Subject: Re: Unexercisable rights
From: DJ Delorie <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 15:52:19 -0400

> I find that line of argument contrary to practical usage.  For a
> right to exist, the user must have a practical opportunity to
> exercise it.

If the vendor did something to deny that practical opportunity[1], I'd
say that was a problem.  Otherwise, caveat emptor.  The vendor is not
liable for your own misfortune.

[1] Charging $20M doesn't count, because the customer obviously
    thought the software was really worth that much, else they
    wouldn't have bought it.

> In practical terms, giving away a competitive advantage you paid
> $20M for to your competitors is a stronger bound on a company's
> actions than a proprietary license contract.

That doesn't mean that the software vendor you purchased the software
from has denied you that right.  The GPL, for example, doesn't require
that the vendor guarantee the customer the ability to redistribute,
merely that the vendor not do anything to stop them from
redistributing.  For example, if the customer doesn't have an ISP
connection, is the vendor obligated to buy them one so that they can
put the software up for ftp?  No.  Just because the vendor has given
them the right to redistribute doesn't mean that there won't be other
reasons that stop them.