GPL - "Viral" License or "Viral" Contract

Eduard Szattler

Abstract

  Version 3 of the GPL, the most widely used free software license, has been
publicly debated since January 2006 and its second draft is already available.
Among the most discussed novelties belong Digital Rights Management and
Patent Retaliation clauses. However, there are still a few legal issues which are less
talked about, yet not properly resolved both in Europe and overseas. While in the
United States GPL is considered by some a unilateral software license, pursuant to
many national regulations outside U.S., including those of Czech republic and
Slovakia, GPL is a contract. Such a fairly unimportant difference may lead to
interesting legal questions regarding validity and enforceability of GPL around the
globe.

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