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Re: Bug#317359: kde: ..3'rd "Help"->"About $KDE-app" tab calls the GPL "License Agreement", ie; a contract.

On 7/13/05, Sean Kellogg <skellogg@u.washington.edu> wrote:
> I am so confused.  #1 allows a licensor to impose all manner of terms without
> giving actual notice to the licensee, whereas #2 at least gives the licensee
> a chance.  The warranty provisions are a great example.  The GPL rejects all
> implied warranties, but doesn't tell a licensee it does so unless they go to
> the trouble of reading the COPYING file.  How does displaying the license
> first and requiring folks say "yes, I understand" more problematic or
> invasive?

Click-wrap that isn't trivial to circumvent is a sysadmin's nightmare
(what kind of crap-ass software can't be updated site-wide without
screenscraping GUI macro magic?) and it's not smart to require it
where it's not necessary.  If you can get people to behave decently
with respect to the temptation to steal more than the vendor is
offering, you don't need to club them with FUD.  The statutory
penalties for copying without license on a commercial scale are pretty
steep, and the principal benefits of publication under the GPL can be
tied quite satisfactorily to that need for license when modifying
and/or copying.

There's no sane boundary between making warranty disclaimers
(practically legal no-ops at the retail level) binding and allowing
enforcement of arbitration clauses on people who just intended to
purchase a retail good or even pick up a free newspaper (which is
surely bad public policy).  So if your concerns relate to the body of
the GPL rather than things that have to be hung on a right-to-use
hook, why futz around with click-wrap?

> Believe me, I understand the visceral reaction to click-wrap licenses.  I have
> had a lot of debates with law professors on the issue of whether click-wrap
> licenses are a "good thing" since they postpone term presentation until far
> after money has changed hands.  But no one has presented a cogent argument
> about how mandating that people actually agree to the terms of the GPL poses
> a threat to the DFSG.

It's not allowable under GPL section 6, it's inconvenient for
important categories of users, and it's just plain stupid to do
package-by-package anyway.

- Michael

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