[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Contracts and licenses

On Wed, 30 Jun 2004, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> Don Armstrong <don@donarmstrong.com> writes:
> > 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.

It's definetly more difficult to argue, but the promise is there
nevertheless. The author of the work will be able to get the source to
the work if the author ever receives a copy of the binary part of the
work. Even though it doesn't require distribution by every party,
those that are publically[1] doing something that is useful to the
author have a requirement to release source.

[It's not just a I give this to you, you can do these things to it
license; it's a I give this to you, you promise to do these things if
X happens.]

> 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.

Explicit acceptance or agreement will probably be non free[2], but
implicit acceptance is not so clear cut.

> Also, that a license which restricts or compels behavior rather than
> granting potentially limited privileges is also non-free.

As a general rule, if the license (or contract) restricts what I could
normally do as a person who had not signed the contract or assented to
the license, the license is not free.

Restricting or compelling behavior that was not allowed previously or
is attached to behavior that is not allowed previously is a totally
different question, and one that necessarily must be examined in the
context of the DFSG. For example, the GPL itself compels behavior in
the granting of its privileges, but it is quite clearly a free
license. [Well, ignoring the §8 stuff.]

Don Armstrong

1: Specifically in the sense that the author has become passively
aware of it by being sent a copy.
2: And more importantly, not distributeable by Debian, as it would
make the entire mirror system inoperable.
There is no mechanical problem so difficult that it cannot be solved
by brute strength and ignorance.
 -- William's Law


Reply to: