IBM/SCO/GPL (Was: Re: (L)GPL remarks and FreeGIS licensing)
eda-qa at disemia.com
Tue Aug 26 19:28:45 UTC 2003
Rui Miguel Seabra wrote:
> A software license is _NOT_ a contract (although it is somewhat
If it is not a contract, then it is nothing. Private individuals do not
have the right to draft up agreements that dictate the terms under which
another individual can live their life, or use/distribute their
software... unless that agreement is a contract.
> If you want to redistribute copies or derived works, you are also
> granted permission to do it, so long as you give the same rights to
> whoever receives to software.
I am speaking solely about distribution rights, since I agree there is a
whole unusual can of worms lurking in the "right to use" agreements,
> If you do, you don't have to agree with the author for permission to do
> it as long as you do it in a certain way.
Yes, you do have to agree with the author. The author has put his code
under the GPL, which is a grant of contract to anybody who should accept
its terms. It is an agreement between two parties.
My viewpoint comes from Canada, but I assume it is similar elsewhere. A
contract does not need to have a formal set of signatures or a witness,
indeed it doesn't even need to be written down. Oral agreements are
legally still contracts.
Based on the contracts I've had hear in Germany, and those I've received
from France, Russia, and the USA, it seems, to me, then GPL would
qualify as a contract when the code is distributed (whether it is legal
in all these contexts I am not sure).
(Point to clarify. The GPL on its own is not the contract, the contract
is the GPL + the will of the copyright holders to distribute under its
terms + the will of the recipient to accept those terms. This point is
not relevant to this discussion though.)
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