STWL (spread the word license)

Ihab Awad ihab.awad at
Wed Sep 22 18:15:37 UTC 2004

I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. That said --

On Wed, 22 Sep 2004 18:35:05 +0200, Bernhard Fastenrath
<bfastenrath at> wrote:
> The intention of 3. and 4. is not to be legally enforceable but to
> make it unmistakably clear that the described behaviour is required
> by the license.

Things can't be both legal and non-legal. Either it is legally
enforceable or it doesn't belong in a legal document.

> It is left to your own judgment to decide who might
> be interested in the software (3.) and who needs your help or whom
> cou can help by answering questions (4.).

No, unfortunately, it is not -- and therein lies the rub. It is left
to the judgement of whoever has standing to file suit. What if I take
a STWL application X, make a trivial mod, then put it out on the
Internet, and somehow find out about some people who are using it. I
then get all my friends to totally spam these people and ask for
"help" with the application. When these people don't pony up, I sue
them for copyright violation.

Why would I want to randomly sue users of application X? I don't know.
Maybe I have Application Y that competes with X, and I want people to
stop using X. Whatever. The point is that, by using Application X
under the STWL, users are opening themselves up to a whole can of

Yes, if everyone were moral and reasonable, this should not be a
problem. But the law does not exist to suggest behaviors to those who
are moral and reasonable. It exists as the last bastion of civilized
conduct -- as an alternative to all-out tribal warfare -- that applies
under all circumstances to all people, whatever their disagreements
may be.

Hope this helps. Peace,


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