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Re: The QPL licence

Sean Kellogg wrote:

> Again, I must profess my limit knowledge here...  but by including a
> choice of law and choice of venue clause I begin to wonder if this
> licenses starts to
> look and smell an awful lot like a contract.  While I generally agree with
> your statement, it seems awful fishy in this instance.  The author is
> saying "you can use my software but you must agree to these terms" and the
> user is
> saying "I agree."  Basic offer and acceptance...  and while I know that
> things are different with licenses, I wonder how far you can push the
> terms before you engage in contract like behavior.

Quite right.  To veer off the subject a little, we don't like licenses which
engage in too much contract-like behavior, because they're usually
non-free.  In particular, any license which requires that you agree to it
in order to *use* it -- since use is not normally restricted by copyright
law -- is trying to be a contract, and is also non-free.

If the license only gives you permission to do things you would otherwise be
strictly prohibited from doing, and doesn't take away any rights you'd have
if you didn't agree to it, then it's a pure license.

If it starts to take away rights if you agree to it, then it starts being
contract-like -- but it also starts smelling non-free.

So I think that's why Brian said that a *free* software license is not a
contract.  If it starts smelling like a contract, it also starts smelling

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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