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Re: Draft Summary: MPL is not DFSG free

"Lex Spoon" <lex@cc.gatech.edu> writes:

> Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS <edmundo@rano.org> wrote:
>> With a contract that both parties have signed it's fairly easy to see
>> that both parties have agreed to the choice of venue; with a public
>> licence quite a lot of legal work has to be done in order to show that
>> the licence has anything to do with the case. So I wonder whether such
>> a clause in a public licence has any practical effect and if so, how.
> Guys, I am no lawyer, but I think debian-legal is misusing the terms
> "contract" and "license".  A license text is simply a proposed contract,

You are exceptionally confused.  A contract is a legal agreement, with
specific requirements -- typically agreement, compensation, and a few
less famous ones.

A license is a grant of permission.  Much like a title or deed, a
license may be exchanged as part of a contract -- I'll give you a
license to edit this message for a million bucks --- or it can just be

Almost all free licenses are not contracts.  I cannot think of any
Free license which *is* a contract, but there might, I suppose, be one
out there.  Given American law requires an exchange, I can't see how.

> and a license is what you obtain after you agree to follow a license
> text.  Yes, there is a big issue in deciding whether or not someone has
> accepted a license, but once that much is established, both parties are
> bound to the agreement precisely as under contract law.

Not true at all.  The GPL, for example, is not a valid contract.
Neither is the MIT/X11 license.

> Heck, you can mail RMS your signed agreement to follow GPL in your usage
> of gcc, if you want.  The presence of such a signature would not make
> GPL stop being a license nor start being a contract.

Indeed, they aren't contracts.  Agreement is no more necessary to them
than if I were to hand you a sandwich.

Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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