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Re: Adobe open source license -- is this licence free?

On Thu, Jan 26, 2006 at 01:45:33PM -0500, Michael Poole wrote:
Michael> Yorick Cool writes:
Michael> > If the default rules of law force you to accept a lawsuit brought upon
Michael> > you in New York, then a license with no choice of venue clause very
Michael> > much does force you to go to NY if you don't want to. 
Michael> It should be quite plain that the license has nothing to do with that
Michael> imposition.

It should be obvious that the silence of a licence is an implicit
acceptance of the legal effects of laws it could have rejected. Since
it could have changed those effects, by not speaking, the licence is
taking a positive stance. Just like the silence of non-copyleft
licences on any conditions for redistribution are an important feature
-- not a bug -- of those licences. What a licence does not say is as
important as what it says, and should not be dismissed as something
totally unconnected with the licence.

Michael> > The critical point that you are missing is that when a license doesn't
Michael> > state a rule on a particular point, the default rules of law are de
Michael> > facto incorporated in it. Hence it is absurd to consider non-free a
Michael> > license because of a clause which shall have an effect very much
Michael> > comparable to what a license whith no such clause would
Michael> > have. (Obviously, this only applies if we consider the "silent"
Michael> > license as free.)
Michael> I do not miss that point at all; I think that the default rules of law
Michael> are preferable to the imposition of a forum selected by the
Michael> licensor.

And why is that, if the effects are the same? Is it just out of some
kind of irrational hatred of licensors? You have failed to show any
negative effects that come from the licences taking a stance on forum
instead of not saying anything.

Michael> The fact that a
Michael> license is mute as to human rights or being able to use cryptographic
Michael> software does not mean that it is non-free in countries that neglect
Michael> human rights or that outlaw cryptography.  Quite simply, a free
Michael> software license should not attempt to correct wrongs that exist
Michael> outside of the software.

I totally agree. That is why I consider the burden imposed by forum
rules, be they contractual (deriving from a license) or legal
(deriving from a law) to be outside of the scope of free software to
fix. They are wrongs (if indeed they are wrongs) which "exist outside
of the software" as you put it. Which is why I don't want to make that
question one which free software should address, and I don't view forum clauses as
non-free. You are the one trying to fix something in this by rejecting
these clauses.


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