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EULAs and "manifestations of assent" [was: EULAs and the DFSG]



On Wed, Dec 04, 2002 at 05:34:09PM +0000, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> Sure. "EULA" is marketdrone speak for "a license permitting actions
> involving a copyrighted work".

I disagree.  I think "EULA" is marketdrone speak for "a device to impose
provisions of civil contract upon a work that is also copyrighted".

Larry Rosen of OSI recently wrote an editorial coming out very strongly
in favor of entangling FS and OSS licenses with stuff not germane to
copyright law, and specifically with contract law provisions.  I think
that strategy is unsound because:

1) the copyright picture is already messy enough with patent, trade
secret, trademark, crypto regulation, and paracopyright ("DRM") issues
muddying the waters

2) contract law is even less "harmonized" worldwide than copyright law
is, and this imposes very real and practical costs on the Debian
Project.  See the thread elsewhere on this list about the EU, theories
of copyright, and the "Database Directive".

[1] I can't find a link for it but here's an email by him discussing it:
http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.licenses.open-source.general/584

I think EULAs and "manifestations of assent" and all that is a bunch of
nonsense.  It may be that Larry Rosen and OSI has adopted this position
as a platform from which to launch their "OSL", and get some developer
mindshare away from the GNU GPL.

Software that is freely licensed and released to the public no more
needs a use license than a paperback novel does.  Look inside the front
cover of a paperback novel; you'll find no use license.

In my opinion, the DFSG should not be interpreted in a way that
legitimizes any restrictions on use, and this is what the FSF's "freedom
zero" and DFSG 6 is about.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |     There's nothing an agnostic can't
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     do if he doesn't know whether he
branden@debian.org                 |     believes in it or not.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |     -- Graham Chapman

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