Artistic License

Philippe Bradley philbradley at
Thu May 12 07:58:58 UTC 2011

You are being paid to distribute a file, strictly speaking the contents of
the file, and how it executes, are irrelevant to the contract. So unless the
download failed or delivered a corrupted file, your end of the contract is
upheld. You have not provided any express warranties as to the
*functioning*of the software, and I believe GPL contains a waiver of
warranties. Mind
you, consumer protection law can sometimes imply terms into contracts, ones
that can't necessarily be waived. I note that current draft EU legislation
is extending normal consumer goods law (not just, as it traditionally has
been, consumer services law) to some forms of digital content. Here's the
explanatory 'recital' to the draft as it stands:
(11e)  Digital content transmitted to the consumer in a digital format,
where the consumer obtains the possibility of use on a permanent basis or in
a way similar to the physical possession of a good, should be treated as
goods for the application of the provisions of this Directive which apply to
sales contracts. However, a withdrawal right should only apply until the
moment the consumer chooses to download the digital content.

I find this a very problematic way of phrasing things, though I by and large
welcome anything that, for example, attempts to put ebook consumers on an
equal rights footing as physical book consumers. I'm just not sure that how
they've phrased this would do that.

On 12 May 2011 08:46, Dale <netxe456 at> wrote:

> I’ve found the definitive guide to the difference between Distribution and
> License fees. It’s about GPL but I think the concept holds true for other
> open source licenses like Artistic License as well
> GNU GPL Distribution Fees and Their Limitations<>,
> by Benjamin Miller .
> which really verifies all suggestions posted in this thread and especially
> David Woolley’s one:
> >>You would probably have to only make the file
> >>downloadable after payment had been offered, otherwise it might be
> confused with
> >>a license fee.
> Hats off to David!
> So if you can sell open source software with a distribution fee
> (downloadable after payment has been offered) what happens if the software
> has a bug or fails to run in the user’s machine? Should you provide a
> refund? Like a 30day money back guarantee?
> On Thu, May 5, 2011 at 2:47 PM, Philippe Bradley <philbradley at>wrote:
>> On 5 May 2011 11:38, Dale <netxe456 at> wrote:
>> >>>"You would probably have to only make the file downloadable after
>> payment
>> >>> had been >>offered, otherwise it might be confused with a licence
>> fee."
>> > So if I set up a site and sell the package how can I be sure that I am
>> only
>> > charging for a Distribution fee? I see that the distinction is not that
>> > clear
>> I think so long as you're not restricting the rights of the recipient
>> of the software after they've been provided it (or at least, making
>> them pay to loosen restrictions on their various rights to deal with
>> it), you're in the clear.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the License-discuss mailing list