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The GPL meets the UCC: does free software come with a warranty of no infringement?

The GPL disclaimer carefully abides by Section 2-316. (218) The GPL avoid making express warranties, simply by not making any. (219) The GPL excludes also all implied warranties. (220) First, it explicitly states that "...WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE." (221) Second, the GPL explicitly provides that the software is provided "AS IS." (222) Under 2-316(3)(a), that likewise excludes all implied warranties. (223) This belt-and-suspender approach thoroughly excludes all express and implied warranties. (224) One might think that a warranty must be either express or implied, so an exclusion of all express and implied warranties would include all warranties. (225) But, under U.C.C. Article 2, warranties go beyond those express and implied. (226) The U.C.C. defines its terms with specificity, not always with the meaning that one would ordinarily expect. (227) In the world of the U.C.C., a bank account is not an "account," (228) cattle may be "equipment," (229) and a consignment is not a "consignment" if it is known to be a consignment. (230)

Under the UCC scheme, there is another set of warranties, which are neither express nor implied warranties:

[section] 2-312. WARRANTY OF TITLE AND AGAINST INFRINGEMENT; BUYER'S OBLIGATION AGAINST INFRINGEMENT.

(1) Subject to subsection (2) there is in a contract for sale a warranty by the seller that

(a) the title conveyed shall be good, and its transfer rightful; and

(b) the goods shall be delivered free from any security interest or other lien or encumbrance of which the buyer at the time of contracting has no knowledge.

(2) A warranty under subsection (1) will be excluded or modified only by specific language or by circumstances which give the buyer reason to know that the person selling does not claim title in himself or that he is purporting to sell only such right or title as he or a third person may have.

(3) Unless otherwise agreed a seller who is a merchant regularly dealing in goods of the kind warrants that the goods shall be delivered free of the rightful claim of any third person by way of infringement or the like but a buyer who furnishes specifications to the seller must hold the seller harmless against any such claim which arises out of compliance with the specifications. (231)

Section 2-312 first provides a warranty so fundamental that it is often overlooked. (232) Seller effectively promises, "These goods are mine to sell." (233) If the goods belong to someone else, Seller will breach that warranty of title to Buyer. (234) Because a buyer would normally expect such a warranty of ownership, the UCC provides that it is not excluded by a general exclusion of warranty, rather "will be excluded or modified only by specific language or by circumstances which give the buyer reason to know that the person selling does not claim title." (235) In other words, if the goods may not belong to Seller, Seller must make that quite clear with specific language. (236) A general warranty disclaimer, such as "As-Is" or "WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED" will not exclude the warranty of title. (237) As the Official Comment states,
   The warranty of subsection (1) is not designated as an "implied"
   warranty, and hence is not subject to Section 2-316(3). Disclaimer
   of the warranty of title is governed instead by subsection (2),
   which requires either specific language or the described
   circumstances. (238)


Suppose an art dealer had a painting to sell. The dealer was aware that there was a claim to ownership of the painting (that it was conveyed under an invalid will or it was wrongfully misappropriated during the war or the painting had been loaned or ....). The art dealer believes the claim is baseless, but you never know. The art dealer could sell the painting and disclaim the warranty of title. To do so, the sales contract would have to say quite specifically that there was no warranty of title. A general disclaimer, such as "As-Is" or "No Warranties" would be insufficient. Buyers expect to own what they buy. If the seller is to avoid making that basic promise, the U.C.C. requires her to warn the buyer with specific language. Seller says "I'll sell you whatever rights I have in this, but the risk is on you that it actually belongs to someone else."

In addition to Seller promising that the goods will become Buyer's personal property, Seller promises that Buyer's use of the goods will not violate anyone's intellectual property rights. (239) This is the warranty of property rights that is important for software. (240) Section 2-312(3) creates a warranty of noninfringement. (241) A merchant selling goods warrants not just that she owns them, but that buyer will not infringe third party rights. (242) If buyer purchases the goods and they are seized for infringement (of copyright or patent or trademark or trade secret, etc.), then seller will be liable to buyer. (243) Likewise, if using or reselling the goods infringes third party rights, buyer can recover from seller. (244) For example, where a company purchased software for an interactive voice recognition system from a supplier, the company was entitled to recover for breach of the warranty of noninfringement, when the company was sued for infringement of a patent covering the technology. (245)

The warranty of noninfringement will be breached if a substantial claim of infringement is brought by a third-party. (246) Courts hold that a judicial finding of infringement is not required. (247) Rather, it is sufficient if there is a "non-frivolous claim of infringement that has any significant and adverse effect, through the prospect of litigation or otherwise, on the buyer's ability to make use of the purchased goods." (248) That interpretation is especially important for software transactions. (249) As noted, the great number and broad language of software patents make it a real risk that anyone dealing with software could be sued for patent infringement. (250) The warranty of noninfringement warrants not just that the buyer will not infringe any patents, but that no one will even claim that the buyer is not infringing any patents. (251) That is a very broad warranty that few software distributors would care to make.

That raises the question of how a seller can avoid making the warranty. Section 2-312 does not state specifically how to exclude the warranty of non-infringement. (252) Subsection 2, which requires specific language or special circumstances to exclude a warranty, refers specifically only to the warranty of title in Subsection 1. (253) By contrast, subsection 3 simply provides that the Seller will make a warranty of title "unless otherwise agreed." (254) That seems to provide the parties more flexibility to exclude the warranty. If that is the case, the GPL might exclude the warranty of noninfringement even though it does not specifically refer to noninfringement or the like. The next section discusses whether the GPL could be interpreted to exclude the warranty of noninfringement because such exclusion is "agreed." (255) The following section follows another possibility. (256) The Uniform Commercial Code seeks to adapt to commercial practices. (257) It will incorporate into the transaction terms that are sufficiently widely used in the field, under the rubric of "usage of trade." (258)

It is worth noting that the UCC is consistent with the recent attempt of the American Law Institute to state the principles of software law. (259) The ALI Principles of Software Contracting would provide for an indemnity of infringement, the equivalent of a warranty of noninfringement. (260) The ALI would require specific language to exclude the warranty, thus making it even more likely that the GPL and similarly worded languages do not exclude the warranty. (261) The indemnity would be excluded only by an exclusion that is "conspicuous, and uses language that gives the transferee reasonable notice of the modification or notice that the transferor has no obligation to indemnify the transferee." (262) However, like the UCC, the Principles would allow for exclusion based on usage of trade. (263) The Principles provide, however, that no indemnity of infringement would be made where no money was charged for the software, which would mean that most free software would not be subject to the indemnity obligation. (264) The commentary specifically noted that this would make sense, where parties contribute free software without a charge. (265)

V. Whether the GPL Excludes the Warranty of Noninfringement by Agreement

Under 2-312, the parties to a transaction may agree to exclude the warranty of noninfringement. (266) This rule is more flexible than with the exclusion of the warranty of title, which must be excluded by specific language, such as "seller hereby forsakes and quit claims all of his right, title, and interest in acts two buyer." (267) The language must be specific and certain. (268) The statement that seller sold his "'right, title and interest'" and that to "'his knowledge there was no title and existence by way of registration with the state of Michigan or with any other state or with any notion'" was insufficient. (269) By contrast, "the warranty against infringement in section 2-312 is applicable '[u]nless otherwise agreed.' This phrase does not appear to be as stringent as the specific language requirement in 2-312(2)." (270)

One might argue that the GPL excludes the warranty of noninfringement by agreement where it clearly states that the software is transferred "WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND." (271)

However, there are several obstacles to this position. (272) First, within the context of the paragraph excluding warranties, the exclusion is directed only at warranties of quality. (273) It expressly mentions the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, both warranties of the quality of the goods. (274) The following sentence then emphasizes that there are no warranties with respect to how the software works: "THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE PROGRAM IS WITH YOU. SHOULD THE PROGRAM PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING, REPAIR OR CORRECTION " (275) Within the paragraph, there are no references to infringement of third party rights. (276) Other portions of the GPL discuss copyrights, patents and trademarks, without any indication that there is an exclusion of warranty with respect to such rights. (277) Portions of the most recent version of the GPL specifically discuss patent rights in considerable detail, again without any limitation on the warranty of noninfringement. (278) As a matter of interpretation of the license, it appears difficult to argue that the language constitutes an agreement that there is no warranty of noninfringement. (279)

Second, a greater obstacle perhaps lies in the legal nature of the GPL. The drafters of the GPL have firmly taken the position that the GPL does not represent an agreement between the licensor and license fees. (280) Rather, it is considered to be a unilateral transfer of rights, not dependent on any agreement between the parties. (281) The drafters of the GPL consider it to be a "bare license," rather than a contractual agreement. (282) Under this theory, someone who distributes code under the GPL gives permission to others to use that code without infringing copyright, but only subject to the terms of the GPL. (283) If someone uses the code in a way that does not comply with the terms of the GPL, then that permission is terminated and the person may infringe the copyright in the code, such as by redistributing it without permission from the copyright holder. (284) The GPL, under this view, is a one-way grant of permission, not a two-way agreement. (285)

In the words of the general counsel for the Free Software Foundation:
   The word 'license' has, and has had for hundreds of years, a
   specific technical meaning in the law of property. A license is a
   unilateral permission to use someone else's property. The
   traditional example given in the first-year law school Property
   course is an invitation to come to dinner at my house. If, when you
   cross my threshold, I sue you for trespass, you plead my 'license,'
   that is, my unilateral permission to enter on and use my property.
   A contract, on the other hand, is an exchange of obligations,
   either of promises for promises or of promises of future
   performance for present performance or payment. (286)


Under this bare license view of the GPL, there is no agreement between the licensor and the licensee. (287) If that is the case, then an exclusion of the warranty of noninfringement could not be something "otherwise agreed" to by the parties. (288)

However, it may well be that the GPL is treated by the law as an agreement, notwithstanding the view of its drafters. (289) The author of a legal instrument does not define its legal character. (290) Nowhere more than commercial law do courts reach conclusions counter to the view of the parties. (291) A "lease" is often treated as a security agreement. (292) A "confirmation" may be treated as the contract itself. (293) A promissory note labeled "Negotiable" will readily be held nonnegotiable (and so not subject to the holder in due course doctrine). (294)

As Professor Patterson has shown, there is relatively little specific legal support for the "bare license" theory of the GPL. (295) In real property, there might be a bare license, such as permission to enter land, which would mean the recipient was not trespassing. (296) Such a license might be subject to conditions. (297) But with respect to personal property, transfers of property interests subject to conditions have been much less likely to be enforced by courts. (298) As many have noted, intellectual property is quite different than other forms of property, and one cannot simply assume that real property concepts will be readily applicable to intellectual property. (299) There are also good policy reasons not to introduce new legal forms into the already crowded legal structure of property, where the same result can be achieved quite simply with the existing law of contract, with its resources for treating the many issues of enforceability and scope that will likely arise. (300) This certainly does not mean that the bare license theory of the GPL would not ultimately be accepted by courts. (301) But it would be difficult to describe it as something on which a licensor could rely. (302)

Characterizing restrictive licenses as two-sided contracts rather than one-sided bare licenses also means, as Professor Patterson shows, that parties will be protected against terms they could otherwise be subject to without notice. (303) The drafters of the GPL have offered a reason for not requiring acceptance of the GPL; it is more efficient to have a single grant of rights subject to restrictions, as opposed to getting the other party to agree to those restrictions. (304) But such efficiency is likely outweighed by the hazard of a party being subject to restrictions without consent or notice of them. (305)

In addition, the GPL itself undercuts the idea that no agreement is required between the parties. (306) The most recent version of the license provides "Therefore, by modifying or propagating a covered work, you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so." (307)

The previous version, which is still perhaps more widely used, is even more demanding: "Therefore, by modifying or distributing the Program (or any work based on the Program), you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying the Program or works based on it." (308)

Trying to make this language consistent with the bare license theory requires conjuring a rather strange hybrid: a wholly unilateral grant of permission, which is effective only if the other party agrees to it. (309) In addition, the grant would be deemed to terminate if the party, having accepted the license, does not subsequently comply with all its terms and conditions. (310) A GPL case would be one where the question would be such matters as whether a party agreed to the terms of a software license, the content of those terms (such as, whether the GPL excluded the warranty of noninfringement), whether the party complied with those terms, and if not, the consequences of noncompliance. (311) It seems unlikely that a court dealing with a GPL case would be able to construct an entirely new area of law and fashion rules to govern not just that case, but future cases involving the GPL. (312) Rather, contract law already provides a body of law dealing with the question of when a voluntary obligation is enforceable, what the content of the obligation is, what the conditions apply to the obligation, and the effects of failure to live up to terms and conditions attached to the obligation. (313)

Contract law rules on offer and acceptance, for example, would likely be applied to the GPL, to sort out whether a party accepted the terms of the GPL. (314) Under existing case law, it is hardly clear that someone would accept all the terms of the GPL simply "by modifying or distributing" code distributed under the GPL, especially if the party had not read the relevant language. (315) There was a time when shrinkwrap licenses might be enforceable, where a party might be deemed to agree to the terms of a license that was not seen until the shrinkwrap around a package of software was removed. (316) Where such licenses were quite common and the only alternative was a burdensome procedure such as requiring prior consent by purchasers at the point of purchase, enforceability of such unseen and unagreed--to provisions had countervailing policies in support. (317) But now software pervasively and easily can require the checking of a box to receive positive agreement. (318)

This does not mean that every use of the GPL would require getting explicit agreement, such as checking a box in a window before using the software. (319) Rather, the UCC and contract law generally provide a flexible framework that accommodates commercial realities. (320) In the case of the GPL, there is the special circumstance that the GPL is extremely well-known. (321) If, for example, someone knows of the GPL and sees any reference to the GPL in acquiring the software, they might well be deemed to accept at least its general terms. (322) Without a clear acceptance of the terms of the GPL, a contract could also be formed by the conduct of the parties. (323) UCC 2204(1) sets a broad, flexible framework for recognizing contracts without formalities: "(1) A contract for sale of goods may be made in any manner sufficient to show agreement, including conduct by both parties which recognizes the existence of such a contract." (324) There could be agreement to the GPL, even without specific agreement. (325) That leaves the question, however, of whether all the terms of the GPL would be included in the contract. (326) A contract would not automatically include all the terms of the GPL. (327) Under UCC 2-207(3):
   Conduct by both parties which recognizes the existence of a
   contract is sufficient to establish a contract for sale although
   the writings of the parties do not otherwise establish a contract.
   In such case the terms of the particular contract consist of those
   terms on which the writings of the parties agree, together with any
   supplementary terms incorporated under any other provisions of this
   Act. (328)


In sum, it remains unclear whether agreement is required to make the GPL enforceable, what would constitute agreement to the GPL, and what terms of the GPL would be included if the agreement was based on implied assent or conduct. (329) The next section considers whether an exclusion of the warranty of noninfringement would be made under the UCC, as a usage of trade. (330)

VI. "Usage of Trade" and Free Software Licenses

Under the Uniform Commercial Code, warranties may be excluded by usage of trade. (331) For warranties of quality, [section] 2-316 is explicit on this point. (332) One might apply the same reasoning to the warranty of noninfringement. (333) Along the same lines, [section] 2-312 states that the warranty of title may be excluded "by circumstances which give the buyer reason to know that the person selling does not claim title in himself or that he is purporting to sell only such right or title as he or a third person may have." (334) An auctioneer need not state a disclaimer of warranty of title if it is clear that the auctioneer is simply selling goods for others without knowledge of their provenance. (335) Although that provision does not address the warranty of noninfringement, the reasoning would seem applicable. (336) Indeed, the standard for excluding the warranty of noninfringement is less strict, so something that could exclude the warranty of title should be able to exclude the less sticky warranty of noninfringement. (337) Could the warranty of noninfringement be excluded under that clause, on the theory that free software is known to be sold without a warranty of noninfringement? The factual question is similar to whether usage of trade excludes the warranty. (338) Both questions would rest on the common expectation of those who deal with free software license. (339) This section addresses that question by looking at free software licenses. Were the issue litigated, there could be other evidence about the understanding of those in the trade. (340) The U.C.C. defines "usage of trade" as:
   Any practice or method of dealing having such regularity of
   observance in a place, vocation, or trade as to justify an
   expectation that it will be observed with respect to the
   transaction in question. The existence and scope of such a usage
   must be proved as facts. If it is established that such a usage is
   embodied in a trade code or similar record, the interpretation of
   the record is a question of law. (341)


The question would be whether there is sufficient evidence that those trading in free software would expect to receive no warranty of infringement. (342)

There is, however, precious little written on whether the warranty of noninfringement is provided with free software, or even with software generally. (343) Software developers often have considerable knowledge of the terms of software licenses. (344) The Debian Legal listserve includes reams of acute analysis of the applicability of various software licenses to factual situations, along with practical resolution of licensing issues. (345) Discussions are readily found online of the legal implications and the interpretation of software licenses. (346) Among coders, the most frequent discussion of warranties in general covers what sort of actions can be taken with code or devices without voiding the warranty under which it was provided. (347) There is little discussion of whether free software comes with a warranty, presumably because the licenses, like the GPL, are so clear that they intend to provide no warranty. (348) As noted, no one seems to have discussed the fact that this blanket exclusion does not specifically include an exclusion of the warranty of noninfringement. (349) One tangible source of whether free software transactions exclude the warranty of noninfringement is the licenses themselves. (350) The following are culled from a database of free licenses compiled by the Free Software Foundation. (351)

The Apache License, widely used for many Internet servers, expressly excludes the warranty of noninfringement (bolded below), unlike the GPL:
   Disclaimer of Warranty. Unless required by applicable law or agreed
   to in writing, Licensor provides the Work (and each Contributor
   provides its Contributions) on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES
   OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied, including,
   without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE,
   NONINFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR APARTICULAR
   PURPOSE. You are solely responsible for determining the
   appropriateness of using or redistributing the Work and assume any
   risks associated with Your exercise of permissions under this
   License. (352)


The Artistic License is similar:
   DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: THE PACKAGE IS PROVIDED BY THE
   COPYRIGHTHOLDER AND CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS' AND WITHOUT ANY EXPRESS OR
   IMPLIED WARRANTIES. THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY,
   FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OR NONINFRINGEMENT ARE DISCLAIMED
   TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY YOUR LOCAL LAW. UNLESS REQUIRED BY LAW,
   NO COPYRIGHTHOLDER OR CONTRIBUTOR WILL BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT,
   INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING IN ANY WAY
   OUT OF THE USE OF THE PACKAGE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY
   OF SUCH DAMAGE. (353)


The BSD license, another widely used license, stemming from the BSD Unix project, is similar to the GPL:

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

(1) Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.

(2) Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

(3) The name of the author may not be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission...

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE [LICENSOR] "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE. (354)

The Intel Open Source License specifically excludes the warranty of noninfringement:
   4.1. INTEL MAKES NO WARRANTY OF ANY
   KIND REGARDING ANY SOFTWARE PROVIDED
   HERE. ANY SOFTWARE ORIGINATING FROM
   INTEL OR DERIVED FROM INTEL SOFTWARE
   IS PROVIDED "AS IS," AND INTEL WILL NOT
   PROVIDE ANY SUPPORT, ASSISTANCE,
   INSTALLATION, TRAINING OR OTHER
   SERVICES. INTEL WILL NOT PROVIDE ANY
   UPDATES, ENHANCEMENTS OR EXTENSIONS.
   INTEL SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY
   IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
   MERCHANTABILITY, NONINFRINGEMENT
   AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. (355)


Other corporate licenses, such as the IBM Public License, Version 1.0, are also careful to exclude the warranty of noninfringement specifically. (356) But the Standard ML of New Jersey Copyright License, issued by the large telecommunications company Lucent (successor to the fabled Bell Labs), did not. (357)

The Modified BSD license does not exclude the warranty of noninfringement, even though the drafter took great pains to exclude a great variety of possible forms of liability, suggesting once again that the warranty of noninfringement is simply not on the radar screen of free software licensors:
   THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED [BY THE
   AUTHOR] 'AS IS'' AND ANY EXPRESS OR
   IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT
   LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
   MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A
   PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN
   NO EVENT SHALL [THE AUTHOR] BE LIABLE
   FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL,
   SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL
   DAMAGE (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO,
   PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR
   SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS;
   OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER
   CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY,
   WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY,
   OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR
   OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF
   THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF
   ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH
   DAMAGE. (358)


The CeCILL is the one license to exclude the warrant of noninfringement any way other than simply using the single word. (359) The license was drafted in French and perhaps reflects the expertise avail able to its venerable listed authors, "CEA, a public scientific, technical and industrial research establishment; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique; Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique"
   9.4 The Licensor does not either expressly or tacitly
   warrant that the Software does not infringe any third
   party intellectual property right relating to a patent,
   software or any other property right. Therefore, the
   Licensor disclaims any and all liability towards the Licensee
   arising out of any or all proceedings for infringement
   that may be instituted in respect of the use,
   modification and redistribution of the Software. Nevertheless,
   should such proceedings be instituted
   against the Licensee, the Licensor shall provide it with
   technical and legal expertise for its defense. Such
   technical and legal expertise shall be decided on a
   case-by-case basis between the relevant Licensor and
   the Licensee pursuant to a memorandum of understanding.
   The Licensor disclaims any and all liability
   as regards the Licensee's use of the name of the Software.
   No warranty is given as regards the existence of
   prior rights over the name of the Software or as regards
   the existence of a trademark. (360)


Note that the license, drafted by French lawyers, avoid the noisy BLOCK CAPITALS used by American lawyers to meet the requirements that an exclusion of warranty be CONSPICUOUS. (361)

The License of Python does carefully exclude the warranty of noninfringement, perhaps because the author of a leading free software licensing book is an attorney with the Python Software Foundation. (362)
   4. PSF is making Python 2.0.1 available to Licensee
   on an "AS IS" basis. PSF MAKES NO
   REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES,
   EXPRESS OR IMPLIED. BY WAY OF EXAMPLE,
   BUT NOT LIMITATION, PSF MAKES NO AND
   DISCLAIMS ANY REPRESENTATION OR
   WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR
   FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR
   THAT THE USE OF PYTHON 2.0.1 WILL NOT
   INFRINGE ANY THIRD PARTY RIGHTS. (363)


Earlier versions of the Python license did not so address the issue:
   STICHTING MATHEMATISCH CENTRUM [AND CNRI]
   DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES WITH REGARD TO
   THIS SOFTWARE, INCLUDING ALL IMPLIED
   WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS,
   IN NO EVENT SHALL STICHTING MATHEMATISCH
   CENTRUM OR CNRI BE LIABLE FOR ANY SPECIAL,
   INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR ANY
   DAMAGES WHATSOEVER RESULTING FROM LOSS
   OF USE, DATA OR PROFITS, WHETHER IN AN ACTION
   OF CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER TORTIOUS
   ACTION, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH
   THE USE OR PERFORMANCE OF THIS SOFTWARE. (364)


It would appear unlikely that one working in the free software arena could reasonably assume that there was an implicit exclusion of the warranty of noninfringement. (365) Many licenses do not exclude the warranty of noninfringement. (366) The most frequently used license, the GPL itself, does not exclude the warranty of noninfringement, or even refer to it in the explanatory material on the Free Software Foundation's site. (367) In addition, because the warranty is so frequently excluded expressly, it would appear that licensors are easily able to do so when they so wish. (368)

Beyond the brief exclusion of the warranty of noninfringement in some free software licenses, there is one case where parties license that addressed the matter in detail. (369) Red Hat Software distributes, among other things, its own version of Linux. (370) A few years ago, there was some uncertainty as to the rights to Linux. (371) A company called SCO stated claims (later rejected by the courts) that Linux infringed on copyrights held by SCO, on the theory that SCO held the rights to UNIX, on which Linux is based in part, and that IBM had contributed code to the Linux project that also infringed SCO's rights. (372) To reassure its customers, Red Hat expressly warranted that its software did not infringe SCO's rights and offered an indemnity to its customs in the event that SCO brought an action against them. Likewise, Novell, Hewlett-Packard and Montavista offered their customers any indemnity against any claims. (374) One could argue from those actions that the industry understood the default to be no warranty of noninfringement, but a single, unusual case is difficult to use as the basis for evidence of a trade usage. (375)

VII. Expressly Excluding the Warranty of Noninfringement

As the foregoing shows, it may well be that someone who distributes (especially by sale) software under the GPL may make a warranty of noninfringement. This section discusses several ways to reduce that risk by expressly and specifically excluding the warranty. The simplest way for someone to make the GPL exclude the warranty of noninfringement would be to insert that word into the exclusion of warranties, as many other free software licenses do. (376) But the GPL itself forbids any changes to its text: "Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed." (377) It is a little ironic that a license that freely allows computer code to be adapted forbids changing the legal code of the license itself. (378) One might reason that the same sort of freedoms that apply to software code should apply to legal code, perhaps even more strongly, given how legalese can bind people. (379) But there is a sound reason for the provision. (380) The GPL is a standardized license used for millions of computer programs. (381) If people were to customize the GPL, then someone using GPL'd software would have to read through the code of the license (or run it through software that compared the text to the Platonic GPL) to see what rights they would receive. (382) Creating new versions of the GPL would risk "forking" the GPL, putting more than one version in circulation so that parties could no longer rely on the familiar terms of the GPL and would have to expend resources in determining which version of the GPL they were dealing with. (383) One could address this with clear attribution in the comments to affected code, but even keeping track of attribution would add considerably to the irksome task of attending to legalities where one simply wants to deal with software. (384)

Although the GPL forbids changes to its text, it likely would not infringe copyright to change the text. (385) Functional legal code is not copyrighted. (386) Insertion of a comma and a single word ("NONINFRINGEMENT") would not be the creation of a derivative work. (387) Moreover, fair use would permit any theoretical copyright infringement. (388) But although a change would not infringe copyright, it could possibly infringe the trademark GPL to use the term on a non-standardized form of the GPL. (389) Most important, perhaps, it would be counter to the spirit of free software, as well as counterproductive, and so an option that someone distributing free software may not choose, for reasons beyond legal technicalities. (390)

The most recent version of the GPL does provide a slightly less direct way to expand the exclusion of warranties, but only for material added by the licensor. (391) The GPL may not be changed, but may be supplemented (a license provision that echoes the UCC rule for parole evidence, which may not contradict the written terms of a contract but may supplement it). (392) Section 7 of the GPL V.3 provides, in pertinent part:

Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, for material you add to a covered work, you may (if authorized by the copyright holders of that material) supplement the terms of this License with terms:

a) Disclaiming warranty or limiting liability differently from the terms of sections 15 and 16 of this License; (393)

The GPL permits additional exclusions of warranty, but they would only apply to material added by the licensor. (394) That would leave considerable risk. (395) A party that adapted software would still make a warranty of noninfringement for the portions of the software that others had written. (396) A party that redistributed free software (with or without code she added to it) would make a warranty of noninfringement for the redistributed code. (397) That is a considerable limit, because most free software distributions include code from others. (398) It is a rare piece of software that does not build on others. (399) With respect to the GPL in particular, one reason it is commonly used is that the relevant distributor used code under the GPL, and so uses the GPL on the augmented distribution. (400)

In practice, it appears that parties go beyond what the GPL appears to permit, and add exclusions of warranty in their licenses. For example, the Micropolis GPL License Notice, in a provision entitled "ADDITIONAL TERMS per GNU GPL Section 7" seeks to eliminate every conceivable warranty, including the warranty of noninfringement. (401) The provision is worth quoting in full for its attempt to enumerate every conceivable legal risk:
   This disclaimer supplements the one included in the
   General Public License. TO THE FULLEST
   EXTENT PERMISSIBLE UNDER APPLICABLE
   LAW, THIS PROGRAM IS PROVIDED TO YOU
   "AS IS," WITH ALL FAULTS, WITHOUT
   WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, AND YOUR USE IS
   AT YOUR SOLE RISK. THE ENTIRE RISK OF
   SATISFACTORY QUALITY AND
   PERFORMANCE RESIDES WITH YOU.
   ELECTRONIC ARTS DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL
   EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY
   WARRANTIES, INCLUDING IMPLIED
   WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY,
   SATISFACTORY QUALITY, FITNESS FOR A
   PARTICULAR PURPOSE, NONINFRINGEMENT
   OF THIRD PARTY RIGHTS, AND WARRANTIES
   (IF ANY) ARISING FROM A COURSE OF
   DEALING, USAGE, OR TRADE PRACTICE.
   ELECTRONIC ARTS DOES NOT WARRANT
   AGAINST INTERFERENCE WITH YOUR
   ENJOYMENT OF THE PROGRAM; THAT THE
   PROGRAM WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS;
   THAT OPERATION OF THE PROGRAM WILL BE
   UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, OR THAT
   THE PROGRAM WILL BE COMPATIBLE WITH
   THIRD PARTY SOFTWARE OR THAT ANY
   ERRORS IN THE PROGRAM WILL BE
   CORRECTED. NO ORAL OR WRITTEN ADVICE
   PROVIDED BY ELECTRONIC ARTS OR ANY
   AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE SHALL
   CREATE A WARRANTY. SOME JURISDICTIONS
   DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OF OR
   LIMITATIONS ON IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR
   THE LIMITATIONS ON THE APPLICABLE
   STATUTORY RIGHTS OF A CONSUMER, SO
   SOME OR ALL OF THE ABOVE EXCLUSIONS
   AND LIMITATIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO
   YOU. (402)


If someone distributing code under the GPL were to add an exclusion of warranty that was in separate text, it is unlikely that there would be an objection or claim that it somehow violated the GPL. (403) It would not change the text of the GPL itself, and the goal of warranty exclusion is entirely consistent with the spirit of the GPL. (404)

In addition to adding language referring specifically to an exclusion of the warranty of noninfringement, a licensor could consider getting positive agreement to the terms of the license. (405) As discussed above, it is not clear whether the GPL's restrictions are effective without agreement by the person subject to the terms. (406) Obtaining consent would not only clarify that the warranty of noninfringement was excluded, but also make clear that the many other terms of the GPL were accepted. (407) But obtaining consent would make distribution of the software less smooth, not to mention change the practice of dealing with free software. (408) Some would quite reasonably not view the risks (which in many cases, especially when the software is distributed without charge, would be minimal) as justifying requiring adding that layer of legality to a software distribution.40

VIII. Conclusion

The GPL, then, may have the effect of warranting that software it covers comes with a warranty of noninfringement. Whether that applies to any particular distribution would depend on many things: whether there was a charge for the software, whether the software was specially developed, and how a court might resolve a number of open legal issues: the applicability of the UCC to software, the interpretation of the little-litigated provisions of both the UCC and the GPL with respect to excluding warranties, and the legal nature of the GPL itself, as a bare license or a contract. Someone wishing to avoid those legal uncertainties could release code under the GPL, supplemented with a specific exclusion of the warranty of infringement--and perhaps obtain consent of the recipient to those terms. More broadly, it may be that courts have more occasions to address the legal effect of the GPL. The GPL has been a highly successful hack on software law. How it should be given effect in the many transactions it now reaches will requiring once again recalibrating a number of legal tools. Stephen McJohn, Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School. The author thanks Ian McJohn for guidance on the GPL and software.

(1) See RICHARD STALLMAN, The GNU Project, in FREE SOFTWARE FREE SOCIETY: SELECTED ESSAYS OF RICHARD M. STALLMAN 12 (Joshua Gay ed., 2002) (discussing how the ubiquity of free software is largely dependent on the GPL); MICHAEL RUSTAD, SOFTWARE LICENSING: PRINCIPLES & PRACTICAL STRATEGIES 355 (Oxford University Press 2d ed. 2013) (declaring General Public License as one of the four most widely used open source licenses). See also Open Sources: Voices From the Open Source Revolution (Chris DiBona et al. eds., 1999) (providing information on GNU General Public License through a collection of essays on free and open source software).

(2) See GNU General Public License, GNU (June 29, 2007), archived at http://perma.cc/5BJC-WTU4 (highlighting that the GPL is a free copyleft license for software and other kinds of works).

(3) See Stephen M. McJohn, The Paradoxes of Free Software, 9 Geo. MASON L. Rev. 25, 58 (2000) (explaining capabilities of open source software which has little to no restrictions on its use).

(4) See id. (articulating that holders of a copy have access to the source code with the ability to make changes).

(5) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (guaranteeing freedom to share and change software programs unlike other licenses); Robert W. Gomulkiewicz, General Public License 3.0: Hacking the Free Software Movement's Constitution, 42 Hous. L. Rev. 1015, 1022 (2005) (illustrating how hackers have software freedoms through what is known as copyleft); Greg Vetter, Exit and Voice in Free and Open Source Software Licensing: Moderating the Rein over Software Users, 85 OR. L. rev. 183, 196 (2006) (stating that companies who use GPL protected software and have not provided the source code are considered to violate GPL software freedom conditions).

(6) See Vetter, supra note 5, at 214-15 (describing how the license facilitates the redistribution of the code).

(7) See Vetter, supra note 5, at 202 (suggesting source codes should remain to be free and open for continued redistribution).

(8) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (stating the rules for the GNU General Public License).

(9) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (declaring the terms of the GNU General Public License); Bennett M. Sigmond, Free/Open Source Software Licensing--Too Big to Ignore, 34- Colo. Law 89, 94 (Dec. 2005) (explaining that the enforceability of licenses seeking to disclaim warranties is on a case by case basis).

(10) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (referring to GPL's disclaimer of warranty when not otherwise stated in writing).

(11) See Sigmond, supra note 9, at 94-95 (discussing discrepancy over the sale of goods between Uniform Commercial Code and GPL's warranties).

(12) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (referring to third party liability in regards to damages).

(13) See Greg R. Vetter, "Infectious" Open Source Software: Spreading Incentives or Promoting Resistance?, 36 RUTGERS L.J. 53, 59 (2004) (stating that GPL is "the most widely adopted open software license").

(14) See, e.g., Julie E. Cohen & Mark A. Lemley, Patent Scope and Innovation in the Software Industry, 89 Calif. L. Rev. 1, 14 (2001) (describing the large number of software patents, and suggesting that they are "accorded unprecedented breadth"). For a broad view of the increasing threat of patent liability, see Marshall Leaffer, Patent Misuse And Innovation, 10 J. HIGH TECH. L. 142, 144 (2010) (stating that an increasing number of companies, both large and small, are "strategically us[ing] patent litigation as a means to protect their competitive position").

(15) See Stephen McJohn, Scary Patents, 7 Nw. J. Tech. & INTELL. Prop. 343, 2 (2009) (citing James Bessen & Michael J. Meurer, Patent Failure: How Judges, Bureaucrats, And Lawyers Put Innovators At Risk 199, 256 (2008)) (stating that software patents often have abstract patent claims that are unclear about what technology they cover).

(16) See, e.g., Chase A. Marshall, A Comparative Analysis: Current Solutions to the Anticommons Threat, 12 J. HIGH TECH. L. 487, 489 (2012) (outlining various problems that patents pose to biotechnology that "appear to hinder, rather than promote, the innovation and public benefit" the field seeks to provide). Patents likewise present a threat to other open knowledge systems, such as biotechnology. Id.

(17) See Copyright Software v. Patenting Software, Harv. Univ. OFFICE OF TECH. Dev., archived at http://perma.cc/M55Q-4HKY (explaining the detriments of choosing copyright over patents to protect software).

(18) See Ross Kimbarovsky, Contracts for Software Developers Who Hate Contracts, 12 (2009), archived at http://perma.cc/3876-PX3M (outlining the risks associated with failure to include limitation of liability clauses in software development contracts).

(19) See James G. Gatto, Doubts Wane over GPL Enforceability, PILLSBURY LAW (Feb. 2007) archived at http://perma.cc/QYM3-C6EU?type=pdf (highlighting that the GPL has recently become the topic of case law). Outside the free software context, commercial parties have definitely made use of the warranty of noninfringement. See, e.g., Phoenix Solutions, Inc. v. Sony Electronics, Inc., 637 F. Supp. 2d 683, 694-97 (N.D.Calif. 2009) (analyzing breach against infringement claim for paid software licenses under federal law); 84 Lumber Co. v. MRK Technologies, Ltd., 145 F. Supp. 2d 675, 678 (W.D. Pa. 2001) (outlining requirements of rightful claim under warranty against infringement claim for paid goods).

(20) See Richard Stallman, Is Android Really Free Software?, THE GUARDIAN (Sept. 19, 2011), archived at http://perma.cc/7P5H-4H3G (differentiating between open and free code in android software under GPL). Android uses the Linux kernel, licensed under the GPL. Id. The rest of the Android operating system is released under the Apache license, another free software license which is more permissive than the GPL. Id.

(21) See Kirti Gupta & Mark Snyder, Smart Phone Litigation and Standard Essential Patents, Hoover.org (May 2014), archived at http://perma.cc/W3B7-8W3B (arguing that the smart phone industry has seen a dramatic rise in litigation due to patent rights).

(22) See McJohn, supra note 3, at 31-32 (exemplifying that a commercial software company could incorporate large portions of an open source program into commercial software).

(23) U.C.C. [section] 1-102 (2013) (noting that this section of the U.C.C. is intended to resolve confusion). See also In re Payless Cashways, Inc., 273 B.R. 789, 791 (W.D. Mo. 2002) (stating that the purpose of the U.C.C. is to streamline the law governing commercial transactions).

(24) See Jane K. Winn, Electronic Chattel Paper: Invitation Accepted, 46 GoNZ. L. Rev. 407, 409-10 (2011) (pointing to the Revised U.C.C. Article 9, which extends an invitation to update traditional chattel paper systems with new technology and migrate to electronic documents).

(25) See, e.g., Mark A. Lemley, Intellectual Property and Shrinkwrap Licenses, 68 S. CAL. L. REV. 1239, 1249-50 (1995) (discussing the emergence of shrink wrap licensing and whether the terms in such licenses can be interpreted to constitute valid licensing contracts).

(26) See, e.g., Lemley, supra note 25 at 1250-51 (demonstrating the challenges to applying the UCC in the practice of intellectual property with forming contracts).

(27) See, e.g., Vault Corp. v. Quaid Software Ltd., 847 F.2d 255, 270 (5th Cir. 1988) (holding license term limiting reverse engineering preempted by federal law); see also Julie E. Cohen, Reverse Engineering and the Rise of Electronic Vigilantism: Intellectual Property Implication of "Lock-Out" Programs, 68 S. CAL. L. Rev. 1091, 1092-93 (1995) (demonstrating the shifting and uncertain status of intellectual property protection for computer programs); David A. Rice, Public Goods, Private Contract and Public Policy: Federal Preemption of Software License Prohibitions Against Reverse Engineering, 53 U. PITT. L. REV. 543, 602, 605-06 (1992) (exemplifying that Section 301(a) of the Copyright Act of 1976 has exceptions to federal preemption, including reverse engineering).

(28) See, e.g., DOUGLAS J. WHALEY & STEPHEN M. MCJOHN, PROBLEMS & MATERIALS ON SECURED TRANSACTIONS, 35 (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, 9th ed. 2014) (discussing whether federal filing is required to perfect the security interest and providing the following example cases: "In re World Auxiliary Power Co., 303 F.3d 1120 (9th Cir. 2002) (security interest in unregistered copyrights should be filed under Article 9); In re Peregrine Entertainment, Ltd., 116 B.R. 194 (C.D. Cal. 1990) (security interest in registered copyrights should be filed in Copyright Office)").

(29) See, e.g., Vernor v. Autodesk, Inc., 621 F.3d 1102, 1116 (9th Cir. 2010) (holding that software was licensed, not sold, therefore was not subject to copyright's first sale doctrine).

(30) See Robert W. Gomulkiewicz, The License is the Product: Comments on the Promise of Article 2B for Software and Information Licensing, 13 BERKELEY TECH. L.J. 891, 893 (1998) (demonstrating the challenges, through the lawmaking process, to put together a uniform law for software and information licensing).

(31) See id. at 893 (reiterating that the NCCUSL and the ALI are impeded by a lack of agreement).

(32) See, cf. id. at 893-94 (suggesting the UCITA started life as a proposed Article 2B to the UCC, but became a separate project when the American Law Institute did not sponsor the project); see also Rochelle Cooper Dreyfuss, Do You Want to Know a Trade Secret? How Article 2B Will Make Licensing Trade Secrets Easier (But In-novation More Difficult), 87 CALIF. L. REV. 191 (1999) (commenting on the growth of Article 2B rules to accommodate a growing intellectual property presence in cy-berspace).

(33) See Matthew V. Pietsch, The Perils of Ignoring Software Licenses, 8 HAW. BAR J. 24, 34 (pointing to the criticism of the UCITA regarding their partiality towards the software industry).

(34) See DOUGLAS J. WHALEY & STEPHEN M. MCJOHN, PROBLEMS & MATERIALS ON THE SALE & LEASE OF GOODS, 8-9 (Aspen Publishing 6th ed. 1012) (citing Iowa Code [section]554D.104, N.C. Gen. Stat. [section] 66-329, W. Va. Code [section] 55-8-15, and 9 Vt. Stat. Ann. [section] 2463(a)) (nothing that the Uniform Computer Transactions Act (UCITA) was enacted in a limited amount of states).

(35) See id. at 8 (arguing the new version of Article 2, addressing software transac-tions, was not adopted by states because of prolonged negotiations).

(36) See Maureen A. O'Rourke, The ALI'S Principles of Software Contracting: Some Comments & Clarifications, 12 J. HIGH TECH L. 159 (2011) (acknowledging the American Law Institute in developing Article 2B in the UCC).

(37) See, cf. Conwell v. Gray Loon Outdoor Mktg. Group, 906 N.E.2d 805, 811 (Ind. 2009) (citing Maureen A. O'Rourke, An Essay on the Challenges of Drafting a Uni-form Law of Software Contracting, 10 LEWIS & CLARK L. REV. 925, 929-30 (2006)) (noting that the ALI project had been initiated, post UCITA, to bring clarity to the application of commercial law to software). The American Law Institute's Principles of Software Contracting are likely to be persuasive authority on software law issues, although as yet they have not been widely cited in case law. See Maureen A. O'Rourke, An Essay on the Challenges of Drafting a Uniform Law of Software Contracting, 10 LEWIS & CLARK L. REV. 925, 926 (2006) (noting ALI was written to state basic principles of law and identify possible approaches courts could utilize). The relevant rules of the Principles with respect to the warranty of noninfringement and whether it can be excluded are, although phrased in terms of an indemnity, somewhat similar to the UCC. See id. at 931-32 (discussing the nar-rowing the scope of principles through the UCITA).

(38) See Dr. Peter H. Salus, Chapter 12, The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin, GROKLAW (June 16, 2005), archived at http://perma.cc/Z6FQ-8DRK (having realized that he needed to form a license which gave absolute rights to users, "he had spoken with Mark Fischer, a Boston IP lawyer, and to Jerry Cohen, another lawyer, but wrote his own license."). Boston intellectual property lawyers Jerry Cohen and Marc Fischer are reported to have given guidance with the original drafting of the GPL. See id. (discussing Jerry Cohen and Mark Fischer's role in drafting the GPL). Other lawyers, such as law professor Eben Moglen, have participated in revisions of the GPL. See Matt Lee, GPL Version 3: Background to Adoption, FREE Software Found. (June 9, 2005), archived at http://perma.cc/ZE9R-NPTU (describing the revision of the GPL).

(39) See BSD License Definition, THE LINUX INFORMATION PROJECT, archived at http://perma.cc/B4FY-QSRF (comparing the usage of General Public Licenses to other free software license such as Berkeley Source Distribution (BSD)).

(40) See Richard Stallman, Linux and the GNU System, GNU OPERATING System, archived at http://perma.cc/8CRZ-PKNS (explaining that the Linux kernel is often distributed with GNU software, some consider it more accurate to refer to the Linux distributions as GNU/Linux).

(41) See Yochai Benkler, Coase's Penguin, or, Linux and The Nature of the Firm, 112 YALE L.J. 369 (2002) (describing how projects like Linux differ from typical commercial software development).

(42) See Stallman, supra note 20 (explaining that the Android operating system contains the Linux kernel which has a GPL).

(43) See License, Gcc.Gnu (Mar. 31, 2009), archived at http://perma.cc/3CLG-4EEX (providing license information for software created using the GNU Compiler Collection - formerly known as GNU C Compiler).

(44) See Bradley M. Kuhn, Aaron Williamson & Karen M. Sandler, A Practical Guide to GPL Compliance, SOFTWARE FREEDOM LAW CENTER (Aug. 26, 2008), archived at http://perma.cc/9FVD-MM82 (providing support for the proposition that GPL is used for free and open source software projects).

(45) See Gatto, supra note 19 (recognizing the success of private enforcement of GPL licenses in forcing compliance with the terms of the agreement).

(46) See Rebecca Schoff Curtin, Hackers And Humanists: Transactions and the Evolution of Copyright, 54 IDEA 103, 118- 20 (2013) (noting the first case addressing the enforceability of a free software license occurred in 2009); Bradley M. Kuhn, Some Thoughts on Conservancy's GPL Enforcement, SOFTWARE FREEDOM Conservancy (Sept. 11, 2014), archived at http://perma.cc/W66F-4YAQ (explaining that before resorting to litigation the author prefers to exhaust other alternatives)
   I admit, though, that I do find litigation particularly annoying,
   time-consuming, and litigation also makes GPL compliance take
   longer than it should. That's why litigation has always been a last
   resort, and that 99.999% of GPL enforcement matters get resolved
   without a lawsuit. Lawsuits are only an option, in my view, when a
   violation is egregious, and multiple attempts to begin a friendly
   conversation with the violator are consistently ignored. Id.


The gpl-violations.org project also played a role in raising awareness of GPL violations and enforcing rights. See Brian Carver, Share and Share Alike: Understanding and Enforcing Open Source and Free Software Licenses, 20 BERKELEY TECH. L.J. 443, 446-448 (2005) (discussing efforts to enforce the GPL in Europe, by Harald Welte and his organization, gpl-violations.org).

(47) See Gatto, supra note 19 (highlighting lack of precedential case law regarding enforceability of GPL licenses).

(48) See Kuhn, Williamson & Sandler, supra note 44 (observing that litigation in GPL enforcement has increased since 1989). Enforcement of GPL'd software is now often done by the Software Freedom Conservancy. See Bradley M. Kuhn, Some Thoughts on Conservancy's GPL Enforcement, SOFTWARE FREEDOM Conservancy (Feb. 1, 2012), archived at http://perma.cc/3NF5-P42Y (discussing Software Freedom Conservancy's role in GPL enforcement). A violation of the GPL does not of itself give the Software Freedom Conservancy the right to enforce. See id. (noting that the holder of the copyright has the right to enforce the GPL). Rather, the holder of the copyright of the software which was issued under the GPL would have the right to enforce breach of the license. See id. (discussing the power of the copyright holder to enforce the software infringement under GPL). The Software Freedom Conservancy encourages authors of free software to transfer their copyright to the Software Freedom Conservancy so that it may enforce any violations on their behalf. Members Projects & Services, Software Freedom Conservancy, archived at http://perma.cc/D7DU-CZSB (acknowledging that consolidated copyright structures allow for easier and more effective enforcement). The Software Freedom Conservancy has pursued the approach of using persuasion first and resorting only to litigation when absolutely necessary, meaning that very few cases have been filed. See Bradley M. Kuhn, Some Thoughts on Conservancy's GPL Enforcement, SOFTWARE FREEDOM CONSERVANCY, archived at http://perma.cc/3NF5-P42Y (noting that litigation is burdensome, and is always a last resort).

(49) See Gatto, supra note 19 (identifying the majority of cases were brought to force compliance with GPL agreement).

(50) See STALLMAN, supra note 1, at 199 (outlining source code distribution requirements as a part of the GPL preamble).

(51) See Eben Moglen, Enforcing the GNU GPL, GNU Operating System (Sept. 10, 2001), archived at http://perma.cc/7ZM2-QJ35 (employing other enforcement strategies in lieu of litigation).

"In approximately a decade of enforcing the GPL, I have never insisted on payment of damages to the Foundation for violation of the license, and I have rarely required public admission of wrongdoing. Our position has always been that compliance with the license, and security for future good behavior, are the most important goals. We have done everything to make it easy for violators to comply, and we have offered oblivion with respect to past faults. In the early years of the free software movement, this was probably the only strategy available. Expensive and burdensome litigation might have destroyed the FSF, or at least prevented it from doing what we knew was necessary to make the free software movement the permanent force in reshaping the software industry that it has now become. Over time, however, we persisted in our approach to license enforcement not because we had to, but because it worked. An entire industry grew up around free software, all of whose participants understood the overwhelming importance of the GPL--no one wanted to be seen as the villain who stole free software, and no one wanted to be the customer, business partner, or even employee of such a bad actor. Faced with a choice between compliance without publicity or a campaign of bad publicity and a litigation battle they could not win, violators chose not to play it the hard way". Id.

(52) See, e.g., Ryan Paul, Cisco Settles FSF GPL Lawsuit, Appoints Compliance Officer, ARS TECHNICA (May 21, 2009), archived at http://perma.cc/Z7F8-J3SY (noting that Cisco and the Free Software Foundation reached a quick settlement on their GPL compliance lawsuit).

(53) See SCO Grp., Inc. v. Novell, Inc., 578 F.3d 1201 (10th Cir. 2009), aff'd 439 F. App'x 688 (10th Cir. 2010) (analyzing arguments regarding dispute in copyright ownership over certain UNIX and Unixware source code).

(54) See id. at 1214 (deciding whether the sale of UNIX by Novell included the copyrights to the original Linux source code).

(55) See id. at 1227 (reversing the district court's decision that SCO claimed ownership over the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights).

(56) See Tom Harvey, Decisions in SCO-Novell Case Ripples Beyond Utah, THE Salt Lake Tribune (Mar. 30, 2010), archived at http://perma.cc/AR5-RHSD (discussing the outcome of the SCO-Novell case and the legal and copyright ramifications for open source software).

(57) See id. (focusing on the copyrights to UNIX software rather than GPLs).

(58) See id. (stating that the jury's decision was good for Linux and the open source community).

(59) See id. (stressing that Jason Hall, a founder and board member of the Utah Open Source Foundation, was proud of the decision and Novell's role).

(60) See id. (predicting that this decision presents a serious question about the future of an SCO law suit against IBM).

(61) See Gatto, supra note 19, at 3 (highlighting GPL's expanding case law).

(62) See Gatto, supra note 19, at 2 (observing that the vast majority of GPL enforcements have been privately resolved).

(63) See Jacobsen v. Katzer, 535 F.3d 1373, 1382 (Fed. Cir. 2008), appeal dismissed 449 F. App'x 8 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (highlighting litigation involving the Artistic License).

(64) See id. at 1376 (enforcing that an Artistic License is a free and open source license).

(65) See id. at 1382 (holding that the Artistic License is clear in creating conditions to protect the economic rights at issue in the granting of a public license).

(66) See Gatto, supra note 19, at 3 (presenting the expanding case law on GPL); see also Jacobsen, 535 F.3d at 1382 (addressing the scope of the Artistic License).

(67) See, e.g., Harald Welte, Regional Court Hamburg Judgment Against FANTEC, GPL-Violations (June 26, 2013), archived at http://perma.cc/GQD3LPFW?type=image (implicating that the warranty of noninfringement is a key issue for GPL software).

(68) See id. (indicating the court's finding that FANTEC cannot rely on assurance of license compliance of their suppliers).

(69) See id. (holding that FANTEC violated the GNU General Public License in their media player).

(70) See id. (stating FANTEC's use of firewalling software for GNU/Linux).

(71) See id. (explaining that FANTEC distributed the firmware without complete corresponding source code as required by GPL).

(72) See id. (pointing to the court's finding that FANTEC cannot rely on suppliers to comply with GPL).

(73) See Welte, supra note 67 (stating the court's finding that FANTEC has an obligation to check their products for GNU GPL compliance).

(74) See Welte, supra note 67 (noting that every company distributing software must comply with licenses).

(75) See Welte, supra note 67(stating that software compliance is necessary to avoid violating third-party rights).

(76) See Welte, supra note 67 (explaining that FANTEC could not rely on their suppliers).

(77) See Welte, supra note 67 (explaining FANTEC is liable for negligent action, not suppliers).

(78) See Welte, supra note 67 (highlighting the fact that while consumers may not intend to violate the warranty of noninfringement, they may do so unintentionally through purchases made from retail or wholesale distributors).

(79) See Mark Radcliffe, The Fantec decision: German court holds distributor responsible for FOSS compliance, OPENSOURCE.COM (July 30, 2013), archived at http://perma.cc/RW3A-FT27 (clarifying the distinction between producers of goods and consumers in that producers may recover for infringement even against individuals who did not intentionally infringe).

(80) See Prousalis v. Moore, 751 F.3d 272, 273 (4th Cir. 2014) (demonstrating Prousalis's connection as representative of the software Busybox.com); see also Software Freedom Conservancy, Inc., v. Westinghouse Digital Elec., LLC, 812 F. Supp. 2d 483, 485, (S.D. N.Y. 2011) (addressing plaintiff's claim against Westinghouse Digital Electronics for distributing BusyBox); see also Software Freedom Conservancy, Inc. v. Best Buy Co., Inc., 783 F. Supp. 2d 648, 651(S.D. N.Y. 2010) (discussing action brought against Westinghouse Digital Electronics for copyright infringement in regards to the distribution of BusyBox).

(81) See Rob Landley, The Current State of the BusyBox Project, LWN.NET (June. 7, 2006), archived at http://perma.cc/8XS3-78T6 (explaining how BusyBox utilities serve for Linux commands).

(82) See Joab Jackson, Multiple Consumer Electronics Companies Hit with GPL Lawsuit, PCWorld (Sept. 17, 2014), archived at http://perma.cc/X7SJ-XBGC (announcing copyright lawsuit brought by the Software Freedom Law Center against 14 electronic companies).

(83) See Sean Michael Kerner, GPL Wins Again, LinuxPlanet (Aug. 6, 2010), archived at http://perma.cc/L6L-SB37 (articulating settlements between list of defendants and Software Conservancy); Gavin Clarke, GPL scores historic court compliance victory, THE REGISTER (Aug. 4, 2010), archived at http://perma.cc/4TKV-2H6U (stating that Westinghouse reached a settlement with SFC).

(84) See Kerner, supra note 83 (discussing Westinghouse's noncompliance with the GPL).

(85) See Kerner, supra note 83 (discussing the desire to litigate); see also Radcliffe, supra note 79 (explaining that FANTEC received the infringing software from a Chinese manufacturer and failed to publish the complete source code thereby violating the GPL).

(86) See Kerner, supra note 83 (describing Conservancy's preference for compliance).

(87) See Kerner, supra note 83 (reiterating that compliance with the GPL is a primary goal).

(88) See Some Questions Every Business Should Ask About the GNU General Public License (GPL), archived at http://perma.cc/4JVA-33L2 (discussing the legal issues incorporating GPL code and proprietary code and the "viral" effect of the GPL on the proprietary code).

(89) See DAN L. BURK & MARK A. LEMLEY, THE PATENT CRISIS AND HOW THE COURTS CAN SOLVE It 7-8 (The University of Chicago Press, 2009) (stating that patents are an increasing threat to innovators and inventors); see also ADAM B. JAFFE & JOSH LERNER, INNOVATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS: HOW OUR BROKEN PATENT SYSTEM IS ENDANGERING INNOVATION AND PROGRESS AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT 38 (Princeton Univ. Press ed., 2004) (explaining that patents prevent imitation and infringement).

(90) See Radcliffe, supra note 79 (indicating that FANTEC was sued for a GPL violation).

(91) See Radcliffe, supra note 79 (noting that FANTEC claimed they had assurance from the manufacturer that the source code they received was complete).

(92) See Radcliffe, supra note 79 (recommending that companies should maintain a trusted network of third party suppliers in order to establish an effective compliance policy).

(93) See Oracle Am., Inc., v. Google Inc., 750 F.3d 1339 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (involving alleged infringement by free software); see also Complaint at 2, Microsoft Corp. v. TomTom N.V., No. 09CV00247, 2009 WL 585682 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 25, 2009) (alleging TomTom infringed upon patents held by Microsoft).

(94) See Oracle, 750 F.3d at 1350-51 (stating Google's Android platform contained 37 Java packets that were copied verbatim).

(95) See 35 U.S.C. [section] 271(a) (2012) (articulating that users of materials that infringe upon a patent may be liable under the statute).

(96) See Haochen Sun, Overcoming the Achilles Heel of Copyright Law, 5 NW. J. TECH. & INTELL. Prop. 267, 296 (2007) (acknowledging that there is little incentive for right holder's to sue consumers).

(97) See Gupta, supra note 21, at 2 (highlighting that the mobile wireless industry has become increasingly litigious between multinational technology and software corporations).

(98) See Stallman, supra note 20 (noting that much of the source code from Android has been released as free software).

(99) See Stallman, supra note 20 (stating that Android software was released under the Apache 2.0 License).

(100) See Apache License, Version 2.0, The Apache SOFTWARE FOUND., archived at http://perma.cc/E79J-7HJA (providing the disclaimer of warranty for the Apache License 2.0)
   Disclaimer of Warranty. Unless required by applicable law or agreed
   to in writing, Licensor provides the Work (and each Contributor
   provides its Contributions) on an 'AS IS' BASIS, without warranties
   or conditions OF ANY KIND, either express or implied, including,
   without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE,
   NONINFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR
   PURPOSE. You are solely responsible for determining the
   appropriateness of using or redistributing the Work and assume any
   risks associated with Your exercise of permissions under this
   License. (emphasis added). Id.


(101) See Ryan Paul, Microsoft and TomTom Settle Patent Dispute, ARS TECHNICA (Mar. 30, 2009), archived at http://perma.cc/WVR7-HBAM (pointing to an example of a patent dispute case); see also Ina Fried, Microsoft, TomTom Settle Patent Dispute, Cnet (Mar. 30, 2009), archived at http://perma.cc/LVR5-V33L (highlighting that Microsoft claimed TomTom's use of the Linux kernel were infringed).

(102) See Fried, supra note 101(cautioning software developers under the GPL that they could face patent litigation campaigns from large companies, such as Microsoft).

(103) See Fried, supra note 101 (reporting Microsoft's lawsuit against TomTom for patent infringement).

(104) See Fried, supra note 101 (explaining two of Microsoft's patents that cover legacy compatibility features in Microsoft's FAT file system).

(105) See Fried, supra note 101 (stating that TomTom's used the open source Linux kernel in its navigation products).

(106) See Fried, supra note 101 (concluding that Microsoft and TomTom settled with a licensing agreement).

(107) See, e.g., Bryan Pfaffenberger, The Coming Software Patent Crisis: Can Linux Survive?, LINUX JOURNAL (Aug. 10, 1999), archived at http://perma.cc/Y9A5C87A (discussing the long recognized hazard of open-source authors' vulnerability to patent infringement lawsuits).

(108) See Eric Krangel, Microsoft Sues TomTom for Linux Patent Infringement, BUSINESS INSIDER (Feb. 25, 2009), archived at http://perma.cc/88VY-JCU3 (citing Microsoft's various past claims against Linux for patent infringement).

(109) See id. (observing that Microsoft has had more than 200 of its patents infringed upon by Linux and other open source programs).

(110) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2, at 8 (discussing patent claims used to enforce patent licenses).

(111) See Jean O. Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, Characteristics of Patent Litigation: A Window on Competition, 32 THE RAND J. OF ECON. 129 (2001) (observing that competing firms commonly engage in patent litigation).

(112) See David Long & Matt Rizzolo, Protecting "End Users" from Patent Infringement Actions, INSIDE COUNSEL (Sept. 18, 2013), archived at http://perma.cc/X9LV-KP3P (commenting that historically a company rarely brought infringement claims against end users).

(113) See id. (describing how "end-users" now need protection from patent infringement actions).

(114) See Joe Mullin, Notorious "Scan-To-Email" Patents Go Big, Sue Coca-Cola And Dillard's, ARS TECHNICA (Jan. 6, 2014), archived at http://perma.cc/Y25JCH7A (reporting that MPHJ Technology Investments also brought a number of patent claims against small business workers over scan-to-email functions).

(115) See id. (announcing the MPHJ has established agreements to not bring claims against printer and copier companies that license with them).

(116) See George E. Henderson, A New Chapter 2 for Texas: Well-Suited or IllFitting, 41 Tex. Tech. L. Rev. 235, 271 (2009) (discussing whether a software transaction is a sale or licensing transaction).

(117) See Sapna Kumar, Enforcing the GNU GPL, 2006 U. Ill. J.L. Tech. & Pol'y 1, 16-17 (2006) (evaluating the UCC interpretation of software licenses and noting GPL is a failed contract).

(118) See U.C.C. [section] 2-102 (establishing that Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code applies to transactions in the sale of goods).

(119) See U.C.C. [section] 2-105(1) (citing the Uniform Commercial Code definition of "Goods").

(120) See JAMES J. WHITE & ROBERT S. SUMMERS, UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE [section] 21, 24 (6th ed. 2010) (describing what is included as "Goods" under the Uniform Commercial Code).

(121) See id. at 25-33 (discussing the application of UCC Article 2 to transactions in software).

(122) See id. at 27-28 (discussing the treatment of hybrid agreements that involve both goods and services).

(123) See Andrew Rodau, Computer Software: Does Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code Apply?, 35 Emory L. J. 853, 865 (1986) (noting the definition of goods attributed by the courts for other products is inconsistent with the treatment of software).

(124) WHITE & SUMMERS, supra note 120, at 25.

(125) See WHITE & SUMMERS, supra note 120, at 34 (resolving specific issues in regards to free software and the applicability of contract terms to those users).

(126) See Neibarger v. Universal Coop., Inc., 486 N.W.2d 612, 621-23 (Mich. 1992) (noting that if the intent is to acquire a good, the software will be governed under the UCC even though services would be involved, but if the intent was to acquire a service the transaction would not be governed by the UCC even though goods were involved).

(127) See Pearl Invs., LLC v. Standard I/O, Inc., 257 F. Supp. 2d 326, 353 (D. Me. 2003) (quoting "for purposes of applicability of the UCC, development of a software system from scratch primarily constitutes a service").

(128) See Micro Data Base Sys., Inc. v. Dharma Sys., Inc., 148 F.3d 649, 654-55 (7th Cir. 1998) (suggesting that when the sale of goods outweighs the service it is governed by the UCC); Advent Sys. Ltd. v. Unisys Corp., 925 F.2d 670, 675-76 (3d Cir. 1991) (adopting the argument that software is a good as defined by the UCC); RRX Indus., Inc. v. Lab-Con, Inc., 772 F.2d 543, 546-47 (9th Cir. 1985) (distinguishing software as a good from a service where the vendors sold preexisting software and any service accompanying the sale of such software is incidental).

(129) See Wachter Mgmt. Co. v. Dexter & Chaney, Inc., 282 Kan. 365, 369 (2006) (indicating that Kansas' Supreme Court considers software is "goods:); AlBawaba.com, Inc. v. Nstein Tech. Corp., 862 N.Y.S.2d 812 (2008) (discussing the implications of the parties agreeing to treat software as a service).

(130) See What is Free Software?, GNU, archived at http://perma.cc/LED9-EK69 (describing free software licenses, which allow users the freedom to copy, run, and further modify the software).

(131) See Sigmond, supra note 9 at 89 (revealing how the momentous use of open source licensing is creating a wide scope of legal issues).

(132) See Rodau, supra note 123, at 858-59 (noting various rules of Article 2 regarding the formation of contracts of sale).

(133) See U.C.C. [section] 2-313 (explaining ways an express warranty by the seller may be created); see also U.C.C. [section] 2-314 (announcing that there is an implied warranty that the goods sold shall be merchantable when the seller is a merchant dealing with goods of that kind); U.C.C. [section] 2-301 (describing the obligations of the parties in a contract for the sale of goods); U.C.C. [section] 2-703 (listing various remedies for sellers in the event the buyer breaches the contract by rejecting or revoking acceptance of the goods or failing to make timely payment on or before delivery of goods); U.C.C. [section] 2-711 (explaining remedies for the buyer in a sales transaction when the seller breaches the contract).

(134) See WHALEY & MCJOHN, supra note 28, at 8-14 (discussing the treatment of contracts of sales of software); Advent System Ltd., 925 F.2d at 675-76 (stating the majority of courts view software as fitting within the definition of a "good" under the U.C.C.); Dahlmann v. Sulcus Hospitality Technologies, Corp., 63 F. Supp. 2d 772, 775 (E.D. Mich. 1999) (looking to the intent of the purchaser as to whether the contract is covered by the UCC); Softman Products Co., LLC v. Adobe Systems,

(135) See Rodau, supra note 123, at 892 (addressing that Article 2 of the U.C.C. applies to computer software even in a common law system, which narrowly construes statutes to limit their application).

(136) See Rodau, supra note 123, at 862 n.35 (inferring that electronics are goods because they can be distributed to users in a variety of physical mediums).

(137) See Rodau, supra note 123, at 870 (demonstrating that software is contained in an array of electronics).

(138) See Adam Fabio, Advanced Transcend WiFi SD Hacking: Custom Kernels, X, and Firefox, HACK A DAY (Sept. 19, 2013), archived at http://perma.cc/CZ6NPMSW (discussing that Linux can be embedded on microchips such as an SD card).

(139) See id. (noting a case of GPL enforcement involved the code on a WiFi card). The Transcend WiFi card was programmed with GPL'd code. See id. (noting that the transcend card included GPL). When the card was sold, it nevertheless was not sold with access to the source code, a violation of the GPL. See id. (acknowledging that excluding other source codes was a GPL violation). After considerable prodding from the free software community, the maker agreed to release the code. See id. (highlighting one of the most cavalier GPL violations in regards to WiFi and Linux).

(140) See Rodau, supra note 123, at 864 (noting Section 2-102 makes Article 2 generally applicable to transactions in goods).

(141) See Rodau, supra note 123, at 874-75 (expressing that at the point when software becomes a physical medium, it is a tangible object).

(142) See McJohn, supra note 3, at 38 (articulating incentives such as enjoyment of programming, the desire to show off technical feats to others in the field or to further computer science).

(143) See John R. Ackermann, Toward Open Source Hardware, 34 DAYTON L. REV. 183, 212 (2009) (introducing TAPR Open Hardware, which is an attempt to translate the concepts of Open Source Software into an Open Source Hardware community).

(144) See id. at 184 (asserting that individuals in the industry sought to implement a free and open source philosophy comparable to the GNU General Public License).

(145) See id. at 183 (discussing the goals of GPL). "At its most fundamental, the goal of licenses like the GPL is to foster a community where those who benefit from the work of others in turn contribute their improvements to that community. A similar movement, inspired by many of the same concerns that drove those software developers, has taken shape among people involved in electronic hardware design efforts on a collaborative basis: the idea of Open Source Hardware." Id. at 183.

(146) See The TAPR Open Hardware License, TAPR (May 25, 2007), archived at http://perma.cc/6GPB-LUPD (comparing the TARP license to the GPL). The warranty exclusion in the TAPR license tracks the language from the GPL, including the lack of any exclusion of the warranty of noninfringement: "THE DOCUMENTATION IS PROVIDED ON AN "AS-IS" BASIS WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND TITLE, ARE HEREBY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED." Id.

(147) Cf. Eli Greenbaum, Open Source Semiconductor Core Licensing, 25 HARV. J.L. & Tech. 131 (2011) (discussing use of GPL to license semiconductor cores).

(148) See Frequently Asked Questions, ARDUINO, archived at http://perma.cc/3U73Z7P8 (discussing the use of Creative Commons Share Alike license).

(149) See Lori Brennan, Why Article 2 Cannot Apply to Software Transactions, 38 Duq. L. Rev. 459, 461-62 (discussing courts treatment of software transactions as nothing more than sale of goods). See also Kerry M. Smith, Suing the Provider of Computer Software: How Courts are Applying U.C.C. Article Two, Strict Tort Liability, and Professional Malpractice, 24 WILLAMETTE L. REV. 743, 746 (1988) (discussing the categorization of software as a good).

(150) See U.C.C. [section] 2-102 (introducing Article 2 as applying to transactions in goods).

(151) See Smith, supra note 149, at 746 (noting that if a transaction strictly referred to the passing of title to the property, then the licensing of software would not be considered a transaction because the license only allows the use of the good, not the full transfer of title to that good).

(152) See Selling Free Software, GNU, archived at http://perma.cc/7LD7-P8YG (stating that free software is sometimes distributed without cost).

(153) See Selling Free Software, supra note 152 (defining "free" software in two general contexts: freedom or to price, with some free programs distributed at no cost and some at substantial prices).

(154) See Sigmond, supra note 9, at 89 (listing numerous software projects hosted by SourceForge).

(155) See Sigmond, supra note 9, at 89 (describing internet platforms, like SourceForge, that are used for hosting open source projects).

(156) See U.C.C. [section] 2-102 (excluding gifts).

(157) See Brian W. Carver, Part I: Law and Technology: IV. Business Law: A. Notes: Share and Share Alike: Understanding and Enforcing Open Source and Free Software Licenses, 20 Berkeley Tech. L.J. 443, 448 n.34 (2005) (noting a restriction found in the GPL that requires that the license's text, including user's rights and responsibilities, be included with any software distribution under the GPL).

(158) See Articles of the UCC, US Legal, archived at http://perma.cc/7BBG-JFHY (summarizing the Articles of the UCC).

(159) See id. (discussing the scope of UCC article 2).

(160) See U.C.C. [section] 2-103-106 (omitting a definition of a transaction).

(161) See U.C.C. [section] 1-201 (stating that "transaction" is not defined in the broad definitions of Article 1).

(162) See Ackermann, supra note 143, at 211 (giving an example of conditions imposed by the Open Hardware License (OHL)).

(163) See Ackermann, supra note 143, at 183 (noting that the purpose of licenses are to ensure that software users retain the freedoms afforded by the definition of Free Software).

(164) See Jackson, supra note 82, at 1 (describing possible legal implications for redistribution of software).

(165) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (explaining how free software exchanges are often treated like transactions).

(166) See discussion infra pp. 28-30 (discussing the issue of whether the GPL is a contract or a bare license).

(167) See Sean Silverthorne, Red Hat Software Sells Free Software, ZDNET (Sept. 26, 1998), archived at http://perma.cc/PKS7-BXXZ (stating that Red Hat distributes free software via sales); see also Julie Bort, A Feisty Linux Company That Wants to Take on Android, Slate (July 14, 2013), archived at http://perma.cc/DCG5-QDMF (stating that Canonical is known for distribution of Linux software).

(168) What is Free Software?, supra note 130; see also Rustad, supra note 1, at 357 (quoting Richard Stallman "Free as in free software means liberty to use source code, not that it was necessarily free in price like free beer").

(169) See Subhasish Dasgupta, Encyclopedia of Virtual Communities and Technologies 285-86 (George Washington University ed., 2006) (stating that freeware's key difference from "free software" is that the licenses do not allow sale).

(170) See Bort, supra note 167 (stating that Canonical is known for selling Linux software); see also Silverthorne, supra note 167 (stating Red Hat sells free software).

(171) See Silverthorne, supra note 167 (listing the additional services and variations offered by Red Hat).

(172) See Operating Systems, Geek, archived at http://perma.cc/5ABT-8JW8 (indicating that preloaded Android software comes with mobile phones).

(173) See Stallman, supra note 20 (listing the Apache 2.0 License as an example of an adapted software by Android).

(174) See Advent System Ltd., 925 F.2d at 675-76 (emphasizing the majority of courts view software distribution as sales of goods under the U.C.C.).

(175) See Gomulkiewicz, supra note 30, at 893 (discussing commercial transactions in terms of software distribution).

(176) See Stallman, supra note 1, at 20 (defining "free" in free software to indicate the freedom of use by the user).

(177) See Selling Free Software, supra note 152 (explaining the process of selling software which indicates software distribution at a price or at no price at all).

(178) See Selling Free Software, supra note 152 (analyzing a software distribution as a moneyless transaction).

(179) See, e.g., Cross license definition, Merriam-Webster (Oct. 2, 2014,), archived at http://perma.cc/B9S5-BV63 (defining cross license as "a license that is granted by a patent holder to another . . . who reciprocates with a similar license").

(180) See U.C.C. [section] 2-102 (describing the scope of Article 2 and application to transactions).

(181) See William D. Hawkland & Linda J. Rusch, Transactions in Goods, 1 HAWKLAND UCC SERIES [section] 2-102:2 (2014) (noting that, for Article 2 to apply, there must be a "transaction" and that transaction must be "in goods").

(182) Cf M.A. Mortenson Co. v. Timberline Software Corp., 998 P.2d 305, 310 (2000) (accepting the parties' assertion that UCC Article 2 applies to software licensing).

(183) See discussion infra pp. 28-30 (describing why the provisions in Article 2 were drafted to apply to some free software distribution).

(184) See I. Lan Systems, Inc. v. Netscout Service Level Corp., 183 F. Supp. 2d 328, 332 (D. Mass. 2002) (discussing that UCC Article 2 was applied by the court to an embedded agreement within a sale of software).

(185) See id. (discussing that software law in Massachusetts and noting that most states do not have laws governing software licenses).

(186) See id. (discussing resistance to adoption of a comprehensive legislative scheme, Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act ("UCITA"), to govern software licensing).

(187) See id. at 331 (inferring from opinion that other courts will apply Article 2 to software licensing transactions as the U.S District Court of Massachusetts did).

(188) See id. at 331 (discussing how a software contract may not appear to be a transfer of goods).

(189) See U.C.C. [section] 2-105 (defining "goods" as moveable items).

(190) See Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU Licenses, GNU OPERATING System (Oct. 18, 2014), archived at http://perma.cc/8VZJ-TSHA (stating that the whole point of the GPL is to provide the code to users).

(191) See id. (discussing that distributing software without some of the source codes would violate the GPL).

(192) See John A. Rothchild, The Incredible Shrinking First-Sale Rule: Are Software Resale Limits Lawful, 57 RUTGERS L. REV. 1, 5 (2004) (describing how a transaction involving acquisitions of software involves a license to use the software).

(193) See White & Summers, supra note 120, at 25 (stating that courts "sometimes hesitantly, have generally held under section 2-102 that computer software are 'goods'").

(194) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (explaining the disclaimer of warranty provision in free software).

(195) See infra p. 30-31 (describing the GPL's attempt to exclude all warranties).

(196) GNU General Public License, supra note 2, at 9.

(197) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2, at 9 (inferring that the language of the GPL is in compliance with article 2-316 of the UCC); see also U.C.C. [section] 2316 (stating the words necessary to negate a warranty or modify implied warranties of merchantability).

(198) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2, at 9 (stating that the disclaimer of warranties includes warranties of merchantability and fitness).

(199) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2, at 9 (noting the "AS IS" language of this provision is similar to that language included in subsection 3 of the UCC 2-316).

(200) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2, at 9 (highlighting the font of this provision meets the conspicuous requirement set forth in subsection 2 of the UCC 2-316).

(201) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2, at 9 (inferring that the UCC 2316 is the correct provision to apply to the GPL).

(202) See Clemons v. Nissan N. America, Inc., 997 N.E.2d 307, 318 (Ill. App. Ct. 2013) (noting that the specific language is required to exclude warranties).

(203) See WHITE & SUMMERS, supra note 120, at 27 (explaining the ideal approach to questions of law involving software and hardware).

(204) See WHITE & SUMMERS, supra note 120, at 27 (outlining a policy based approach).

(205) See WHITE & SUMMERS, supra note 120, at 26 (explaining how some software issues do not fall under Article 2 and the predicament this imposes).

(206) WHITE & SUMMERS, supra note 120, at 27.

(207) See WHITE & SUMMERS, supra note 120, at 28 (considering the majority's application of the policy approach).

(208) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (articulating the warranty provisions).

(209) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (articulating works covered by warranty, and those that are not).

(210) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (outlining the warranty of noninfringement).

(211) GNU General Public License, supra note 2.

(212) GNU General Public License, supra note 2.

(213) GNU General Public License, supra note 2.

(214) GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (emphasizing the original, and adding extra emphasis). The license is hardly exceptional in its exclusion of the warranty of merchantability; see Robert W. Gomulkiewicz, The Implied Warranty of Merchantability in Software Contracts: A Warranty No One Dares to Give and How to Change That, 16 J. MARSHALL J. COMPUTER & INFO. L. 393, 402 (1997) (stating the implied warranty of merchantability "represents a well-intended but failed idea").

(215) See infra pp. 22 (discussing that the warranty makes the risk of being sued for patent infringement greater).

(216) See U.C.C. [section] 2-316 (discussing the exclusion or modification of warranties).

(217) Id.

(218) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (excluding and modifying implied warranties).

(219) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (remaining silent on proffering warranties).

(220) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (rejecting all implied warranties).

(221) GNU General Public License, supra note 2.

(222) GNU General Public License, supra note 2.

(223) See U.C.C. [section] 2-316 (excluding implied warranties).

(224) See id. (excluding express warranties).

(225) See id. (explaining the exclusion of warranties under the U.C.C.).

(226) See id. (stating "there are no warranties which extend beyond the description on the face hereof').

(227) See U.C.C. [section] 1-201 (explaining that U.C.C. definitions are limited to a contractual context, rather than matching up with layman's terms).

(228) U.C.C. [section] 9-102(iii) (defining "account" as expressly excluding "deposit accounts").

(229) Morgan County Feeders, Inc. v. McCormick, 836 P.2d 1051, 1053 (Colo. App. 1992) (holding that cattle used in dude ranch cattle drives were not inventory, consumer goods, or farm products, and thus fell into the residual category of "equipment"). According to [section] 4-9-109(2), C.R.S., goods are equipment "if they are used or bought for use primarily in business (including farming or a profession) ... or if the goods are not included in the definitions of inventory, farm products, or consumer goods." Id. at 1053.

(230) See U.C.C. [section] 9-102(iii) (providing that a consignment is not considered a consignment if the consignor is "generally known by its creditors to be substantially engaged in selling the goods of others").

(231) U.C.C. [section] 2-312.

(232) See U.C.C. [section] 2-312(1) (stating that in a contract for sale there is an embedded warranty that title shall be good, transfer rightful, and the goods free from encumbrances).

(233) See id. (providing an example of one of the most fundamental warranties inherent in a contract to sell).

(234) See id. (stating that the warranty will be breached if a seller lacks authority to contract for the sale of the goods).

(235) U.C.C. [section] 2-312(2).

(236) See id. (explaining that the warranty can be modified if specific language is used or the circumstances are known to the buyer).

(237) See U.C.C. [section] 2-312 cmt. 6 (stating that warranty of title is not an implied warranty and therefore not excluded by a general warranty disclaimer).

(238) See U.C.C. [section] 2-312.

(239) See U.C.C. [section] 2-312(3) (outlining the warranties required by the seller and that the goods should be delivered free from infringement).

(240) See id. (requiring that a merchant warrants that the "goods shall be delivered free of the rightful claim of any third person by way of infringement or the like").

(241) See id. (offering the requirements of a warranty of noninfringement).

(242) See id. (discussing the buyer's obligation against infringement).

(243) See id. (requiring the seller to warrant that the goods are free of any infringement claims).

(244) See id. (inferring that a violation of the warranty against infringement would make the seller liable to the buyer).

(245) See Phoenix Solutions, Inc. v. Sony Electronics, Inc., 637 F. Supp. 2d at 683, 700 (N.D. Cal. 2009) (denying the third party defendant's motion for summary judgment claiming Sony supplied them with specifications to be customized, and thereby falling under the exception in U.C.C. [section] 2-312(3)).

(246) See U.C.C. [section] 2-312 cmt. 3 (discussing third party role in non-infringement warranties).

(247) See id. (indicating that it is the seller's duty "to see that no claim of infringement of a patent or trademark by a third party will mar the buyer's title").

(248) See Phoenix Solutions, 637 F. Supp. 2d at 696 (quoting Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc. v. Olaes Enters., Inc., 84 Cal. Rptr. 3d 182, 194 (Cal. Ct. App. 2008)).

(249) See Phoenix Solutions, 637 F. Supp. 2d at 696 (reiterating how an appropriate claim sits somewhere "between a purely frivolous claim and a claim that has been proven to show liability").

(250) See id. (calculating that a claim for patent infringement is risky because no court has specifically held claim construction as a necessary requirement to a rightful claim).

(251) See U.C.C. [section] 2-312 (acknowledging that it is the duty of the seller to ensure that no claim of infringement will interfere with the buyer's title).

(252) See U.C.C. [section] 2-312(1)(a) (specifying that "title conveyed shall be good").

(253) See U.C.C. [section] 2-312(2) (describing exclusions or modifications of warranties under subsection 1).

(254) See U.C.C. [section] 2-312(3) (solidifying the duty of a seller to ensure good title to third party buyers).

(255) See infra pp. 24-31.

(256) See infra pp. 34-7 (discussing an explicit exclusion of a warranty for infringement).

(257) Uniform Commercial Code, US LEGAL, INC., archived at http://perma.cc/CHN78QLU (identifying the UCC as a "comprehensive modernization of various statutes relating to commercial transactions").

(258) See U.C.C. [section] 2-314(3) (stating that implied warranties may arise from the "course of dealing or usage of trade").

(259) See PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW OF SOFTWARE CONTRACTS [section]13.09 (2014) (stating that the American Law Institute's Principles of the Law of Software Contracts replaced the warranty against infringement in the UCC Article 2,which created a warranty whenever a licensor makes representations that a licensee would reasonably rely on and limits disclaimers of warranties which the licensee would find unexpected); see also Here's a Quick Way to Understand Uniform Commercial Code, Laws.com, archived at http://perma.cc/75MZ-SKHC (noting the ALI's role in developing the UCC).

(260) See Kristie Prinz, Series on ALI Software Contract Principles: Changes Default Rule from Implied Warranty to Implied Indemnification Against Infringment, SILICON VALLEY IP LICENSING LAW BLOG (June 4, 2009), archived at http://perma.cc/L5A6-K6AF (explaining the ALI principles for implied indemnification in a software contract).

(261) See AMERICAN LAW INSTITUTE, PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW OF SOFTWARE CONTRACTS [section] 3.01(e) (2010) (allowing the transferor disclaimer of an indemnification obligation).

(262) Id. at [section] 3.01(e)(1) (noting the requirements for a transferor to be disclaimed of indemnification obligations).

(263) See id. at [section] 3.01(e)(2) (stating that indemnification may be "excluded or modified ... by course of performance, course of dealing, or usage of trade").

(264) See id. at [section] 3.01 cmt. a (specifying that indemnity is applicable only in cases where the transferor receives money for the software).

(265) See American Law Institute, PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW OF SOFTWARE CONTRACTS [section] 3, topic 1, summary overview (noting that requiring open source software developers to indemnify each other would have a "chilling effect"):
   The Principles do not imply indemnification by the transferor if
   the transferor did not receive money or the right to payment of a
   monetary obligation in exchange for the software. This would be the
   case for many collaborators in the open-source community who
   routinely exchange code without requiring monetary compensation in
   return. open-source developers often are a large, diverse group and
   individual contributors may not have access to counsel to assist
   them in evaluating copyright or trade-secret claims or searching
   for patents, many of which may be invalid. An indemnification duty
   therefore may have a chilling effect on participation in
   open-source projects. Id.


(266) See U.C.C. [section] 2-312(3) (stating that a warranty of title is in effect by default "unless otherwise agreed").

(267) White & Summers, supra note 120, at 504-05.

(268) See U.C.C. [section] 2-312(2) (indicating that specific language must be used to exclude or modify a warranty of title).

(269) JONES v. LINEBAUGH, 191 N.W.2d 142, 144 (Mich. Ct. App. 1971).

(270) WHITE & SUMMERS, supra note 120, at 505, n.15.

(271) See, e.g., Bunge Corp. v. N. Trust Co., 623 N.E.2d 785, 791-92 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993) (inferring that the term warranty can be construed to include warranty of non-infringement without stating the precise terms infringe or infringement, because the term warranty equates to ownership); GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (displaying the language "WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND" in its disclaimer of warranty provision).

(272) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (providing a disclaimer of warranty within the terms and conditions of the license).

(273) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (stating the licensee bears the burden of any issues as to quality and performance of the programs).

(274) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (disclaiming explicitly the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose).

(275) GNU General Public License, supra note 2.

(276) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (making no reference to infringement of third party rights).

(277) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (mentioning no infringement of third party rights in any other section of the license).

(278) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (outlining patent rights with no mention of any limitation on the warranty of noninfringement).

(279) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (postulating that the absence of any language on warranty of noninfrigment suggests no agreement has been made).

(280) See Lothar Determann, Dangerous Liaisons--Software Combinations as Derivative Works, 21 BERKELEY TECH. L.J. 1421, 1491-92 (2006) (stating the GPL allows licensees to sell and resell copies).

(281) See id. at 1494 (explaining that the software transfer is considered a transfer of rights between the licensees).

(282) See Mark R. Patterson, Must Licenses Be Contracts? Consent and Notice in Intellectual Property, 40 FLA. St. U. L. Rev. 105, 107-08 (2012) (inferring that the GPL insists on "bare licenses" because they are advocates of open source software).

(283) See id. at 135-38 (discussing GPL restrictions on bare licenses).

(284) See id. at 137-38 (stating that the GPL terminates permissive use in the event of a violation).

(285) See id. at 135 (specifying that the permissions were free from restrictions between the parties).

(286) The GPL is a License, Not a Contract, Which is Why the Sky Isn't Falling, GROKLAW (Dec. 14, 2003), archived at http://perma.cc/8KH5-3NAR (discussing why the GPL code is a license rather than a contract).

(287) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 107-08 (noting that "[p]rominent advocates of open source copyright licensing vigorously contend that access to open-source software is granted through property-law 'bare licenses' whose terms are binding on licensees even without their consent").

(288) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 108 (adopting the view that licensing restrictions are only enforceable with a contract as long as there is constructive notice by the owner).

(289) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 148 (illustrating how assent is formed regardless of the user's lack of notice of the license).

(290) See, e.g., JAMES BROOK, SECURED TRANSACTIONS: EXAMPLES & EXPLANATIONS, 25-27 (4th ed. 2008) (discussing how some leases may be considered security agreements under Article 9 of the UCC "irrespective of the form in which it is initially presented to the world").

(291) See Gomulkiewicz, supra note 30, at n.18 (displaying the common controversy regarding critiques of commercial law court opinions).

(292) See BROOK, supra note 290 (describing forms made to look like leases, but in actuality are security agreements).

(293) See Maria del Pilar Perales Viscasillas, Battle of the Forms, Modification of Contract, Commercial Letters of Confirmation: Comparison of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) with the Principles of European Contract Law (PECL), 14 PACE INT'L L. Rev. 153, 158-161 (2002) (discussing that contract modifications in a commercial confirmation letter can be accepted by the recipient's silence).

(294) See Michael P. Sullivan, Annotation, Effect on Negotiability of Instrument, Under Terms of UCC [section]3-104(1) of Statements Expressly Limiting Negotiability or Transferability, 58 A.L.R.4TH 632 [section] 2[a] (1987) (highlighting that a negotiable promissory note can be made nonnegotiable by writing "nonnegotiable" on the face of the instrument).

(295) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 108 (discussing the "bare license" theory).

(296) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 117-18 (discussing how "bare licenses" could apply to real property).

(297) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 117-18 (noting that a licensor can grant permission for licensee to enter property "for specific purposes").

(298) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 119 (noting that "few personal property cases have enforced this form of restriction").

(299) See Thomas W. Merrill & Henry E. Smith, The Property/Contract Interface, 101 Colum. L. Rev. 773, 774-75 (2001) (highlighting the legal uncertainties of applying real property law to intellectual property).

(300) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 109 (establishing the drawbacks in the current legal landscape).

(301) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 109 (acknowledging the reluctance of courts to enforce non-contractual intellectual property license restrictions).

(302) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 110 (emphasizing the inherent difficulties of authors relying on such novel property rights).

(303) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 147-150 (providing example of limited protection under bare licenses in comparison to two-sided contracts).

(304) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 147-48, (quoting Richard M. Stallman,"[t]here's another reason not to use contract law: It would require every distributor to get a user's formal assent to the contract before providing a copy. To hand someone a CD without getting his signature first would be forbidden. What a pain in the neck!")

(305) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 148 (discussing the concerns of parties being subject to restriction of which they are unaware).

(306) See GNU General Public License, Version 3, OPEN SOURCE INITIATIVE (June 29, 2007), archived at http://perma.cc/M9BS-YLL3 [hereinafter GPL Version 3] (discussing the terms of the license agreement in the preamble).

(307) Id.

(308) GNU General Public License, Version 2, OPEN SOURCE INITIATIVE (June 2, 1991), archived at http://perma.cc/KU63-GNYB [hereinafter GPL Version 2].

(309) See id. (conditioning permission to modify or distribute the program or its derivative works on acceptance of License); see also GPL Version 3, supra note 306 (noting that acceptance of license terms is required for modifying or propagating covered works).

(310) See GPL Version 3, supra note 306 (discussing basis for automatically terminating the license).

(311) See Kumar, supra note 117, at 14-15 (discussing the potential contract litigation that could arise under the GPL).

(312) See Kumar, supra note 117, at 19-20 (inferring this idea from the reliance on contract law for GPL disputes).

(313) See Kumar, supra note 117, at 24-25 (examining the GPL within the framework of contract law, including promissory estoppel).

(314) But see Kumar, supra note 117, at 16 (concluding that the GPL is not a contract).

(315) Cf. Theresa Gue, Triggering Infection: Distribution and Derivative Works Under the GNU General Public License, 2012 U. ILL. J.L. TECH. & POL'Y 95, 101-102 (discussing the potential implications of a user modifying or distributing code under the GPL).

(316) Cf. Apik Minassian, The Death of Copyright: Enforceability of Shrinkwrap Licensing Agreements, 45 UCLA L. Rev. 569, 571 (1997) (discussing typical shrinkwrap licenses including those that are contained within a package and bind the user upon opening).

(317) See Sean F. Crotty, The How and Why of Shrinkwrap License Validation Under the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act, 33 RUTGERS L.J. 745, 758-59 (2002) (inferring that the benefits of shrinkwrap licenses outweigh the burden of requiring prior consent of consumers).

(318) See Ed Bayley, The Clicks That Bind: Ways Users "Agree" to Online Terms of Service, ELECTRONIC FRONTIER Foundation (Nov. 16, 2009), archived at http://perma.cc/W7K8-LY3T (describing that with a simple clicking of a box users may be binding themselves to a contract as stated in the terms of agreement).

(319) See Mark A. Lemley, Terms of Use, 91 Minn. L. Rev. 459, 464-65 (2006) (explaining that assent is not required by both parties to bind parties to a contract).

(320) See Uniform Commercial Code Article 2B Licenses, MINDSERPENT.COM (Mar. 10, 1998), archived at http://perma.cc/B5V5-DA5D (stating that the UCC and contract law have flexible standards).

(321) See Wallace v. IBM, 467 F.3d 1104, 1107 (7th Cir. 2006) (stating that "copyright and patent laws give authors a right to charge more, so that they can recover their fixed costs (and thus promote innovation), but they do not require authors to charge more. No more does antitrust law require higher prices"). Although the GPL is very widely used for free software, the Seventh Circuit rejected the argument that its use constituted a conspiracy at monopolization of relevant software markets or an illegal agreement to set prices for software. See id. at 1106.

(322) See Crotty, supra note 317, at 757 (inferring that if a consumer sees reference to the GPL and subsequently opens up the product the contractual terms contained in the GPL is now binding).

(323) See Crotty, supra note 317, at 755 (inferring that explicit assent is not required by both parties to form a contract); see also Lemley, supra note 319, at 464-65 (reaffirming the idea that mutual assent is not required to bind both parties to a contract).

(324) U.C.C. [section] 2-204(1).

(325) See U.C.C. [section] 2-207(3) (stating that in the absence of an actual contract, conduct that recognizes a contract can be sufficient to establish one).

(326) See id. (inferring that the terms of the GPL may not be included in a contract established by conduct).

(327) See id. (inferring that the GPL would not be incorporated into a contract established by conduct under other provisions of the UCC)).

(328) Id.

(329) See id. (referencing that this provision still needs to be interpreted in regards to the incorporation of the GPL).

(330) See infra pp. 35-38 (outlining when warranties may be excluded by usage of trade).

(331) See U.C.C. [section] 2-312 (codifying buyers obligation against infringement but also supplying the ability to modify the warranty provided); see also U.C.C. [section] 2-316 (codifying exclusion or modification of warranties).

(332) See U.C.C. [section] 2-316 (stating explicitly, "an implied warranty can also be excluded or modified by course of dealing or course of performance or usage of trade").

(333) See id. (inferring that based on the scope and language included in the exclusion or modification of warranties the application could be easily applied).

(334) U.C.C. [section] 2-312.

(335) See U.C.C. [section] 2-316 (announcing that ".. .unless the circumstances indicate otherwise, all implied warranties are excluded by expressions like 'as is,' 'with all faults' or other language which in common understanding calls the buyer's attention to the exclusion of warranties and makes plain that there is no implied warranty"). It is commonly understood at an auction that all goods are sold as is to the highest bidder.

(336) See id. (inferring that based on the reasoning behind [section] 2-316, it follows that the same should apply to warranty of noninfringement).

(337) See id. (determining the standard for the warranty of noninfringement).

(338) See id. (explaining the proposition that when dealing with the usage of trade, an implied warranty can be excluded or modified).

(339) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (discussing the commonly held idea that free software has a warranty of noninfringement).

(340) See Software Warranties, SOFTWARE CONTRACTS. NET (2008), archived at http://perma.cc/4YJK-NAS3 (explaining that off the shelf software is often sold on an "as-is" basis).

(341) U.C.C. [section] 1-303.

(342) See U.C.C. [section] 2-316 (dealing with the usage of trade and the warranty of noninfringement);. See also GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (inferring the implications of free software).

(343) See Intellectual Property Indemnity Clauses, INTELLECTUAL PROP. & TECH. Forum (Apr. 23, 2014), archived at http://perma.cc/UG63-6GUC (inferring that a previous lack of interest on the part of the legal community has led to a lack of precautionary measures in this area).

(344) See E. GABRIELLA COLEMAN, CODING FREEDOM: THE ETHICS AND AESTHETICS OF HACKING, 119 (Princeton Univ. Press 2012) (explaining how software developers place a high emphasis on continuous learning to promote technological advancement).

(345) See DFSG and Software License FAQ (Draft), archived at http://perma.cc/8SH6-HELN (clarifying legal inquiries presented by users about free software licensing); see also Coleman, supra note 344, at 143 (noting that the Debian community provides a platform for software licensing improvement.)

(346) See DFFSG and Software License FAQ (Draft), supra note 345 (addressing common issues experienced by users of free software licensing).

(347) See DFSG and Software License FAQ (Draft), supra note 345 (outlining three forms of software licensing actions that are available to users for their specific needs).

(348) See, e.g., GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (protecting developers and authors by disclaiming that there is no warranty for GPL's free software).

(349) See Intellectual Property Indemnity Clause, supra note 343 (omitting discussion of any exclusion of the warranty of noninfringement).

(350) See Matthew Hennessy & Mark Weber, Software License Agreements--3 Key Provisions (Scope, Infringement and Cap), LEXOLOGY (Nov. 14, 2011), archived at http://perma.cc/44RQ-HHXU (discussing that a non-infringement warranty will be excluded if not explicitly expressed within the software license).

(351) See Various Licenses and Comments about Them, GNU OPERATING SYSTEM, archived at http://perma.cc/33PS-CTT5 (listing free licenses that exclude warranties of non-infringement).

(352) Apache License, supra note 100.

(353) Artistic License 2.0., The Perl Found., archived at http://perma.cc/WWF5A698.

(354) BSD License Definition, supra note 39.

(355) Licensing/Intel ACPI Software License Agreement, THE FEDORA PROJECT, archived at http://perma.cc/FG94-LYZX.

(356) See IBM Public License Version 1.0, OPEN SOURCE INITIATIVE, archived at http://perma.cc/EE9W-VWWV (applying no warranty to noninfringement).

(357) See Standard ML of New Jersey Copyright, Notice, License, and Disclaimer, Standard ML of New Jersey, archived at http://perma.cc/R6J6-EV3Y (excluding a specific statement disclaiming any warranty of noninfringement).

(358) BSD License Definition, supra note 39.

(359) See CECILL Free Software License Agreement, CECILL, archived at http://perma.cc/6MCA-GJP7 (declaring the exclusion of noninfringement by stating that "the Licensor does not either expressly or tacitly warrant that the Software does not infringe any third party intellectual right ...").

(360) Id.

(361) See id. (excluding the use of "block capitals" from the French drafted license).

(362) See History of PSF Officers & Directors, PYTHON SOFTWARE FOUNDATION, archived at http://perma.cc/CK8A-QG5H (listing officers and directors between 2001 and 2014).

(363) Python 2.0.1 License, PYTHON, archived at http://perma.cc/6N8F-XJGB.

(364) Id.

(365) See id. (inferring that there are no implied warranties in the disclaimer).

(366) See id. (highlighting an example of a disclaimer that excludes the warranty of infringement).

(367) See The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a Nonprofit with a Worldwide Mission to Promote Computer User Freedom and to Defend the Rights of all Free Software Users, FREE SOFTWARE FOUND., INC., archived at http://perma.cc/P8NM4HYL (highlighting the Free Software Foundation and excluding any mention of the warranty of infringement).

(368) See id. (inferring that the excluded warranty is frequently not used by users).

(369) See The SCO Inc., 578 F.3d 1201, at 1204 (10th Cir. 2009) (discussing a singular example of licensing rights).

(370) See Silverthorne, supra note 167 (pointing to Red Hat selling versions of Linux software).

(371) See SCO, 578 F.3d at 1206-07 (introducing the confusion with Linux licensing agreements with SCO).

(372) See Jonathan Zittrain, Normative Principles For Evaluating Free And Proprietary Software, 71 U. Chi. L. Rev. 265, 267 (2004) (describing history of disputes involving rights to Linux, an open source operating system).

(373) See Stephen Shankland, Red Hat Offers Software Warranty, CNET News (Jan. 19, 2004), archived at www.perma.cc/BV6C-SZSS (introducing Open Source Assurance Program, which is offered by Red Hat to protect customers against copyright infringement).

(374) See id. (comparing similar indemnification plans used by Novell, HewlettPackard and Montavista).

(375) See SCO, 578 F.3d at 1206-07 (highlighting the complexities involved in copyrights under a purchase agreement which may or may not satisfy the warranty of infringement).

(376) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (highlighting the easiest method of avoiding the default rule regarding the warranty for free software).

(377) GNU General Public License, supra note 2.

(378) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (banning individuals from moditying the terms of the GPL).

(379) See Frequently Asked Questions about GNU Licenses, supra note 190 (noting the near certainty that a modified license may be incompatible with the GNU GPL and offering the use of the exception offered by GPL version 3 as an alternative).

(380) See Frequently Asked Questions about GNU Licenses, supra note 190 (explaining that the most widespread license is the GNU GPL).

(381) See Frequently Asked Questions about GNU Licenses, supra note 190 (explaining that the "proliferation of different free software licenses is a burden").

(382) See Frequently Asked Questions about GNU Licenses, supra note 190 (allowing users to modify and customize the GPL as long as the new license is given another name, does not include the GPL preamble, and the instructions-for-use are modified and clearly do not mention the GNU).

(383) Cf. Frequently Asked Questions about GNU Licenses, supra note 190 (describing the "mere proliferation of different free software licenses" as "a burden in and of itself').

(384) See Frequently Asked Questions about GNU Licenses, supra note 190 (offering that it is possible to make multiple versions of the GPL although it tends to have practical consequences).

(385) See Frequently Asked Questions about GNU Licenses, supra note 190 (commenting that you are not required to claim a copyright on changes to modified versions of a GPL).

(386) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (explaining the terms and conditions of when copyrighting applies).

(387) See Gue, supra note 315, at 124-25 (highlighting the limits and abilities of creating a derivative work).

(388) See Gue, supra note 315, at 127 (indicating that under fair use, owners of GPLcovered work do not face liability for infringement).

(389) See Gue, supra note 315, at 102 (defining how the GPL works under the license theory).

(390) See Gue, supra note 315, at n. 143 (discussing how a loophole in the GPL could become contrary to the spirit of the GPL).

(391) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (asserting that the GPL clearly states that there is no warranty for free software and some devices may deny users access to use modified versions of the software).

(392) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (allowing the terms of the GPL to be supplemented through exceptions).

(393) GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (explaining how one can supplement terms of the license).

(394) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (noting that additional permissions on material can be added when one has the appropriate copyright permission).

(395) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (inferring that unless proper measures are instituted when sharing covered work issues might arise).

(396) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (explaining that when an individual is conveyed a copy of covered work, they then have the option to remove additional permissions from the copy).

(397) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (indicating that when a party redistributes software, this shared software will still be covered by a warranty of noninfringement).

(398) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (recognizing that when you share software that you have modified, you must pass the same freedoms that you received).

(399) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (suggesting that because free software is shared readily, it is rare that the software has not been changed since its creation).

(400) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (stating the GPL was designed to protect the freedoms of distributing and receiving copies of free software).

(401) See Micropolis GPL License Notice, MICROPOLIS (Feb. 4, 2010), archived at http://perma.cc/UX3N-7U78. (highlighting Micropolis's added express terms to the GPL to avoid any warranty liability under the license).

(402) Id.

(403) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (allowing users of the GPL to add terms to the GPL via separate text).

(404) See GNU General Public License, supra note 2 (listing disclaiming warranties that may be added to GPL text via separate text).

(405) See Vetter, supra note 13, at 138-139 (noting terms of GPL license enforceability may turn on whether there was explicit or implied assent).

(406) See Vetter, supra note 13, at 138-139 (examining uncertainty regarding enforceability of GPL license terms when there is express versus implied assent).

(407) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 148 (noting express consent to GPL would imply acknowledgment and acceptance of GPL terms).

(408) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 148 (discussing the difficulties of obtaining formal consent similar to that required in contract law in a free software setting).

(409) See Patterson, supra note 282, at 148 (noting the addition of express consent requirement wouldn't give consumers greater knowledge of risk because they will not likely read or understand the terms).

Stephen McJohn, Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School. The author thanks Ian McJohn for guidance on the GPL and software.
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Title Annotation:general public license; Continuation of IV. The GPL Exclusion of Warranties May Not Include Infringement Claims through VIII. Conclusion, with footnotes, p. 32-62
Author:McJohn, Stephen
Publication:The Journal of High Technology Law
Date:Jan 1, 2015
Words:19529
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