John Cowan cowan at locke.ccil.org
Sun Mar 26 01:30:16 UTC 2000

Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. scripsit:

> 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.

Certainly.  But I agreed to those terms, even if on a "take it or leave it"
basis.  If I rented a car, I signed a rental agreement saying I had read
the terms (which I had) and would abide by them.  Ditto the airline
ticket and most especially the credit card.  (If anyone has acquired a
credit card without consciously assenting to its terms, I urge you most
sincerely to reconsider now!)

> 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.

By using the word "agreement", you kick the ball into your own goalposts.
The GNU GPL as applied to the Linux kernel or GNU Emacs gives me, and you,
and you, and you, and you ... certain rights whether we have *agreed* to
anything or not, as long as we refrain from certain forbidden actions.
(My reference, in yesterday's post, to "doing certain actions" was
of course nonsense: the GPL doesn't require us to take any action
in particular, nor could it, unless we actually exercise our rights under it.)

John Cowan                                   cowan at ccil.org
       I am a member of a civilization. --David Brin

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