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Re: Open source licenses are /actually/ contracts?!?

From: Tim Tyler
Subject: Re: Open source licenses are /actually/ contracts?!?
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 20:48:00 GMT
User-agent: Thunderbird 2.0a1 (Windows/20060724)

Arnoud Engelfriet wrote:
On 2007-08-28, Tim Tyler <> wrote:

Users do not agree to *anything* by the act of
copying something.  The worst that can happen
is that they can subsequently be sued for copyright
violation - since the user can simply claim that they
never bothered to read the license.

I agree with the principle, but the catch is that by using software
without agreeing to the license, you're probably willfully
infringing the copyright. If it's a registered copyright, that
means the statutory damages can run up to $150,000. I'd have to
sell my house if I got hit with that kind of sum.

What proportion of OSS developers register their work with
the United States Copyright Office, I wonder.

Doesn't that involve a nonrefundable filing fee of
of $35 for each application?

Also, how often does $150,000 actually get awarded
in free software cases?

The article at the top seems to say that getting very much
in the way of damages is unlikely - since the cost of the
software is low:

``For broken contracts, the remedy is damages - whatever it would
  take to put the plaintiff in the position he would have been in
  had the contract been fully performed. Since this is usually
  money, many providers of open source software would get the
  shaft, since they don't expect any remuneration for the copying
  of the software.''
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