Limits of Licenses

Justin Wells jread at
Mon Mar 27 20:42:07 UTC 2000

On Mon, Mar 27, 2000 at 01:21:08PM -0500, Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. wrote:
> I do not know why, but people often think that contracts of
> adhesion are unlawful. They are not unless they violate public
> policy (unconscionability), which is a very high hurdle in most
> courts.

Is this a contract of adhesion:

   We are willing to license our software to you at no charge only if you
   accept all the terms of this agreement. We are willing to negotiate 
   different license terms with you for a fee, please contact us at....

   ... standard looking OSS license ...

What I'm hoping exempts it from being a contract of adhesion is:

  1) there is no charge
  2) offer to negotiate different terms
  3) you get to see the license and software as a whole BEFORE deciding
     that you want to agree to the terms

I'd rather not have the license interpreted strictly against me, the
tiny little legal-resource-poor software developer, when squaring off
against the big, deep pocketed corporation that sues me because a bug
in my software interrupted their business.


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