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Re: Legal status of software licences

On Mon, Aug 25, 2003 at 05:38:38PM +0300, Aigars Mahinovs wrote:
> Hello all
> I am reading a document by OSDL, namely:
> http://www.osdl.org/docs/osdl_eben_moglen_position_paper.pdf
> On the third page I read that copyright doesn't limit use of the
> product. That the only legal barier to usage of comercial software is
> the click trough licence agreement or contracts behind shrinkwrap.
> First, is this true?
> If it is then I can imagine such scenario:
> Hacker A opens the shrinkwrap, and hacks install to disable the licence
> agreement and the serial number
> Developer B download the resulting install from Donkey and burns a CD
> User C gets the CD as a present (or buys it) from B and installs the
> programm
> Is C doing anything illegal in this case?
> He has not opened the shrinkwrap (thus not agreed to the licence
> agreement on the box).
> He has not agreed to the licence at install time.
> He has not copied the software (thus not disturbing copyright law)
> He is simply using the software! :)
> Please tell me this isn't true!

Under UK law, C has done nothing wrong and is not at risk of criminal
or civil charges. However, the goods in question may be confiscated.

I believe that under US law, they may be liable under some parts of
the DMCA, if that applies. A judge would probably let them off though,
if they can give a convincing argument that they were unaware of the
actions of A and B.

Other jurisdictions will vary.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ |
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