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Re: OpenSSL and GPLed programs

This is not legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is established. etc etc

From: tb@becket.net (Thomas Bushnell, BSG)
To: "Chloe Hoffman" <chloehoffman@hotmail.com>
CC: debian-legal@lists.debian.org
Subject: Re: OpenSSL and GPLed programs
Date: 21 Jun 2001 09:48:34 -0700

"Chloe Hoffman" <chloehoffman@hotmail.com> writes:

> An additional basis for the clause is to turn a default rule into a
> breach of contract/license issue, which can have different thresholds
> of proof, elements of breach, etc. than relying on copyright
> infringement.

Though it's a public license, so contract issues are entirely moot,
and only boil down to copyright infringement int he first place.

I don't see how "contract issues are entirely moot". Certainly at least the terms of the license must be interpreted to determine if they are complied with. AFAIK copyright law does not deal with such issues. Rather contract law has a long established tradition for interpreting and defining unilateral "contracts". I would be interested to see cites otherwise. I am talking U.S. law here but would be interested in laws of other countries as well.

Also, I am not convinced that most "open source" licenses are not contracts. My view is that a good argument can be made that that a licensee, in consideration for receiving the right to modify, distribute, etc the code and in consideration for foregoing the right to sue the licensor (limitation of liability) accepts the license contract by modifying, distributing, etc. the code. Indeed if it were otherwise, the limitation of liability would have no effect because the public license model you propose is unilateral.

It's almost like you know a little law, but not enough to actually
help in these conversations.

Well I think I know a little bit of law as an attorney. I hoped I was providing useful information. I'd be happy to go away if you prefer.
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