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Re: Contracts and licenses

Don Armstrong <don@donarmstrong.com> writes:

> On Tue, 29 Jun 2004, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
>> * A consideration: if the license document specifies consideration to
>>   the licensor, the license can't be free.
> For copyleft licenses, at least, the promise of future derivative
> works being released with source under similar terms could quite
> easily be argued to fulfill consideration.

That's only reasonable if the license requires release.  Since
free copylefts don't require distribution at all, much less public
release, I think that would be much harder to argue.

> If we take the conservative tack, and assume that all of the
> restrictions or requirements are valid and legally binding and
> evaluate the license from that perspective, we will have determined
> whether or not the license is capable of being free, irregardless of
> the outcome of a game of legal roulette.

Sure, but there are simple tests which make that easier -- for
example, a quick check to see whether the license permits sale of
copies, distribution of derivative works, etc.  These are qualities
that, in general, make a license non-free.

I'm proposing that a few other truths be recognized: most noticeably,
that requirement for acceptance or agreement with a license is a
non-free requirement for a fee.  Also, that a license which restricts
or compels behavior rather than granting potentially limited
privileges is also non-free.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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