Question regarding a new local license approach

Alex Bligh alex at
Fri Mar 11 20:02:04 UTC 2005

--On 11 March 2005 14:28 -0500 "Forrest J. Cavalier III" 
<mibsoft at> wrote:

>> Wouldn't it be possible to make conditional terms depending on
>> which jurisdiction the licensee is under?
> OK.  How many jurisdictions is that?  See the problem now?

It's worse than that. Licensee's or Licensor's jurisdiction? Anyone
for n^2 before we even get into contributors from multiple jurisdictions,
sublicense vs. pass on a license direct from licensor, in what
jurisdiction is the s/w "Externally Deployed" in (e.g.) the OSL
ASP clause where licensee, licensor, web-server are each in
different jurisdictions, etc. etc. - attempting to handle this by
the equivalent of a switch statement will mean incorporating a lot
of jurisprudence on international law & conflict of law. I suspect
the license may end up longer than the code!

> The GPL is universal because it is based on copyright law
> enshrined in Berne.

Sure the GPL is based on Berne convention rights. However, in most
(but not all) countries, international treaties signed by governments
have to be implemented in local law. And that local law is precisely
what differs. So whilst it is true that the less your license relies
only Berne convention principles, the less globally applicable (all
other things being equal) it is likely to be, the fact it is based
only on Berne convention principles wouldn't necessarily make it
'do the same thing' in all signatory countries. Moreover, even
licenses like the GPL do things which are outside the Berne convention's
remit, for instance they disclaim warranty.


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