[ILUG] Interesting article on free software licences
rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Oct 7 18:40:03 IST 2002
Quoting David Neary (dneary at wanadoo.fr):
> For the francophones among you, this article is a summary of the
> reasons why most free software licences (and the GPL in
> particular) are not valid in France.
The author assumes, as seemingly does your commentary, that a software
licence must of necessity be a _contract_. Copyright lawyers often rush
to this conclusion upon encountering free-software licensing, because
that's what they're used to seeing in proprietary licences.
However, many if not most free / open-source software licences have
primarily the form of a grant of non-default rights otherwise reserved
to the owner by his copyright monopoly -- which is not a contract.
> Also there's some stuff about French consumer law forbidding sale
> without guarantee of anything, so software delivered as-is
> breaches consumer law in France.
Nor is it a sale.
All of these matters are of course potentially subject to the outcome
of litigation. IANAFOAOKOL. TINLA. (I am not a French or any other
kind of lawyer. This is not legal advice.)
All of this analysis replicates many prior, lengthy discussions on
license-discuss at opensource.org (not to mention
debian-legal at lists.debian.org), where follow-ups should probably be
 The default grant of rights, if you lawfully receive an instance of
a piece of software with no explicit licence, is proprietary. That is,
the rights to redistribute and to create derivative works are reserved
to the copyright holder by default operation of copyright law. This is
why "freeware" issued without explicit permissions grants is technical
proprietary even with source code, and why free / open-source licences
exist to modify the default grant.
Cheers, "Open your present...."
Rick Moen "No, you open your present...."
rick at linuxmafia.com Kaczinski Christmas.
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