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Re: choice of law clauses and GPL

From: Tim Smith
Subject: Re: choice of law clauses and GPL
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 13:34:52 -0700
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.5.3b2 (Intel Mac OS X)

In article <>,
 "Alfred M. Szmidt" <> wrote:

>    On the licenses list at, there are several licenses in the
>    "free but not GPL compatible" list that appear to be incompatible
>    because they contain a choice of law clause.
>    Why would a choice of law clause make a license incompatible with
>    GPL?
> Because they add additional terms that are not in the GNU GPL.

It's additional restrictions that make a license incompatible, not 
merely additional terms. If the additional terms weren't restrictions, 
they would be OK.

I don't see why choice of law clauses would necessarily be additional 
restrictions. To me, it seems they are more like definitions. They are 
telling you that the meaning of the license is interpreted under a 
particular established law. If the license, when interpreted under that 
law, does not impose any additional restrictions, why couldn't it be GPL 

Note that a choice of law clause doesn't mean that any disputes must be 
litigated in the courts of the jurisdiction whose law is specified. The 
courts of one state or country are willing and able to apply the law of 
another state and country when handling a contract or license case.

--Tim Smith

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