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Re: Contracts and licenses

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.  

Yes. It's a contract in most civil law countries actually. That's
because in civil law, the contract is the most elementary of
legal constructs. A favorite exercise is to ask first-year students
to count the number of contracts they enter into when they buy
a leaf of bread.

> How can I enforce
> it against you?

Since the contract does not give me obligations, you cannot
enforce anything. But I can enforce it against you if you
later say I am not licensed. 

Suppose I say to you "I want to give you this watch." You say
that you want to have it. We now have a contract, under which
I am obliged to give you my watch. If I later do not give you
the watch, you can sue me in court for breach of contract.

> > IRT jurisdicions like ours where, every license is only granted by
> > contract, where do you stand?
> It may not be possible to have free software in such jurisdictions.  I
> don't understand their laws well enough to say that it's impossible --
> indeed, the other messages you've sent about a universal right to make
> any copies necessary for operation imply it's not possible to have
> *unfree* software there.

I don't see why it's relevant that a license grant is or is
not part of a contract. As long as the licensor grants sufficient
permission to meet the DFSG, what's the problem?


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies: http://www.iusmentis.com/

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