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Re: The Helixcommunity RPSL is not DFSG-free

John Goerzen <jgoerzen@complete.org> writes:

> On Sun, Mar 02, 2003 at 12:04:12AM -0500, Russell Nelson wrote:
> > Do you think the RPSL fails the "in contact" test?  Certainly the
> > Bitkeeper license does.  But more to the point, the law does not
> > expect the impossible of you.  If you have made every effort to comply
> > with the terms of a license, and anyone can see that it is impossible
> > for you to do so, a judge isn't going to hold you to that term.  The
> > common law has a lot of common sense in it -- much more so than the
> > legislated law, which has the DMCA &etc.
> Can you positively assert that this is the case in every country, not just
> the US or Britain?

It's not even true in the US.  Suppose for example that the license
says "you can copy this if you pay me $100."  (Not a free software
license, obviously.)  If you try your very best to gather up $100, but
just can't manage, the law does not somehow let you off the hook and
say you can go ahead and copy notwithstanding the provision of the

In general, contract law, nor license interpretation, which basically
proceeds along the same lines, does not accept "tried really hard" as
satisfying the terms of the contract.  


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