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Re: Is the University of Edinburgh clickwrap GPL DFSG-free?

On Friday 03 November 2006 14:06, Don Armstrong wrote:
> On Fri, 03 Nov 2006, Sean Kellogg wrote:
> NB: Licence is also an appropriate spelling.

Informative, thank you.  I had presumed there was a copy & paste error.

> > Avoiding the click wrap means you have not accepted ALL the terms of
> > the license (warrent/waiver provisions) and thus you have not
> > received a grant.
> Perhaps, but since:
>  1.2 Redistribution with or without modifications are permitted under
>      the terms of the GNU General Public Licence (Version 2, 1991,
>      published by the Free Software Foundation, a copy of which is set out
>      below).
> it would seem that once someone either agreed to their terms or
> avoided them, they could simply sever these terms and redistribute
> under GPLv2.

Okay, this is beginning to make sense now...

> > ----------------------
> > You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise
> > of the rights granted herein.
> > ----------------------
> >
> > But that doesn't say you cannot impose further restrictions in
> > general, only those which restrict rights granted by the GPL. So
> > I'll re-ask my question... what part of the GPL prohibits a more
> > explicit waiver of *liability* and *warranty* than already included
> > in the GPL?
> Again, there's nothing wrong with an initial distribution including
> it, but unless you allow it to be severable, anyone else who
> distributes it must also distribute and apparently cause distributees
> to agree to the license. That's a restriction on your ability to use
> and distribute the software, since it requires you to do things beyond
> what section 1, 2, or 3 requires.
> Of course, in this case, the terms of the liability and warranty
> waiver are the GPL terms themselves recouched, so I've no clue why
> they even bothered with a clickwrap.

I think the email from Jeff Carr pretty much confirmed my suspicion about all 
of this.  What you've got is a big legal entity with deep pockets (i.e. the 
University of Edinburgh) who have lawyers that are concerned about 
libiability issues and not convinced that the GPL clears them of all 
distributor liability.  Something we could all quible with, but as a law 
school trained fellow myself, you trust what you've written more than "the 
other guy's" stuff.

So they wrap their distribution in these additional terms to end the 
distribution liability chain...  which means if there is a liability later 
down the road, the buck will stop with Debian, not U of E, because the Debian 
packager waived those rights when s/he agreed to become a distributor.  Not 
sure if it will hold up in a court of law (otherwise car manufacturors would 
disclaim all liability and you could only sue the car distributor/salesman) 
but if it makes 'em sleep at night.

Thanks for the clearification, it was helpful to think about this issue.


Sean Kellogg
e: skellogg@u.washington.edu
w: http://blog.probonogeek.org/

So, let go
 ...Jump in
  ...Oh well, what you waiting for?
   ...it's all right
    ...'Cause there's beauty in the breakdown
Sean Kellogg
c: 831.818.6940    e: skellogg@u.washington.edu
w: http://blog.probonogeek.org/

So, let go
 ...Jump in
  ...Oh well, what you waiting for?
   ...it's all right
    ...'Cause there's beauty in the breakdown

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