[License-discuss] Open Source Eventually License Development

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Sun Aug 18 07:01:27 UTC 2013

Eben Moglen scripsit:

> Yes, it is simple.  I am asserting that in no meaningful sense is your
> agreement "enforceable," if during the period of the proprietary
> agreement your promisor revokes and refuses to issue the program under
> free license.  

That surely won't work, but it's not what I take Larry to be describing.
Rather, he is talking about a contract which grants the right *to the
licensee* to distribute copies of his copy under the GPL, provided
he does so not earlier than one year (or whatever) after the contract
is formed.  This is no more objectionable than for me to sell you the
right to publish my book, provided that you don't do so before 2015.
When 2015 rolls around, you can go ahead and publish with no further
action on my part, though if you publish in 2014 you are violating
my copyright.

So there is no question of the licensee suing the licensor for failing
to license.  The license already exists.  Rather, the licensor would have
to sue the licensee for copyright violation, in which case the licensee
would point to the terms of the contract.

> But the resemblance is hardly accidental.

Saying that Larry's resemblance to a first-year law student is "hardly
accidental" is hardly civil; in fact, it's downright insulting.

John Cowan    cowan at ccil.org    http://ccil.org/~cowan
Half the lies they tell about me are true.
        --Tallulah Bankhead, American actress

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