Russ Allbery <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
>Ben Tilly <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:
> > "Bradley M. Kuhn" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> > MY understanding after having talked to a number of licensing experts
> > about it in other places is that the GPL is both a copyright license and
> > a contract.
> > For instance look at item 5.  A copyright license is a license written
> > by the copyright holder.  There is no accepting or not accepting it.
> > But a contract is an agreement, it must be accepted.  The GPL is
> > something with terms and conditions that you may or may not choose to
> > accept.  If you do not accept the contract then you do not have any
> > right to the freedoms it can grant.
>That's the way it's phrased, but I think it's somewhat unclear whether
>that makes it a real contract.  Real contracts tend to require signatures
>(or a click on "I Accept," which I expect to have similar force in law
>due to the number of people with money who are using that).  EULAs may
>get a special legal exception due to the money behind the organizations
>that want EULAs to work, but free software licenses can't take advantage
>of that in general.  EULAs are generally placed on a sealed envelope so
>that there's some physical action that can be pointed to as an act of
>acceptance, and the equivalents for free software involve really annoying
>distribution hassles like MIT used to have to do for Kerberos and which we
>really don't want to get into.

The status *is* unclear.  However at one point I
mentioned to people who should know that I thought
that the GPL was intended to be a copyright statement
with an offer of contract, and I was told in no
uncertain terms that I had hit the nail on the head.

A very good article on the topic even if the lawsuits
discussed didn't actually happen:

I would wager that if the FSF does ever take one of
these to court, their claim will be that the GPL is a
contract, and they will seek relief under the
applicable law for contracts, not copyright violation.

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