a proposed change to the OSD

Dr. David Alan Gilbert gilbertd at treblig.org
Sat Oct 26 22:40:50 UTC 2002

* Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. (rod at cyberspaces.org) wrote:
> Calling an open source license a gift is nice semantics, but I am unsure
> what else that description gets us...
> Try asking yourself what is the remedy for breach/violation of an open
> source license that the copyright holder/licensor can pursue? In answering
> the question, it is not enough to say that no one will violate the license;
> I am asking a "what if" question (and, truth be told, open source licenses
> occasionally are violated).

I think the problem a lot of us have with clickwrap licenses and the
like is that we aren't lawyers and we can't necessarily understand all
the details of the licenses.  I for one can't be sure I'd know how to
word the click wrapping and/or how to present it; it brings lots of
issues with it - what happens about applications in multiple languages? 
What happens with packages that are automatically installed as part of
another unrelated package? What about ones which get installed as part
of an automatic upgrade?  These things get complex.

Also from the users perspective; a large company might ban an employee
from accepting a license without the company lawyer seeing it - we don't
want to restrict peoples use of open source software like that.
Also from a personal perspective I could potentially be faced with the
problem of spending an hour reading over a license; and I'm not a lawyer
so I might not see all the implications!

Perhaps one of the answers to your question is that since the suggestion
is that no restrictions on the >use< of the software is allowable then
there is no way that a user would be able to break the license and
therefore no need to worry about remedy.

The only possible way that such a license could be broken is in the
creation of a derivative work or by copying it.  Now while it is
potentially possible to present a license at startup of an application
(and thus on first use) it is not possible to present a license to
someone before they copy or modify a work.  For example they can copy a
CD with my code on without my code ever being run; indeed they can
modify it without it ever being run in its original form.

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