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Re: Using non-GPL libraries in a GPL program

From: rjack
Subject: Re: Using non-GPL libraries in a GPL program
Date: Fri, 06 Jun 2008 15:53:41 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20080421)

David Kastrup wrote:
rjack <> writes:

A unenforceable license is very useful, without a license, you cannot
do anything.

Well, here is a quote for you from the GPL:

      9. Acceptance Not Required for Having Copies.

      You are not required to accept this License in order to receive or
    run a copy of the Program.  Ancillary propagation of a covered work
    occurring solely as a consequence of using peer-to-peer transmission
    to receive a copy likewise does not require acceptance.  However,
    nothing other than this License grants you permission to propagate or
    modify any covered work.  These actions infringe copyright if you do
    not accept this License.  Therefore, by modifying or propagating a
    covered work, you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so.

A license you need not accept is not enforceable, obviously.  It is the
choice of the recipient whether or not he wants to use the license.  If
he does, he has to heed its terms.  If he doesn't, he is restricted to
what copyright law allows him.

Sigh... The semantic maneuvering some individuals employ to deny that a license is a contract is simply amazing. Perhaps it would be helpful to observe the underlying legal and ontological foundations of "license".

Well, here is a quote for you from the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit:

"Whether express or implied, a license is a contract 'governed by ordinary principles of state contract law.'"; McCoy v. Mitsuboshi Cutlery, Inc., 67. F.3d 917, (United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit 1995)

If you examine the ruling above you see "a license is a contract". Notice the existential "is"? [N.1] No amount of tortured verbiage will alter this fact -- that a LICENSE "is" a CONTRACT.

Now, all this smarmy word salad ("Ancillary propagation", "peer-to-peer transmission", "propogation") concerning contingent existence in paragraph 9 of the GPL is Moglen-Stallman blather.

Look to contract law. A necessary and sufficient condition that a license exist is that an enforceable I.P. contract exist.

It is really easy to repeat several times, "a license is a contract"...
"a license is a contract"..."a license is a contract". The word c-o-n-t-r-a-c-t will soon flow smoothly from your lips. A short time thereafter, you will be admired by your peers as a consummate professional!

[N.1] If you're William Jefferson Clinton this could depend on
what the meaning of "is" is.

Rjack :)

--- "Although the United States Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. ยงยง 101- 1332, grants exclusive jurisdiction for infringement claims to the federal courts, those courts construe copyrights as contracts and turn to the relevant state law to interpret them."; Automation by Design, Inc. v. Raybestos Products Co., 463 F.3d 749, (United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit 2006) ---

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