Bill Jonas on Wed, 17 Oct 2001 20:50:13 +0200

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Re: [PLUG] BSA offering a grace period

On Wed, Oct 17, 2001 at 01:44:35PM -0400, Fred K Ollinger wrote:
> IMHO, the GPL should be as legally binding as the other shrink-wrap
> 'contracts' especially b/c we never sign them nor even click through
> them as MS comes pre-installed.

The difference, though, is that you're not required to accept the terms
of the GPL in order to *use* the software or the source code.

>From the GPL itself:
    5.  You are not required to accept this License, since you have not
    signed it. However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or
    distribute the Program or its derivative works. These actions are
    prohibited by law if you do not accept this License. Therefore, by
    modifying or distributing the Program (or any work based on the
    Program), you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and
    all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying
    the Program or works based on it.

So you can use GPL'd software without agreeing to a single thing.  If
you try to redistribute, copyright law prohibits that.  If you accept
the terms of the GPL, though, *then* you can redistribute.  Keep in mind
that the GPL is not a *usage* license like a EULA tries to be; rather,
it's a *distribution* license.

At least, that's the way it's supposed to work.  It's never been tested
in court.  It *is* effective, though, since companies don't want the
negative PR that comes from violating it, and they generally quickly
comply if it's brought to their attention that they are violating it.

Keep in mind that this is legal theory, and I am not a lawyer.  This is
far from legal advice.  If you want legal advice, contact a lawyer
licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. ;-)

Bill Jonas    *    *
"They that can give up  essential  liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."        -- Benjamin Franklin
If encryption is outlawed, bayl bhgynjf jvyy unir rapelcgvba.

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