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Re: outside USA

This is not legal advice, no attorney-client relationship is established, etc. etc.

From: tb@MIT.EDU (Thomas Bushnell, BSG)
To: giulio <g.mazzolini@tiscalinet.it>
CC: debian-legal <debian-legal@lists.debian.org>
Subject: Re: outside USA
Date: 11 Jun 2000 20:14:03 -0400

giulio <g.mazzolini@tiscalinet.it> writes:

>  Since my works could go every where in the world, in any country
> speaking any language, is the English GPL text of any validity outside
> non English speaking countries?

I believe the answer is "yes".

This may be correct...or may not. AFAIK the GPL has no law of the contract clause so, depending on the factual situation, almost any law could apply and who knows whether there is a jurisdiction out there that has a law that voids a contract for not being in the language of that jurisdiction.

For example, the province of Quebec in Canada has the following in their "Charter of the French Language" law:

55. Contracts pre-determined by one party, contracts containing printed standard clauses, and the related documents, must be drawn up in French. They may be drawn up in another language as well at the express wish of the parties.

I think the Charter only provides "penal" sanctions. I am not sure if a contract would be voided.

You should not translate the GPL except in close cooperating with the
FSF's attorneys.  The problem is that the following diagrame does not

American legal document		->	Italian legal document

         |					|
         v					v

Legal goals in context of		Legal goals in context of
American law			->      Italian law

So translating is not just a matter of translating the sentencs one by
one; it must be done by an expert in Italian and American law too.

You can go ahead and use the English text; if you want an Italian
text, talk to the FSF.

Just to be sure.... just because a contract is in the Italian language does not mean Italian law applies. Absent an express law of the contract clause (which can be overriden by courts sometimes on public policy grounds), the law of the contract depends on numerous factors including location of the parties, where performance is done, etc. So, even though a contract may be drawn up in the Italian language (or any language for that matter), a law other than the law of Italy could apply. Indeed, American law could apply to a contract written in Italian (even absent a law of the contract clause).

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