Subscription/Service Fees - Legality

David Johnson david at
Wed Mar 28 01:01:53 UTC 2001

On Wednesday March 28 2001 08:27 am, David Davies wrote:

> One key point of the argument is the
> "In the United States, once you own a copy of a program, you can back it
> up, compile it, run it, and even modify it as necessary, without permission
> from the copyright holder."
> The key point being "once you own" and the question raised therefore must
> be at what point do you "own" the software.
> After you obtain it by any means
> or
> After you comply with the stated terms of the copyright holder.

I have always held the radical opinion that if I've paid for it, it's mine! I 
go into a store, see a shrink wrapped box with the symbol $59.95 on it. I 
give the retail cashier $59.95, she gives me a receipt. It's mine, damnit!

If, instead, the software is being rented to me, I want to know before hand. 
If I am only purchasing the rights to use the program, I want to know before 

> And does this apply only to Closed Source Software ?  If so why ?

In the absence of a contract or other agreement (such as most licenses, 
whether or not you agree to them), any *copies* of software you legally 
aquire are your personal property. It doesn't matter if it's Open Source or 

> An interesting scenario.
> Suppose I download the 120-day evaluation edition of MS Exchange 2000 from
> MS site in accordance with the evaluation agreement.
> Is the software I receive mine because it is obtained legally ?

Did you agree to the terms of the evaluation? If so then you are under 
contract and must abide by those terms. If, on the other hand, you find 
yourself in possession of the software through other channels, then you 
probably don't have a legal copy anyway.

David Johnson

More information about the License-discuss mailing list