Subject: Re: Licenses for "Running"
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 06 Jun 2001 11:23:13 -0700

Adam Theo <> writes:

> Ian Lance Taylor <>:
>     My understanding is that it is unclear whether EULA are legally
>     enforceable in the U.S.  My vague recollection is that one case said
>     they were valid, and several cases said they were not.  The UCITA,
>     which has been passed in two or three states, says that they are
>     valid.  Most people act as though they are valid.  Microsoft certainly
>     does, although it generally uses market pressure rather than legal
>     pressure to enforce its licenses.
> oh, ok. i didn't mean to use Microsoft specifically. i didn't know
> about EULA's. so, re-read my post, substituting 'Microsoft' for some
> other software development company you know of that uses Copyright
> Licenses instead of EULA's. thanks! wow, learning alot today!   :)

My comments still apply.  Basically all proprietary software companies
use either an EULA or an explicit signed contract which restricts
redistribution and, in many cases, use.  This is true even though the
status of EULA's in law is unclear.

> so, it can basically be said that although 'Usage Licenses' exist
> (those EULA's), the only 'sure-fire' way of managing what happens to
> your published code is using Copyright Liceses, since EULA's are not
> well defined in the court system here in the U.S.? they are a grey
> zone for now?

I'm finding it hard to agree with you.  Since so many companies use
EULA's, and since they are so familiar, most people find them to be a
perfectly reasonable way to control code.  Copyright agreements are
rarely, perhaps never, used outside the free software community.  Most
proprietary software vendors want to control use of the software in
various ways.  Most proprietary software vendors do not want to permit
the fair use exceptions which copyright permits.  This is true despite
the dubious legal status of EULA's.

Another possibility, or course, is a signed contract between the buyer
and the vendor which is often used for expensive software.  The
difference between this and an EULA is that the EULA is seen after the
item is purchased, while the contract is seen before.

> hm... so right now, for software (or other electronic media) there are
> 'Copyright Licenses' (such as proprietary licenses and the GPL, etc.),
> and 'Usage Licenses' (the various EULA's used by microsoft and
> others).

Yes, and there are normal contracts.