John Cowan jcowan at reutershealth.com
Fri Mar 24 22:34:38 UTC 2000

"W. Yip" wrote:

> In the context of GPL, I wish to question whether there is a contract in
> every case. The OSD s.7 'Distribution of License' stresses that no
> subsequent execution of additional license is required for redistribution.
> This implies that the OSS License is 'automatic'. This gives the likelihood
> that in many cases a contract is PRECLUDED from the licensing mechanism.
> For instance, if I were to download RedHat from FTP, and then install it
> after reading and accepting the 'click wrap license' involved, would there
> be a contract in such a case? I doubt it.

IANAL, but I agree with you.  The GNU GPL and other open source "licenses"
(whether that term is justly applied to them is another matter) are in fact
conditional non-exclusive transfers of copyright.  They are not contracts not only
for technical reasons (lack of consideration, etc.) but more fundamentally
because there is no agreement, no meeting of the minds.  The copyright
owner grants certain of his otherwise exclusive rights to you, conditional
on your doing such-and-such and refraining from such-and-such.  Provided
the conditions are met, you have those rights whether you agree or not.


Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis um dies! || John Cowan <jcowan at reutershealth.com>
Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau,  || http://www.reutershealth.com
Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau,           || http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
Und trank die Milch vom Paradies.            -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)

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