Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Wed Jan 17 19:08:43 UTC 2007

Rod Dixon wrote:
> The original post requires an answer that is a little more nuanced than
> John's answer.  "Acceptance" of the terms of a contractual agreement -
> i.e. a software license

It's highly controversial whether software licenses are governed by
contract law (at least in the U.S.).  The FSF's stance is that the GPL
is solely a copyright license, governed by copyright law.

> For discussion purposes, if an end-user can "run" software (meaning use
> it as an executable) without being bound by a license, then the default
> rules of Copyright law should apply (in the U.S.) and that means the
> software is not open source for the end-user  since copyright law does
> not make software open source by default.

Software is open source if the user can choose an open source license.
It's true that it's not open source for *them* unless/until they accept
the license, but as long as they have the right to do so, it's open
source in general.

  If leaving the default rules
> of copyright controlling is intended by the copyright holder

This is an illogical hypothetical.  If you want default (plain)
copyright, you should have no license.

Matthew Flaschen

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