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Re: copyright law wackyness

Chris Harshman <rch@packetlaw.com> writes:

> On Dec 22, 2011, at 10:33 PM, Paul Wise <pabs@debian.org> wrote:
> > The other part is less clear to me and it refers to contracts rather
> > than licenses, but the document author seems to think it applies to
> > the GPL.
> How is a license not a contract?

Under most definitions of contract, a contract entails an explicit
agreement between the parties.


A unilateral license, where one party (the recipient) is granted
something without having to do anything, is thereby not an agreement.

You don't have to agree to the party licensing a work to you under the
Expat (for example) license terms; but you have the license in that work

The grant of license on the work when you receive it doesn't restrict
you in any way. It relaxes, in a special case – that work, with those
license terms, from that copyright holder, to you as recipient – the
default restrictions of copyright law.

So the license creates no obligation on the recipient, and it applies
whether or not the recipient agrees. Hence it's not a contract by most

 \      “He who allows oppression, shares the crime.” —Erasmus Darwin, |
  `\                                     grandfather of Charles Darwin |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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