IBM/SCO/GPL (Was: Re: (L)GPL remarks and FreeGIS licensing)

edA-qa mort-ora-y eda-qa at
Wed Aug 27 17:13:43 UTC 2003

Alex Hudson wrote:
> No, it's definitely not a contract. Copyright gives you a certain group
> of rights. The GPL is basically waiving some of those rights (granting
> the rights to the user) under certain conditions. A contract is a
> two-way thing, a licence is a one-way thing (i.e., a grant from licensor
> to licensee). 

I found a few references indicating that a license is a form of a contract:

Check definition "license":

And under here, it gives a few examples of how the "use rights" can be 
defined as a contract:

Further government information likes to use the terms "agreement" as 
well, but in the Contract Law it uses the term "agreement" to define a 
contract.  At best, the distrinction between a Copyright License and a 
Contract in Canada is unclear, leaning towards treating the license as a 

But the GPL is not a one-way grant, because it puts additional onuses on 
you, should you wish to distribute it.  Most licenses are also two-way: 
I grant you permission to copy, and you give me money.  If you have 
truly created a condition free grant, that is still similar to a Deed 
Contract in Canada (though those have to be done "under seal").

> Ah, assignment of copyright is something completely different. In the
> above, we're not assigning the copyright - we're licensing it. We still

Sorry, slip of the hands, I meant licensing, not assignment, in many 
countries you aren't even allowed to assign your copyright (like in 
Germany -- but don't tell GEMA that, useless bastards).

edA-qa mort-ora-y
Idea Architect

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