'Browse-wrap' licenses invalid

Jimmy Wales jwales at bomis.com
Sun Jul 8 00:37:23 UTC 2001

In such a situation, wouldn't the situation therefore just default to

Wouldn't it be correct to say that a license which imposes _additional
restrictions_ *beyond copyright* on you is invalid unless you have actually
assented, but that a license which grants _additional rights_ is valid?

The GPL is admirably exact: "You are not required to accept this
License, since you have not signed it. However, nothing else grants
you permission to modify or distribute the Program or its derivative
works. These actions are prohibited by law if you do not accept this

If I'm right, then a decision of this type is not harmful to open
source licenses (generally), because they simply grant additional
rights to the end user, rather than attempt to restrict beyond copyright.
But some proprietary licenses, which purport to require all kinds of
additional conditions on you beyond copyright (e.g., no backup copies,
no reverse engineering) may fail.

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