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Fwd: Re: Bug#278474: mimetex: licensing issue

Hi, Debian legal folks.

Can you help me a bit with this issue?
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     Your discussion was brought to my attention, so I thought I'd
explain my reasoning regarding the paragraph in mimetex's gpl
licensing terms (at http://www.forkosh.com/mimetex.html) which reads
  By using mimeTeX, you warrant that you have read, understood
  and agreed to these terms and conditions, and that you are at least
  18 years of age and possess the legal right and ability to enter
  into this agreement and to use mimeTeX in accordance with it.

Users of mimetex, or of any gpl'ed program, should first agree to the
terms and conditions of the gpl.  But, at least in the United States,
people under the age of 18 aren't legally competent to agree to
     For example, suppose you sell a bicycle to a 15-year-old
for $500, and he gives you $100 down and signs a contract agreeing
to pay you $100/week for the next four weeks.  Well, he can just
ride off on the bike and forget you and your agreement.  And you
have no legal recourse -- no court will uphold the contract nor
even order the kid to return your bike.
     Returning to the gpl, the same 15-year-old could, for example,
incorporate gpl'ed code into a proprietary product, and there'd be
no legal recourse.  He could even sue the author of a gpl'ed
program for damages if the program misbehaves.  The author would
probably win, but couldn't just use the gpl to get the case dismissed.

It seems to me that the gpl fails to adequately address this kind
of loophole -- that is, in order to agree to the terms of the gpl
you must first be a legally competent person.  Am I missing
something here?  If so, I'd appreciate it if somebody could
explain how the gpl works to preclude this kind of situation.
If not, maybe the gpl needs a little paragraph, something like
mine, to address the issue.
John  ( john@forkosh.com )

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