RFH: GPLv3

Richard Kenner kenner@vlsi1.ultra.nyu.edu
Mon Jul 16 16:55:00 GMT 2007


> This is very tedious.

Indeed it is.  I'm going to respond to this and your next message
simultaneously and then refer you to a text on contract law.

> A license does not require the meeting of minds.

Yes, it does, since it's a contract.  But "a meeting of minds" is just a
fancy way of saying that all the parties agree to its terms.  And they
clearly do.

> > Of course software licenses have consideration: one party is getting to use
> > software and the other party is giving the conditions (very roughly
> > speaking) under which that software can be used.
> 
> No, no, no.  A consideration is an exchange of value.  It's part of a
> contract.  A license is not a contract.

A license is a contract.  "Consideration" is an exchange of *things*
of value.  The "thing" need not neccessary be tangible.  For example a
contract between two companies who each agree to link to the other on
their website has consideration even though nothing of tangible value
changes hnds: the link is of value to the receiving company and in
exchange for receiving that value, it provides the reciprocal value.
I've said above what the consideration for a software license is.

> Despite the lack of a relationship with anyone at FSF, many people do
> download GPL software an use it, in accord with the license.  They have
> a legal right to use the software.

A license is not between the user of the software and the FSF, but between
the user and who he got it from.  My TiVo contains FSF-copyrighted software
and I got a license to use it from TiVo, not the FSF.  This is important
to understand!  If A obtains software from the FSF and distributes it to
B, who distributes it to C who, in turn, distributes it to D, there is
a license between A and the FSF, B and C, C and B, and D and C.  There
is *not* normally a license between D and the FSF.  None of this is
typically important to the end user, but that is the legal structure.



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