(OT) - Major Blow to Copyleft Theory

Mahesh T. Pai paivakil at yahoo.co.in
Mon Aug 27 11:45:55 UTC 2007

Alexander Terekhov said on Fri, Aug 24, 2007 at 03:36:09PM +0200,:

 > The first point is important because the Free Software Foundation
 > and some lawyers have taken the position that open source licenses
 > are not contracts. They have good reasons for wishing to avoid some
 > contract formalities, but this position has complicated discussions
 > about the enforceability and remedies for open source licenses.

As I understand the FSF, they are clear in saying that the GPL is not
a contract. I am not sure what I am missing, but where does FSF say
that ``all open source licenses are not contracts''?

 > This decision does not settle the issue for the GPL because it does
 > not apply to the GPL and it is only a District Court decision,
 > (lawyers really prefer to have an appellate decision, such as from
 > the Ninth Circuit or the Supreme Court) but it does suggest how
 > courts would approach the issue.

I am afraid the quote contains a subtle spin.

The decision does not settle the issue for the GPL because it is not
concerned with the GPL.

One gets the impression that the decision does not ``settle the
issue'' for GPL because it is a District Court decision. 

 > The second point is very important because it deals with remedies.
 > Generally, the remedy for contract violations under US law is
 > damages, not "injunctive relief" (which means that the court order
 > a party to cease their violation). On the other hand, copyright
 > infringement

I am not knowledgeable about US law, but generally, in common law
countries, there are plenty of exceptions to this rule that
distinguishing between the rule and exception has become difficult.
A license is a unilateral grant of permissions; a contract is
bilateral acceptance and imposition of obligations.

 Mahesh T. Pai <<>> http://paivakil.blogspot.com/
Encryption:   A   powerful  algorithmic   encoding
            technique employed  in the creation of
            computer manuals.

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