Viral Contracts or Unenforceable Documents? Contractual Validity of Copyleft Licenses

E.I.P.R. Vol. 26, Issue 8 2004, pp.331-339, 2004

12 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2004 Last revised: 25 Sep 2022

Date Written: January 15, 2004

Abstract

This paper asks the question of whether copyleft free software licences constitute valid legal contracts, in particular with regards to the fact that it may create obligations through a distribution chain. There is increasing interest about the non-proprietary licence model expressed in popular documents such as the General Public Licence (GPL), but not enough work has been done in asking perhaps the most important question of all: are these contracts enforceable? Is there really a viral transmission of obligations? To do this the GPL licence will be analysed to try to determine whether or not the terms included are contractually valid.

Keywords: Copyleft, licences, copyright, GPL, validity, unfair terms, competition

JEL Classification: K12, K19

Suggested Citation

Guadamuz, Andres, Viral Contracts or Unenforceable Documents? Contractual Validity of Copyleft Licenses (January 15, 2004). E.I.P.R. Vol. 26, Issue 8 2004, pp.331-339, 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=569101

Andres Guadamuz (Contact Author)

University of Sussex ( email )

Falmer
Brighton, BN1 9QN
United Kingdom

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