Subject: Contracts vs. bare licenses (was RE: Change ot topic, back to OVPL)
From: Alex Bligh <>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 11:12:52 +0100


--On 24 August 2005 17:25 -0700 Lawrence Rosen <> wrote:

> 1) The OSL is a license, not a contract. If you want a contract out of the
> OSL or the OVPL or any other license, you generally need to get assent.
> That's what turns it into a contract. So don't distinguish the OSL from
> other licenses on that basis. Any license without assent is probably just
> a bare license.

Let's just put aside the OVPL for a moment (hence I'm replying to your
email in two separate threads).

I'm very confused by this. I quote from the top of p181 of your book:
	"Both the OSL and the AFL are unilateral contracts."

Obviously one obligation of the offeror under such a unilateral contract
is, conditional upon acceptance by any offeree (which in general can be
anyone) and their compliance with any conditions therein, to grant a
licence to the accepting offeree. But the "license" document seems to me to
be a promise to grant a license, subject to various conditions. As you
spend a long time pointing out in your book, in order for there to be a
contract, the license has to be framed in terms of offer, acceptance &
consideration. You go on to describe why the AFL and OSL are framed that
way, as opposed to bare licenses such as the GPL and MPL (and, though it's
not mentioned in your book, the CDDL).

The reason I'm curious (and thus not just trying to pick holes in what
you said) is that we seriously considered framing the OVPL in contractual
terms (which would have involved adding a contractual framework like the
OSL on top of the CDDL). We didn't, because despite its attractions from
an enforcement point of view, we wanted to keep changes to a minimum.