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Re: freedomization task list [was: Re: Dangerous precedent being

Raul Miller <moth@debian.org> writes:

> Ok, what -- specifically -- is the distinction?

A contract is where I promise to do X and you promise to do Y.  The
basic rule is that we must simultaneously agree to the terms of the
contract, which must involve each of us getting something.  If one
party fails to follow through on their part, then the other party may
recover damages for breach of contract.  Damages are money.  Very
rarely, one may obtain "specific performance", which is where the
court orders a party to do what the contract said.  Usually, however,
the court will not do that, and the breacher simply writes out a check
for the damages.

A grant of permission is where I have control over a thing, usually
some kind of ownership right, and I tell you that you may use it.  I
may attach conditions to that use.  If you then use it, I have lost
the right to recover damages for trespass or theft, though I have the
right to take it back at any time.  

Now with copyright, my right to "take it back" functions very oddly,
because the copying terms essentially attach to the particular copy.
Once I give you permission to reproduce copy X as much as you like
(under some set of terms) then as long as you comply with the terms,
you can copy X and I can't "take it back".  What I have the right to
take back is your right to copy some other copy of the same thing,
copy Y.  So the GPL or other such public licenses can't really be


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