MPL use of the term "condition" to masquerade "Responsibilities"

Alexander Terekhov alexander.terekhov at
Thu Dec 2 13:51:02 UTC 2010

We've been discussing/reviewing upcoming MPL lately, so I'd like to
bring the following issue to the attention of people on this list.

"2.4. Sections 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, and 3.4 are conditions of the licenses
granted in Section 2.1.

3. Responsibilities.

3.1. Distribution of Source Form.

[ ... "You must" ...]

3.2 Distribution of Executable Form.

[... "must also be made available in Source Code form" ...]

3.3 Notices.

[... "You may not" ...]

3.4 Application of Additional Terms.

[... "You must" ...]"

Now, please note that the MPL clearly states that it "represents the
complete agreement."

Everybody and his dog knows that private agreements fall under contract laws.

Under contract laws, the term condition has a well established meaning
different from contractual performance (responsibilities).

The Mozilla Foundation is a California (i.e. United States) non-profit

US Restatement of Contracts 2d, Section 224: Condition Defined

"A condition is an event, not certain to occur, which must occur,
unless its non-occurrence is excused, before performance under a
contract becomes due"

Of course the licensor may establish conditions to the license grant
such as for example:

I grant you all the rights under 17 USC 106 provided that You pay me
10 dollars, and You agree to pay 1 dollar every 30 days while the
license grant remains in effect.

Here the payment of 10 dollars is condition to the license grant (the
grant itself is the licensor performance under contract) and recurring
payment of 1 dollar is the licensee's obligation (licensee's
performance under contract).

It is not an obligation/responsibility of potential licensee to pay
initial 10 dollars however.

No payment, no license grant. Simple as that.

On the other hand, the MPL's "Responsibilities" just can't be
fulfilled without license grant being in effect and hence just can't
be conditions under US Restatement of Contracts 2d, Section 224.

So what am missing here?


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