22 September 2005

Computer Contracts Update

I have just uploaded a "Computer Contracts" and a "Computer Systems" page on the IP/it-Update website. It is basically an introduction to the subject.

More will follow but in the meantime I recommend:

  • Tod Lewis Mayover's IP Counsel Blog which has some really good articles on contract drafting
  • Contracts Prof Blog by some US academics, and
  • Onecle which has masses and masses of precedents that have actually been used including many for the computer industry.

Anyone who needs an on-line version of the Sale of Goods Act 1979, Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 should check out Western Circuiteer John Antell's site.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You listed 'software licences' on your contracts site, but some licences - like the GNU GPL claim not to be contracts.

The argument runs along the lines that without any kind of permission, copyright prevents you from using software. Now, if the software is covered by the GNU GPL, the author is making it available with a set of ready permissions. Although the author is not asking you to enter into a contract, or agree to the GPL, if you don't follow the terms of the GPL you have no other permission to use the software.

Do you think there is still a contractual element to it?

John Lambert said...

Thanks for your contribution and my apologies for not responding sooner.

Yes, it is certainly possible to have gratuitous licences. They are granted all the time. My allowing the postman access to my neighbour's house by a short cut or a parent allowing his or her teenage son or daughter to drive the family car are two everyday examples. There can be gratuitous copyright licences too though I think that it is usually possible to discern consideration, consensus and terms in most of them.

But I think most would agree that the terms upon which we are allowed to load and run the operating systems like Windows and most applications such as Office are, in fact, contractual.

By the way, thank you also for bringing the GPL site to our notice. I have already had a brief look at it and will explore it later.