Subject: Re: the provide, license verbs (was: Dual licensing)
From: Rick Moen <>
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2004 11:20:58 -0700

Quoting Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. (

> I essentially agree with Rick's comment, but it may be somewhat misleading. 
> I suspect a copyright holder who issues a license would argue that the 
> license changes everything. As such, if you are in lawful possession of 
> software that is accompanied by a license, you are restricted to accepting 
> the terms of the license or rejecting them. That's it.

I suppose it might depend on the facts of the case.  I had in mind the
sort of situation where you download a source tarball, unpack it, and
find source code with a copyright notice and (say) a GPLv2 "COPYING"
file, which states as clause 5:

   You are not required to accept this License, since you have not
   signed it.  However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or
   distribute the Program or its derivative works.  These actions are
   prohibited by law if you do not accept this License.  Therefore, by
   modifying or distributing the Program (or any work based on the
   Program), you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and
   all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying
   the Program or works based on it.  

Of course, the GPL authors' surmise about how licensing works may be
mistaken, and I imagine a judge would look at the facts of the case to
determine the intent of the parties.

Cheers,                            Ceterum censeo, Caldera delenda est.
Rick Moen  
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