(U.S. only) state government question

John Cowan jcowan at reutershealth.com
Wed Feb 16 22:44:55 UTC 2005

Alex Bligh scripsit:

> I am not especially familiar with US law, but if the license is interpreted
> as a contract to license (& perhaps otherwise), and the jurisdiction clause
> is prohibited, I see no particular reason why it shouldn't be considered
> severable and the license then would fall under the jurisdiction mandated
> by whatever statute mandates the above principle (so presumably the
> jurisdiction of the contracting state).

Presumably yes.  What makes the CPL (and certain other licenses such as
the QPL) peculiar is that they are usable by any licensor, but reflect
the *license drafter's* home law rather than the licensor's.

This is plausible from the viewpoint of the drafter, who can't be expected
to predict how a random foreign jurisdiction would interpret the license;
but it is a question whether, given a licensor in jurisdiction A and a
licensee in jurisdiction B, neither of them New York, whether the courts
of either A or B will apply New York law just because the CPL says to do so.

> Another question stemming from unfamiliarity with US law: is there a
> confusion here between governing law, and jurisdiction?

Good point, which I meant to mention but forgot to.  The CPL specifies
only the governing law.  Some other licenses, like the AFL and the QPL,
also specify the jurisdiction.  (The AFL makes the governing law and the
jurisdiction the licensor's.)

I don't know half of you half as well           John Cowan
as I should like, and I like less than half     jcowan at reutershealth.com
of you half as well as you deserve.             http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
        --Bilbo                                 http://www.reutershealth.com

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