How To Break The GPL - Copyright versus Contract

John Cowan jcowan at
Fri Mar 10 14:54:12 UTC 2000

"Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M." wrote:

> If so, the FSF position would be that they own the
> copyright interest and THEY are assigning YOU a non-excusive copyright
> interest to make derivative works under the terms and conditions of the GPL.

In the case of works published by the FSF, certainly.  In the case of other
works published under the GNU GPL, surely not.

> These provisions attempt to avoid the complexity I just referred to and to
> establish a choice-of-law rule by agreement.

More typically by adhesion.

BTW, I'd be curious to know your opinion of the clauses that have appeared in
some licenses recently, attempting to override state law to the effect that
contracts of adhesion are interpreted strictly against the drafting party --
in a contract of adhesion!  Strikes me as void because against public policy.


Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis vom dies! || John Cowan <jcowan at>
Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau,  ||
Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau,           ||
Und trank die Milch vom Paradies.            -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)

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