(U.S. only) state government question

John Cowan jcowan at reutershealth.com
Wed Feb 16 20:09:41 UTC 2005

Stephen C. North scripsit:

> Greetings.  A state government employee would like to license certain
> open source software, but believes it is impossible because its OSI
> approved license (specifically, the CPL) specifies a different state (in
> this case the State of New York) as the jurisdiction for legal claims.
> The employee says, one state can't be bound by the laws of another.

The simplest approach is to ask the licensor for an alternative license.
Since the CPL is a non-reciprocal license, there is no particular reason
why the licensor shouldn't grant the State its own license.

Baines, L (Linda) scripsit:

> What is meant to happen where an OSI licence does not specify a
> jurisdiction or law that applies?

Just what happens in any other case.  A plaintiff attempts to convince a
court that it has jurisdiction; if the court decides it does have either
exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction, the court then figures out (based
on what the plaintiff and the defendant have to say) which law to apply.
All jurisdictions have a body of law, called "conflicts law", that lay
down a set of principles for when and how to apply foreign law in that

The mere fact that a contract says "apply the law of X" doesn't compel
the courts of Y to do so, but it does make it more probable that they will.


Time alone is real                      John Cowan <jcowan at reutershealth.com>
  the rest imaginary                    http://www.reutershealth.com
like a quaternion       --phma          http://www.ccil.org/~cowan

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