For Approval: GPLv3

Chris Travers chris at
Fri Aug 31 19:12:18 UTC 2007

Raj Mathur wrote:
> On Friday 31 August 2007 23:09, Chris Travers wrote:
>> I think this point is sort of misunderstood.  Basically, the GPL3
>> operates as an agreement over distribution of works.  It is a
>> contract (according to footnotes in the Rationale Document or the
>> Second Draft). And therefore it specifies a specific relationship
>> between the licensor and the recipient based on the licensor's
>> original offer of
>> permissions.  This license does not allow for third parties to the
>> licensing process as do others.
> Can you specify precisely where in the Rationale it states that the 
> GPLv3 is a contract?  The canonical copy is available at 
> as a PDF file, page and section numbers 
> would be useful.  Thanks.

Draft 1 included a section entitled "Not a Contract."  THis is also the 
title of section 2.10 of the "Rationale or First Discussion Draft" 
document.  THis was changed to "Acceptance Not Required for Having Copies."

Footnote 77 of the Rationale Document for the Second Draft explains the 
"     We received a number of forceful objections to the title of 
section 9 of Draft1, princi-
pally from lawyers. This surprised us, since our section titles were not 
intended to have
legal significance, and, moreover, the content of section 9 was 
essentially unchanged from
section 5 of GPLv2. We have changed the title of section 9 to one that 
summarizes the
first sentence of the section.
   Section 9 means what it says: mere receipt or execution of code 
neither requires nor
signifies contractual acceptance under the GPL. Speaking more broadly, 
we have inten-
tionally structured our license as a unilateral grant of copyright 
permissions, the basic
operation of which exists outside of any law of contract. Whether and 
when a contractual
relationship is formed between licensor and licensee under local law do 
not necessarily
matter to the working of the license."

IANAL, but my reading of this means that it creates an adherence 
contract but that the point when this occurs is not important to GPL3.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers
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