Subject: RE: JBoss aquired by Red Hat
From: "Lawrence Rosen" <>
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 15:43:02 -0700

If I hear one more person say the GPL is a license not a contract I'm going
to scream!

     This software is licensed under the GPL.
     Click *HERE* to assent to the GPL and download the software.

Now the GPL is a contract.

Even as just a license the GPL can say "under this license, 'distribute'
includes XYZ."


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ben Tilly []
> Sent: Friday, April 28, 2006 11:03 AM
> To:
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: JBoss aquired by Red Hat
> On 4/27/06, Lawrence Rosen <> wrote:
> > > > How do you define "distributed"?
> > >
> > > I don't define it.
> > >
> > > I let lawyers do that.
> >
> > Better still, in some cases the license defines it. See sections 5 and
> 14 of
> > OSL 3.0 (
> That may confuse the issue more than it clarifies it.
> Suppose that the GPL defined distribution in such a way that putting
> the software on an employee's machine was distribution.  Suppose that
> an employer puts software on an employee's machine but is not willing
> to give that employee the source to take home.  It would appear that
> the employer was violating the GPL.  However that is not so, the GPL
> is a copyright license, not a contract.  Therefore as long as the
> employer is not doing something that requires permission under
> copyright law, the employer has no need to pay any attention to the
> GPL.  The end result is that the GPL doesn't actually mean what it
> appears to say.
> I prefer the present situation where it is clear that you have to fall
> back on the murky definitions in copyright law, rather than a
> situation where it appears that you don't, but actually you do
> anyways.
> Cheers,
> Ben