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Re: More FSF hypocrisy


From: Rjack
Subject: Re: More FSF hypocrisy
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 06:06:23 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird 2.0.0.21 (Windows/20090302)

Keith Thompson wrote:
Rjack <address@hidden> writes: [...]
Is the license:

******************** Open Source License ***************************

You may copy, make derivative works, and distribute those works
that are based on the covered source code provided that you first murder your mother.

********************************************************************



enforceable? Of course not. It contains an illegal condition.

I am not a lawyer but I'm sure a license cannot require you to murder your mother. But one could interpret the above hypothetical license as simply saying that you may not, under any
 (legal) circumstances, copy, make derivative works, or
distribute the specified works.

Consider a license that says:

You may copy, make derivative works, and distribute those works that are based on the covered source code provided that you first
 compute to the last decimal place the value of pi.

The condition is not illegal, merely impossible. I'd say that the above is equivalent to:

You may not copy, make derivative works, or distribute those works that are based on the covered source code.

Wrong.

Since the license is strictly construed against the drafter the
license, because of promissory estoppel, would provide a defense to
copyright infringement.

If that were not the case, everybody and his brother would write a
copyright license that contained illegal or impossible (actually
"unenforceable") terms and then sue everyone who relied on it.


Just like the GPL contains an illegal condition.

And what condition would that be?

Violation of 17 USC 301. The GPL also violates contractual
privity requirements for enforceability.

Does the GPL require, as a precondition, that you commit some illegal act, or did you mean something else not covered by your analogy? Exactly what "illegal condition" does the GPL contain?



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