Limits of Licenses
david at usermode.org
Tue Mar 28 02:37:39 UTC 2000
On Mon, 27 Mar 2000, John Cowan wrote:
> David Johnson wrote:
> > If copyright law does not give you rights A, B and C, then you do not
> > have them unless the copyright holder gives them to you.
> Nope. It goes like this:
At first glance I thought that was exactly what I said. Then I reread
what I wrote. I can see how it could be misinterpreted.
> > And I don't care what the judges
> > say, tearing off some plastic shrink wrap doesn't count as an agreement.
> Up till now, the judges mostly agreed with you. UCITA is designed to
> change that.
But no judge has yet agreed with UCITA! I wonder if a judge would rule
against it on just that basis. Just because a law says that black is
white does not make it so. Ditto for a law saying that an absence of
agreement is a contract.
> There is no single overt act that counts as agreeing: agreement is partly judged
> by what ordinary people do in ordinary circumstances. Sometimes it requires
> a signature, sometimes not. For example, when you drop you car off at the
> garage for repairs, you have agreed to pay for them; if you don't, the mechanic
> can keep your car until you do (called a "mechanic's lien").
The ordinary people generally read their estimate agreement and the
repair shop generally does not begin repairs until they have a
> There could be no such license under copyright law, of course, since lending
> out your copy (or selling it) is an ordinary part of the dominion of the owner of
> the book, not the copyright owner.
I've seen several software licenses that say essentially "don't lend
the media to your friend". I'm wondering why the law treats books and
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