"I accept" button

David Johnson david at usermode.org
Sat Apr 27 02:33:12 UTC 2002

On Friday 26 April 2002 07:07 am, Lee,Benjamin S - LGA wrote:

> But what does it mean when you say "for any legal purpose"?  For any
> purpose whatsoever?  For example, when you purchase a video cassette, do
> you get
> -- right to public display of the content? (uhm, no)
> -- right to public performance of the content? (no)
> -- right to broadcast the content? (no)
> ... and of course you don't get to modify it or copy it in any shape
> whatsoever...

I don't have the right to any of the above. But so what? I DO have the right 
to USE the software.

If I buy a book, I don't have to get the author's permission to read it. If I 
buy a painting I don't have to get the artist's permission to view it. How 
much plainer can this be?

If I buy a piece of software then I don't have to ask any damn person for 
permission to use it.

> The only clear right you have is to that darn physical cassette.  The
> content on it is pretty much locked up by Disney et al.

Title 17, section 106 <http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html>, lists 
the exclusive rights of the author. They include a whole bunch of things. 
Depending on the nature of the work, other sections grant them additional 
exclusive rights. But nowhere does it say that usage of the work is a right 
exclusive to the author.

I really don't give a fsck what Disney thinks. If I buy a video cassette of 
Bambi, then I have the legal, moral, and ethical right to view Bambi!

> So, clearly, when you say for "any legal purpose" under Copyright Law,
> you mean only those purposes that the law allows...

That is exactly what I meant. The law allows me to use the software which I 
legally possess a copy of. Any license that says I must first enter into a 
contractual obligation to the author before I can use the software is a 
meaningless license.

> I think you may be ingoring many years of serious (and boring) debate in
> the legal community as to the proper handling of software under the
> UCC...

No single human being can possibly understand all of the law that is 
currently in effect in the United States. Not George Bush. Not Al Gore. And 
certainly not me.

Therefore I have to resort to common sense, logic, and rationality, what 
little of which I happen to possess. Common sense tells me that if a piece of 
software is wholesaled by the manufacturer to a retail outlet, and I aquire 
that software at a retail outlet by exchanging some of my money for it, and I 
receive a receipt, then that software is a commercial product, and the US 
Commercial Code should apply.

Perhaps the UCC doesn't apply. If it doesn't, it should. Otherwise someone 
should start suing these manufacturers for fraud.

David Johnson
pgp public key on website
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