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Re: EllisLab, Inc. CodeIgniter license

Francesco Poli <frx@firenze.linux.it> writes:

> On Wed, 29 Oct 2008 21:08:54 +0100 Carl Fürstenberg wrote:
> > This license is a legal agreement between you and EllisLab Inc.
> > for the use of CodeIgniter Software (the "Software"). By obtaining
> > the Software you agree to comply with the terms and conditions of
> > this license.
> I don't particularly love licenses that claim they must be agreed
> upon just to *obtain* the Software.

Indeed. I don't know of any jurisdictions where these grasping clauses
are enforcible; one can't be held to an “agreement” that one had no
option to view or negotiate before the stated condition occurs.

It's best for the clause to simply be removed, since AFAIK what it
says simply isn't true.

> I think downloading and using the Software should be unrestricted,
> while the license should kick in only when one wants to copy or
> redistribute, with or without modification.

More fundamentally, the license should *not* be an “agreement” at
all; it should be a unilateral grant of license. The copyright holder
by default has a massive amount of power over the work, and the
license is supposed to be granting some of that to the recipient.

> Anyway, I don't think that this flaw means *by itself* that the
> license fails to meet the DFSG.

Dubious. It would be far better if the clause were removed.

> > You agree to indemnify and hold harmless the authors of the
> > Software and any contributors for any direct, indirect,
> > incidental, or consequential third-party claims, actions or suits,
> > as well as any related expenses, liabilities, damages, settlements
> > or fees arising from your use or misuse of the Software, or a
> > violation of any terms of this license.
> Warning: indemnification clause: is it acceptable?
> It smells as non-free, but I would like to know the opinion of other
> debian-legal regulars...

Totally non-free, IMO. The right to seek action in court is an
important one, and a requirement to waive that right is a non-free

> My advice is to try and persuade upstream to adopt a well-known and
> widespread Free Software license, such as the 3-clause BSD license,
> for instance.

I'm in full agreement with this advice.

 \          “There's a certain part of the contented majority who love |
  `\            anybody who is worth a billion dollars.” —John Kenneth |
_o__)                                            Galbraith, 1992-05-23 |
Ben Finney

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