Fwd: (OT) - Major Blow to Copyleft Theory

Walter van Holst walter.van.holst at gmail.com
Mon Aug 27 23:56:08 UTC 2007

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Walter van Holst <walter.van.holst at gmail.com>
Date: Aug 28, 2007 12:43 AM
Subject: Re: (OT) - Major Blow to Copyleft Theory
To: Arnoud Engelfriet <arnoud at engelfriet.net>

On 8/27/07, Arnoud Engelfriet <arnoud at engelfriet.net> wrote:
> As a civil lawyer, the main problem for me is that even the simplest
> interaction between the parties creates a contract.
> "Would you like a cookie?" - "Yes."
> Offer, acceptance - contract.
> "It's raining, why don't you come in?" - "Great, thanks!"
> Offer, acceptance - contract.
A contract is a written agreement. What the Americans on this list call a
'bare license' is what we would call a unilateral obligation. The situations
you just described are just that: unilateral obligations to provide a cookie
or shelter against rain. And mind you, the title under which the ownership
of the cookie is transferred to the cookie's recipient is not a purchase,
but a gift. I do agree that in most instances of unilateral obligations
there is still some form of acceptance and therefore an agreement, but some
forms of 'bare licensing' are conceivable. I am actually rather surprised by
this case, the Artistic License comes close to what even under civil law
might constitute a solely unilateral obligation of not conditionally
refraining to exercise one's copyrights. With the exception of its warranty
clause, the licensee does not surrender any rights whatsoever and since the
type of work one would apply the Artistic License to does not tend to carry
any implied warranty anyway, it can be argued that there is no material
surrender of any licensee's rights to the licensor.


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