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Re: Contracts and licenses

On Tue, 2004-06-29 at 16:28, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> Humberto Massa <humberto.massa@almg.gov.br> writes:
> > Anyway, it depends on your jurisdiction. Here in Brasil, *every*
> > software license is a contract, and is ruled, aside from the
> > dispositions in Copyright Law (9.610/98) and Computer Programs Law
> > (9.609/98), to Contract Law and the Civil Code.
> So something as simple as the MIT/X11 license -- "I grant to you a
> license to make derivative works of this work, and to trade in them
> and it without restriction" is a contract?  Gosh.

(The following is with regard to German law, which for this question
seems to be based on similar principles as Brasilian law.)

It becomes a contract if I display my implied acceptance to it by
executing the granted rights.

> How can I enforce it against you?

You can't enforce it, as there's nothing to enforce for you (no
consideration). The recipient could enforce the license against you,
however (although I fail to think of an example for that now)

However, "enforceability" is not the only legal consequence of such
contracts. All contracts create some form of implied warranty. In the
case of contracts without consideration (Schenkungsvertrag) the implied
warranty is reduced to culpable negligence (Grobe Fahrlässigeit).

So if someone gives me a work under an MIT/X11 license, which somehow
causatively destroys my computer AND there is culpable negligence on the
giver's part then I might be eligible for compensation of damages.


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