Re: EULA with GPL??
On Tuesday, December 17, 2002, at 02:01 AM, Terry Hancock wrote:
Does the GPL as written (Vers. 2) allow a distributor of a modified
to impose a *use* restriction on users? At first, I thought, "No
I see the other guy's point ...
Iff the law were to allow such restrictions, which AFAIK copyright law
does not, then maybe they could, but even then, there is a serious
problem with that stance, which you seem to almost realize below.
Section 0, says in part:
Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of
Correct --- because the GPL is a copyright license, and acts other than
copying, distributing, and modification are outside the scope of
6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the
Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the
original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to
these terms and conditions. You may not impose any further
restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein.
You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to
Note "granted herein" -- does that mean that the use right actually
guaranteed, so that a separate agreement could constrain use?
I suppose so, were it legally valid, but it could easily be gotten
around, in a way you suggest below.
It occured to me that in order to have a click-through EULA, this
hypothetical software would have to have it in the code, and I have to
the full sources, so I should be able to remove the EULA from the
recompile, and not have this "click through ceremony" happen. If I did
would the software then be free-and-clear?
Well, it's most likely free and clear even before you removed it. I
don't see any way to argue that it isn't after you removed it (or even
before you removed it, for that matter).
There are two _very_ serious problems with EULAs, especially on GPL
software, that I see:
1) You are being asked, in a contract, to give up various rights you
legally have. In exchange, you are being given.... well, nothing.
2) Even if, somehow, (1) were a valid contract --- hell, it might be
in the state I live in (the only one stupid enough to pass UCITA)
the license under the GPL comes from the original author, so I'm
not sure how anyone else could claim to have any standing to
impose restrictions on use of intellectual property *that is not
In light of (2) especially, I think they'd be in for a VERY serious
smackdown were the copyright holder to take them to court.
Or could they make me click through it to, say, download the software
first place? (And the EULA be viral too, so that I have agreed to
anyone else to do the same?).
If you think about how that virility would be accomplished, it'd be by
making you have anyone you give it to agree to said "license." That
would VERY clearly be an additional restriction on distribution, in
violation of GPL 6.
As for relevance to Debian, can one assume that the GPL absolutely
DFSG free? (As I'm pretty sure the DFSG *does* guarantee me this
No. Patents can get in your way. We have GPL software (e.g.,
gimp-nonfree, due to Unisys patents [expiring mid next year!] on LZW as
used in GIF) in non-free.
Has this guy found a loophole, or are we both just clueless about the
I'd vote for the latter, with the caveat that IANAL and you should
speak to one for legal advice.