Question regarding a new local license approach
jcowan at reutershealth.com
Mon Mar 14 21:28:57 UTC 2005
Walter van Holst scripsit:
> Copyright law around the law provides the minimum protections to
> copyright holders as required by the Berne Convention. However, it
> does not govern how the GPL as an EULA can become a legally binding
> contract whatsoever.
The common-law-centric view of the GPL is that it is not a contract
(liability questions aside) but a conditional grant of rights, an act of
sovereign power by the copyright holder according to the following schema:
1. If you do this and this and this,
2. And you do *not* do that and that and that,
3. Then you *may* copy, distribute, and/or make derivative works;
4. But if not, and you copy, distribute, or make derivative works anyway,
5. Then you are an infringer of my copyright.
> [It] leaves you in the cold as soon as an author from a continental
> European jurisdiction retracts his or her commitment to let other
> people change his or her code basing such claims on personality rights
> which are inalienable in those jurisdictions.
This is also a risk in common-law jurisdictions. The doctrine of
promissory estoppel (roughly: that if Alice has relied on the promises of
Bob, and would suffer damages if Bob is allowed to retract them, then
Bob will be treated as a contracting party) probably prevents people from
changing the license on existing copies retroactively. But if Bob gives
proper notice that he is revoking the GPL on his software, it is pretty
unlikely that anyone thereafter is entitled to the benefits of the GPL
on that software.
MEET US AT POINT ORANGE AT MIDNIGHT BRING YOUR DUCK OR PREPARE TO FACE WUGGUMS
John Cowan http://www.reutershealth.com jcowan at reutershealth.com
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