisure; for perhaps you will
down: http://www.loyalty.org/ (CAF) | not have leisure. -- Pirke Avot 2:5