Viral Contracts or Unenforceable Documents? Contractual Validity of Copyleft Licenses
E.I.P.R. Vol. 26, Issue 8, pp.331-339, 2004
20 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2004
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: Suggested Citation