Subject: Limited Liability License---is it free?
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 11:30:13 +0900 (JST)

Suppose we add to a free license

    Section (LL):  Indemnification for damages

    If you redistribute this program under the terms of this License,
    verbatim or in modified form, you agree to indemnify the party from
    whom you received it for all liability, direct or consequential, due
    to damage to third parties who have received a copy from you, directly
    or indirectly, that might be determined in a court of law.

The point being that a declaration of "no warrantee" will not be
acceptable in a commercial product, so this clause is required to
protect the commercial vendor from cascades of liability based on
redistribution of the software.

(1) Is the license still free?

(2) None of the existing licenses seems to have such a clause, but
they all seem to be designed for "charity software", where copies are
put up for free on a web server.  Arguably that would then cover say
Red Hat charging substantial fees for its shrinkwrap package, since
"we're obviously not selling a license to our Linux distribution,
since you can get it for free on the web server, we're selling
something else".

But for a custom version sold to a single customer and then
redistributed by that customer, one has to suspect that a court might
find that the "NO WARRANTY" provision of the GPL is void: because
_something_ was sold, and that version is not available to the general
public from the original vendor, the statement that "license wasn't
sold" is merely obfuscation of the true content of the contract.

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