(OT) - Major Blow to Copyleft Theory

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Mon Aug 27 12:47:04 UTC 2007

Mahesh T. Pai scripsit:

> A license is a unilateral grant of permissions; a contract is
> bilateral acceptance and imposition of obligations.

Amen.  Jurisprudence, short and sweet.

I understand why most common lawyers don't grasp this: they are so
used to seeing a license ("You can publish my book") embedded in
a contract ("You can publish my book if you pay me $5000") that the
distinction seems over-subtle.  Pointing to licenses to trespass
on land sometimes helps make the mental leap.

I don't understand why civil lawyers have so much trouble.  Methods
of contract formation aside, the unilateral/bilateral distinction
should be exactly the same.  Copyright breach is a delict, but like
lots of delicts, there can be a waiver either before or after the
fact, and it can be conditional.  Where's the contract element?

I am not a lawyer; it was my father who taught jurisprudence.

A mosquito cried out in his pain,               John Cowan
"A chemist has poisoned my brain!"              http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
        The cause of his sorrow                 cowan at ccil.org
        Was para-dichloro-
Diphenyltrichloroethane.                                (aka DDT)

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