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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- ACT vs GPLv3

From: rjack
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- ACT vs GPLv3
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2007 22:13:14 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20070716)

Alexander Terekhov wrote:
Washington, DC Office 1401 K Street NW | Suite 502 Washington, DC

Brussels Office Square de Meeus, 35 B-1000 Brussels Belgium

(emphasis removed below)

------ Can the GPLv3 Make Microsoft Grant Patent Licences to the Free
Software Community?

Reference 13 in the quoted work above demonstrates the gibberish
generated by Eben Moglen and the FSF:

"Licenses are not contracts: the work's user is obliged to remain within
the bounds of the license not because she voluntarily promised, but
because she doesn't have any right to act at all except as the license

*13 Eben Moglen, Free Software Matters: Enforcing the GPL I, Linux User
August 12, 2001 [hereinafter “Enforcing the GPL”], webcited at or

Here are the real facts:

(1) A contract is an agreement between two distinct parties that is
legally binding (enforceable) in a court of law.

(2) If a legal dispute concerning a copyright license arises, then by
definition it involves two distinct legal parties – else there is no
dispute – everyone can go home and have a nice hot cup of coffee.

(3) If the license is binding (enforceable) then the legal definition of
contract has necessarily been met. If the agreement is unenforceable
then no valid license ever existed.

Conclusion: If a valid copyright license exists it is by legal
definition a contract.

People tend to head down a slippery slope by attempting to analyze what
kind of contract best describes the copyright license.

The law of contracts is very, very extensive. The Restatement (Second)
of Contracts, a concise summary, contains 385 sections alone.

The standard classifications are express and implied contracts;
bilateral and unilateral contracts; executory and executed contracts;
valid, void, voidable, and unenforceable contracts; and quasi-contracts.
To try to fit these classifications into simplified standard elements of
agreement, consideration, legal capacity, lawful subject matter, and
genuine consent is nearly impossible. These classifications seem to have
almost infinite variations in contract interpretation case law.

No matter which type of contract best describes a copyright license it
is still a contract. Alleging a license is not a contract is like
alleging a “dispute” involving only a single legal party – it doesn’t
even make logical sense.


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