[License-discuss] Companies that encourage license violations

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Thu Sep 17 03:32:58 UTC 2015

Pamela Chestek scripsit:

> Doesn't that mean that the word "irrevocable" is meaningless? We don't
> like words without meaning in contracts, especially one so central to
> the entire premise of free software.

It's my view (and I'm not alone in this) that the vast majority of free
software licenses are not contracts at all, and are like licenses to
enter upon land: that is, they are permissions by the owner to do things
that would otherwise be forbidden to all by the owner's proprietary rights
in the property.  As such, they are not supported by consideration and
can be revoked at the will of the licensor.  Most proprietary licenses
are not like this: the license is provided in exchange for obvious
consideration in the form of money paid by the licensee.

The licenses written by Larry truly are contracts, and are exempt from
this view of mine.

> Java BCL, anyone?

Who knows what secret source, or sauce, might underlie the current binary
releases of Java?  (The Shadow knows.)

IANA, TINLA, but this is not UPL either.

John Cowan          http://www.ccil.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
Yes, chili in the eye is bad, but so is your ear.  However, I would
suggest you wash your hands thoroughly before going to the toilet.

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