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Re: GPL v3 Draft

Alexander Terekhov wrote:
On 2/22/06, olive <olive.lin@versateladsl.be> 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.


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