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Re: Contractual requirements [was: request-tracker3: license shadiness]

On Fri, Jun 11, 2004 at 11:57:38PM +1000, Matthew Palmer wrote:
> This comment has just clarified something that's been rattling around
> half-formed in my head for a little while now, regarding Free licences.  I
> don't know if it's been raised before, but I think it bears discussion:
> "A licence cannot be Free if it disallows actions which, in the absence of
> acceptance of the licence, would be allowed by Copyright law, or imposes
> restrictions not present by Copyright law".
> To put it another way (and closer to Brian's wording), if the licence isn't
> simply a grant of permission but requires things of me which I would
> otherwise be allowed to do, it can't be free.

As far as I (and d-legal, I believe) understand it, to disallow these
things, you need to form a contract (an EULA).  Most restrictions which
require this are non-free.

I wouldn't quite go so far as to generalize it to "all"; it's probably better
to look at the restrictions on their own merits, which will usually also show
them to be non-free (and in a more direct way than "this probably isn't
enforcable under copyright law alone").  Attempting to go being copyright law
is a good hint that something may be wrong, though.

Glenn Maynard

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