Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. rod at cyberspaces.org
Sat Mar 25 02:39:44 UTC 2000

> > 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.

I am sorry, but these assertions are incorrect. Have you ever rented a car,
purchased an airline ticket, acquired a credit card, or undertaken a number
of transactions in modern life where you assent to the terms of a contract
(call it a license if you want) that you did NOT negotiate. When you get
your Visa bill next month, why not pay an interest rate you think is fair
rather than the one listed (without re-negotiating the terms) and see if the
bank claims you agreed to pay the rate they pick. Or, better still, after
agreeing to pay $1.50 to use another bank's ATM machine by clicking (or
pushing "yes"), call the bank and tell them you want your $1.50 back because
the "agreement" isn't contractually enforceable. I am not saying that we
should be happy with all of the ways we may be bound by agreements we barely
negotiate, but this discomfort does not mean the obligations are not legally
enforceable. Similarly, the GPL contains terms that are enforceable.

Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M.
rod at cyberspaces.org

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