"I accept" button

David Johnson david at usermode.org
Fri Apr 26 01:21:46 UTC 2002

On Thursday 25 April 2002 05:18 am, DeBug wrote:
> > If I legally aquire a piece of software then I have the legal right to
> > use it for any legal purpose. Period. As a resident and citizen of the
> > United States, this right is granted to me under both Copyright Law and
> > the US Commercial Code.
> You do not aquire a piece of software, you just aquire a right to use it
> in certain ways.

Not according to the US Commercial Code, as I understand it. If you walk into 
a store and purchase a shrink-wrapped copy of WindowsXP (as an example), you 
are the legal owner of that -copy-. According to Copyright law, you have the 
right to use any software which you have a legal copy of. Otherwise, what is 
that $109.99 I paid for? A fancy box and childish manual?

Downloading the software from a publicly accessible server is a slightly 
different matter. But if I can manage to download the software without having 
to assent to a contract, then I am the legal owner of that copy, and the 
above applies. Likewise, if the software came bundled on a CD (it is supposed 
to be Open Source after all), I am still in the clear.

The author is given exclusive rights to modify and distribute the software. 
But the author does not have exclusive rights to use the software. If I can 
aquire a copy of the software in a legal fashion, I have the right to use it.

> > If I have not agreed to this license prior to my aquiring the software, I
> > am not bound by it.
> If you did not then you should not have get the software itself :)
> If you managed to get it well you were lucky :)

If the software is Open Source, then someone can always give me a copy for 
free, legally. I do not have to agree to anything prior to my aquiring it. 
Otherwise it couldn't be Open Source.

David Johnson
pgp public key on website
license-discuss archive is at http://crynwr.com/cgi-bin/ezmlm-cgi?3

More information about the License-discuss mailing list