Subject: Re: JBoss aquired by Red Hat
From: "Ben Tilly" <btilly@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 17:04:48 -0700

 Fri, 28 Apr 2006 17:04:48 -0700
On 4/28/06, Lawrence Rosen <lrosen@rosenlaw.com> wrote:
> If I hear one more person say the GPL is a license not a contract I'm going
> to scream!

Please scream at Eben Moglen then.  I used to believe otherwise until
he clarified the point for me.

>      This software is licensed under the GPL.
>      Click *HERE* to assent to the GPL and download the software.
>
> Now the GPL is a contract.

This would render section 5 false, but let's leave that alone.

What consideration does the author get?

I had it pointed out to me some time ago on this list that there is
none, and without that it can't be a binding contract.  I pointed out
the indirect ways in which it might help the author (eg you're more
likely to get patches back) but was told that this was not solid
enough to count as consideration.  I don't know if that is true, but
that is my current understanding.

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

The GPL can say anything it wants.  But if it defines distribution,
and its definition of distribution did not match what is accepted in
copyright law, then the reasoning in section 5 of the GPL fails to
work, and people need not accept the license to do things that the
license tries to regulate.

Cheers,
Ben