[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: GPLed Software Expiration Date

From: rjack
Subject: Re: GPLed Software Expiration Date
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2007 12:01:39 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20071031)

Richard Tobin wrote:
In article <>,
Koh Choon Lin <> wrote:

I would like to find out how long would a software be under the GNU
GPL before it expires and transfers to the public domain. Forever?

The GPL gives you the right to copy something that copyright law would
otherwise restrict you from.  So the issue is how long copyright lasts
in your country.

-- Richard

Assuming the GPL is an enforceable contract -- it isn't -- the permissions would last for thirty five years, which is the maximum duration of an "irrevocable" copyright license. See 17 USC § 203(a)(3)).

The GPL license is irrevocable for two reasons. Both reasons are
the result of the terms of distribution under GPL § 2(b), which defines a class of intended third party intended beneficiaries:

"b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License."

The phrase "all third parties" defines a class of intended third party beneficiaries that includes all persons *except* the original contracting parties.

The first reason the GPL is irrevocable is a lack of Article III legal standing for the licensors, since the intended beneficiaries of GPL § 2(b) are "all third parties" and therefore the licensors can suffer no injury from a violation of the § 2(b) terms.

The second reason is because third party beneficiary contracts are irrevocable after the third party benefits are vested.

"The right to rescind or modify a third party beneficiary contract, without the assent of the beneficiary, ceases once the contract is accepted, adopted or acted upon by the third party. The rights of the third party "vest" when he learns of the initial contract and assents to it or materially changes his position in justifiable reliance on
it or brings suit on it."; Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 311(3).



reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]