Copyright vs? Click-wrap "contract"

David Johnson david at
Fri Nov 1 04:13:40 UTC 2002

On Thursday 31 October 2002 07:42 am, Brendan Hide wrote:

> You have the right to do anything with a copyrighted work only if you
> have agreed and complied with (and read) the license.

Bull pucky! The vast majority of copyrighted works don't even have licenses. 
Reaching my hand over about two feet, I find myself picking up a copyrighted 
work at random. This appears to be "In the Court of the Crimson King", by 
King Crimson. Let's see if there's a license in there is not. Let me 
reach in the other direction... "The C++ Standard Libary" by Nicolai license.

Licenses and copyrights are beasts residing in different phyla.

> Imagine you pick up some software from a store, but the box contains
> everything except the license. Do you have the right to use the
> software? Legally, you need to secure a license before you can use the
> software. Of course, nobody would, in their right mind anyway, sue you
> for using the software you paid them for.

If I pick up some software from a store and pay for it, and obtain a sales 
reciept, then I am the legal owner of that copy. If I have a sales receipt 
then a sale has been made. As an owner of the copy, I possess numerous 
rights, including the right to use, dispose of, make archival copies of, and 
reverse engineer the software.

Of course, many lawyers will disagree with me. But the boxes and receipts in 
my possession argue in my favor. One example: Windows ME. The box clearly 
says "Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition Operating System". The same is 
listed on the "Certificate of Authenticity".

David Johnson
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