Subject: Re: Interesting POV on free software licensing
From: Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 1999 15:44:01 -0600 (MDT)

    > In any case, we have very strong reasons to oppose UCITA.
    > 
    > 1. It would provide a basis to prohibit reverse engineering of
    > proprietary software, which we *need* to be able to do.

    Isn't this mitigated by the DMCA's explicit permission to
    reverse-engineer software?

No, because the contracts established under UCITA
can prohibit what copyright law permits.
That is the whole point of UCITA: to allow the software
publishers to impose restrictions that go beyond those
of copyright law.

    If UCITA takes away what DMCA gives, then the DMCA being Federal law
    preempts UCITA (state law).

It is legally uncontroversial that contracts (governed by state law)
can bind licensees to restrictions beyond those imposed by copyright
law.  However, at present, that is possible only in situations where a
contract is negotiated and signed, not with mass-market software.

UCITA would make it easy to impose binding contracts on purchasers of
mass-market software, and these contracts could then contain such
restrictions.