Legal soundness comes to open source distribution

Russell Nelson nelson at
Sun Aug 4 02:43:31 UTC 2002

Lawrence E. Rosen writes:
 > The MPL (and almost all similar licenses), for example, contains a
 > patent grant that specifically applies to "use" and "practice" and it
 > disclaims application of those patents to "the combination of the
 > Original Code with other software or devices."

But that, by itself, doesn't form a contract.  Where is the
consideration?  Instead, it's just giving permission.  I can say "You
can walk across my land, but that's all you can do" without forming a
contract, because it's my property.  You're not giving up anything.

 > It contains a defensive suspension provision relating to patent
 > litigation that applies to users of the software as much as to
 > distributors.

I can put anything I want in my license.  The question is whether it's 
enforcible in a context where there is no assent and no consideration.
Is a contract formed in such a case?

 > What makes anyone think that this *CONTRACT* will be interpreted by the
 > courts strictly under copyright law?

Contract?  Or contract-wannabee?

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