Contract or License?

Karsten M. Self kmself at
Fri Sep 14 01:09:36 UTC 2001

on Thu, Sep 13, 2001 at 10:05:13PM +0000, M. Drew Streib (dtype at wrote:
> 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? 

Radio is a public performance, a 102 exclusive right.  There are also
broadcast-specific rights in copyright (largely in exception).  Airplay
is covered under various licensing arrangements via ASCAP.

> 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?

"Broadcasting" over the Internet is somewhat more problematic than radio
broadcast.  There are inherent copies involved (though airplay also
creates copies).  Selling Internet broadcast rights is probably

Karsten M. Self <kmself at>

Praying for the victims. 
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