From Corel on the EULA
The following is a note from our legal department on the discussion of
the "minor" clause in the Corel Linux EULA. I hope it clarifies why the
EULA is the way it is and why we believe it actually has positive value
for free software developers.
Product Development Manager
Last week a number of posting appeared on Slashdot.org and other message
boards questioning the legality of a clause that appears in the end
user license agreement for Corel LINUX (?EULA?). The clause in question
reads as follows:
?BY CLICKING ?ACCEPT? BELOW:
1. YOU CERTIFY THAT YOU ARE NOT A MINOR AND THAT YOU ACCEPT TO BE BOUND
BY ALL OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS SET OUT IN THE LICENSE BELOW.
DOWNLOADING AND/OR USING THE PRODUCT WILL BE AN IRREVOCABLE ACCEPTANCE
OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE LICENSE.?
The cause for the concern has been the phrase ?YOU CERTIFY THAT YOU ARE
NOT A MINOR?. Some commentators have argued that such a requirement is
in violation of the GNU General Public License (hereafter referred to as
?GPL?). The following is an explanation of the clause and why it has
been included in the EULA.
What is the purpose of the ?Minor? clause?
An end user license agreement is an agreement, or contract, between the
licensor and users of the software. Typically this type of contract
will include a description of the licenses granted to the end user, any
obligations or restrictions that the licensor might wish to impose upon
the use of the software, and a disclaimer of warranties regarding the
performance of the software.
In order to be effective, however, the contract must be binding upon the
persons who enter into it. In some jurisdictions, contracts entered into
by minors are deemed by law to be not binding upon them or to be
voidable at the option of the minor. As a result, if a licensor of
software attempts to enter into a contract with a minor regarding the
use of software it runs the risk that the terms of the end user license
agreement may not be enforceable.
The purpose of the ?minor? clause, therefore, is to ensure that the
license agreement that is entered into between the licensors of the
software (ie. the many contributors of code) and the users of the
software is a valid and binding one. This is beneficial to all
contributors of open source code in that it helps ensure that
provisions in the GPL which limit each contributors liability, as well
as the obligations placed on end users regarding the use and
distribution of the software, are effective.
Is the ?Minor? clause a violation of the GPL?
Some commentators have suggested that by requiring persons to certify
that they are not a minor, or to have a parent or legal guardian agree
to the terms to the GPL on their behalf, Corel has changed the terms of
the GPL. This is not the case.
The GPL does not require distributors of GPL software to make copies of
the software available to all persons. Rather, it requires that all
persons to whom copies of GPL software are distributed be granted the
right to copy, distribute and/or modify the software. As a result, a
distributor of GPL software can restrict the availability of its
distribution to, among other things, persons in a particular territory,
persons who have paid a fee or persons who are above a certain age;
provided that all persons to whom copies of the software are distributed
are not restricted from making, distributing and/or modifying copies of
the GPL software.
The Corel EULA expressly states that the use of GPL software included in
Corel LINUX is governed by the terms of the GPL. As a result, every
person to whom Corel distributes a copy of GPL software is entitled to
copy, distribute and/or modify such software in accordance with the
terms of the GPL.
Does Corel not want minors to use its software?
It is not Corel?s intention to prevent minors from using Corel LINUX.
Corel recognizes that some of the keenest users of Linux are individuals
who fall within this category and hopes that Corel LINUX is used by
persons of all age. Corel simply wants to ensure that if a minor wishes
to use the software, his or her parent or legal guardian accepts the
way to ensure that the disclaimer of warranties made by contributors of
the GPL software is effective and to ensure that users of GPL software
continue to make their improvements to GPL software available for use by
We trust that this explanation adequately addresses the concerns voiced
by many of you and thank those who have brought their concerns to our
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