Subject: Re: the provide, license verbs (was: Dual licensing)
From: Rick Moen <>
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2004 08:33:15 -0700

Quoting Marius Amado Alves (
> Sam Barnett-Cormack wrote:

> >The author gives me a copy of the software...
> Under no license?

Marius, if you receive a piece of software encumbered by copyright (as
essentially all useful software is), you have the implied right to use
and (if needed) compile the software -- as provided by copyright
statute.  Other rights such as the right of redistribution, and the
creation and distribution of derivative works, are by default reserved
to the copyright holder.

So, if you (lawfully) acquire a piece of software, you have a bundle of
rights by statutory action, by default.  Upon acquiring it, you might
find a licence grant from the copyright holder that is contingent on a
stated set of obligations.  If the obligations don't appeal to you,
nothing requires you to accept the licence, but then you possess only
the rights conveyed by statute (e.g., no right of redistribution).

Copyright owners who don't want recipients to have that option often
resort to clipwrap agreements (an intended instrument of contract law),
instead.  (There are other reasons some authors prefer such instruments,
but that's a different discussion.)

Cheers,                                            Rehab is for quitters.
Rick Moen
license-discuss archive is at