Contract or License?

M. Drew Streib dtype at
Thu Sep 13 22:05:13 UTC 2001

On Thu, Sep 13, 2001 at 02:34:17PM -0700, Lawrence E. Rosen wrote:
> which describe two different types of contracts.)  I must admit that,
> even though I am an attorney, I have never understood the distinction
> between a software license and a contract.  Can anyone on this list cite
> any legal authority (other than an assertion by the license author) for
> the proposition that a software license is not a contract?  

I am constantly confused by this as well.

What about a music artist who licenses
their music for free play on the radio, but not otherwise? Is this 
covered under the inability to restrict use, where radio play isn't
a copy, but is use? 

What if the artist wanted to allow broadcast over the Internet, but
still restrict the right to copy a CD? Would this require a contract,
or could it be covered by copyright law only?

Maybe parallels to non-software uses of copyright might help make
it clear (in my mind at least).


M. Drew Streib <dtype at> |
FSG <dtype at>    | Linux International <dtype at>
freedb <dtype at>        | SourceForge <dtype at>
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