Licenses versus contracts

Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. rod at
Wed Mar 29 11:48:43 UTC 2000

Simply stated, a license is a contract. The confusion often arises because
software licenses come in essentially two forms: a) traditional license
(e.g., Microsoft used a traditional license with OEMs regarding the
pre-install of its OS) and 2) a copyright license (like the GPL). Further
complicating this issue is the fact that some people mistakenly call
copyright transfers licenses. A transfer and a license are both contracts,
but they are very different. Transfers are  contracts that MUST be written
and SHOULD be recorded. For the purposes of our discussion, these
distinctions have not relevant, although they may have contributed to the

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

> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Johnson [mailto:david at]
> Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2000 11:35 PM
> To: license-discuss at
> Subject: Licenses versus contracts
> I'm starting to get confused. What exactly is the difference between a
> license and a contract? Where does one draw the line? Is there some
> legal concept here, or is this just some random and arbitrary ruling?
> --
> David Johnson...
> _____________________________

More information about the License-discuss mailing list