Re: GPL v3 Draft
Alexander Terekhov wrote:
On 2/22/06, olive <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
[... Not a Contract ...]
I do not see why you object to this theory.
Go ask Barnes & Thornburg LLP. "[O]ne of the Midwest's largest law
firms" says that
"The GPL, like the shrinkwrap license in ProCD, is a license
applicable to anyone who receives its terms and chooses to use it, and
by using it, accepts the terms under which the software was offered.
(In ProCD the court then held the "license" valid and enforceable as a
I do not know exactly ProCd; but there is usually a big difference.
Proprietary software license give you *less* permissions than copyright
law; so that these companies need an enforceable contract because
otherwise you have your normal rights. The GPL give you *more*
permissions than copyright law; so a contract is not needed because the
forbidden things by the GPL are forbidden by copyright law anyway. If
you break the GPL you just can get sued because you have
distributed/modified softwares without the required permission; not
because you have not respected a contract.
Although, as you have shown in ProCD, the first situation is defendable
(you have agreed to the license since you use the software); this is
nevertheless more fragile: for example if you buy a CD with software on
it and if there is no license on the CD (visible before you buy the
products); some juridiction might decide that by buing the CD, you have
the right to use it and that you haven't to agree with any further terms
(this seems logical, reciprocally if you have bought a CD you cannot
make extra conditions in other that the vendor get paid). There are GPL
software which are sold in this way. I do not know what courts will
decide if you use a software downloaded from the net but anyway the
second second argument seems juridically stronger.