Subject: RE: Public domain mistake?
From: "Lawrence E. Rosen" <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2004 13:42:00 -0800

Daniel,

I don't think your analysis is correct. Promissory estoppel is a contract
doctrine that has nothing to do with a bare license like the GPL. 

/Larry Rosen

> -----Original Message-----
> From: daniel wallace [mailto:danw6144@insightbb.com] 
> Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 12:27 PM
> To: license-discuss@opensource.org
> Subject: Public domain mistake? 
> 
> 
> 
> Under Utah law, the elements of promissory estoppel are:
> 
> (1) The promisee acted with prudence and in reasonable
>     reliance on a promise made by the promisor;
>     
> (2) the promisor knew that the promisee had relied on
> the promise which the promisor should reasonably expect
> to induce action or forbearance on the part of the promisee
> or a third person;
> 
> (3) the promisor was aware of all material facts; and
>  
> (4) the promisee relied on the promise and the reliance 
> resulted in a loss to the promisee.
> 
> --- J.R. Simplot Co. v. Sales King Int'l, Inc., 17 P.3d 1100, 
> Utah 2000)
>  
> In the citation above, I was thinking of the GPL, but it 
> seems it would apply to open source licenses generally.
>  
> If there exists a mistaken presumption of law (not material 
> fact) which preempts or voids an open source license 
> agreement and the source code has been widely distributed 
> under that license, the copyrighted code permissions would 
> exist in the public domain for all practical purpose.
>  
> Anyone who could show they had invested time and effort in 
> reliance on promised copyright permissions could claim 
> promissory estoppel to continue developing and expanding 
> projects into the future.
> 
> RMS would be rather disappointed. Microsoft would be happy.
>    
> 
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