For Approval: Some License Or Another
chuck at codefab.com
Tue Nov 30 02:47:27 UTC 2004
Alvin Oga wrote:
> hi ya chuck
> On Mon, 29 Nov 2004, Chuck Swiger wrote:
[ ... ]
> i equate that to :
> - a software programmer writing a legal document is the equivalent
> to a lawyer writing complicated software code
> - the end result will be a direct result of one's understanding of
> the issues at hand and one can do it oneself or solicit input
> from those that do it for a living
Good description! I agree that some software authors, OS vendors, and
redistributors look to this list and similar FSF/GNU lists for help creating
an "open license" which "plays nice" with existing software.
The devil is in the details. :-)
Is there anything the OSI or this list can do to encourage short, legible
licenses which can be understood and followed by average end-users, or adopted
by software authors, instead of said authors creating more new licenses?
I admit that I would prefer OSI license candidates to pass the "resume test"
(namely, "OSD #11: it all needs to fit on one page or it's too long!" :-)
> - by the same token, one must undrstand all the issues to talk to
> the lawyers to draw up a license that is binding in the target
IANAL; while I believe that people have to be able to understand a license
before it could be truthfully asserted that such person has agreed to the
terms of the license, that is up to the courts.
> the part i like; if a law[y]er is paid to write a legal doc, they
> presumably know what they are doing and they presumably have
> liability insurance if they "screw up" in a big way, that an
> entry level attorney wouldn't have made those mistakes
I am assured that cooks cover their mistakes with more ketchup, that doctors
cover their mistakes with more blood, and that lawyers cover their mistakes
with more words.
Frankly, however, we in the software industry have had it easy for decades via
the standard "no warranty/disclaimer in CAPS" compared with, say, the legal
agreements, arguments, and contracts found in the entertainment industry.
> somewhere along the line, due my foggy crystal ball, i suspect there
> probably will be a test case, wrt to "licenses" :
> "practicing law without a license"
I believe that applies only to claiming to be a lawyer and providing legal
advice to other people.
I do not believe that the legal profession has been able to contort the law to
the point where individuals are unable to make binding agreements for
themselves on their own terms. However, it is probably true that lawyers and
lawmakers have succeeded in contorting the law to the point where it is often
unwise for an individual to attempt to make one's own agreements without a
legal degree or professional advice.
PS: While I live in one of the three? states which still permits individuals
to take the bar exam without going to law school: IANAL, TINLA. :-)
More information about the License-discuss