[opensource-dev] Case closed. Was: Re: Can you legally agree to incomprehensible conditions

Boy Lane boy.lane at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 2 08:21:31 PDT 2010

Case closed.



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Boy Lane" <boy.lane at yahoo.com>
To: "Morgaine" <morgaine.dinova at googlemail.com>
Cc: <opensource-dev at lists.secondlife.com>
Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 11:06 PM
Subject: Re: [opensource-dev] Can you legally agree to incomprehensible 

> Clearly NO.
> Honestly, I don't know why this matters anymore. Everything was said. 
> Linden made it clear they'll stick to their
> TPV "guns".
> Four viewer projects announced they discontinue support for SL, that is 
> Imprudence, RealXtend, Luna and Rainbow.
> Some other people still hang on but probably not for long. That's leaving 
> only two graphical 3rd party viewer
> projects around, both with a shady gray past in terms of intentional 
> producing malicious clients or violating
> software licenses. I see a great future ahead...
> And now Viewer 2.0 is the new holy grail. I really thought the 1.23 
> release was bad. But now 2.0 even goes
> against a major part of the resident population, handicapped people; 
> particular people with epilepsy/seizure disorders
> (VWR-17249 - Viewer 2.0 is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities 
> Act).
> http://jira.secondlife.com/browse/VWR-17249
> What are you still doing here?
> Boy
>> Date: Thu, 1 Apr 2010 09:42:24 +0100
>> From: Morgaine <morgaine.dinova at googlemail.com>
>> Subject: [opensource-dev] Can you legally agree to incomprehensible
>> conditions?
>> To: opensource-dev at lists.secondlife.com
>> Message-ID:
>> <w2ye0b04bba1004010142qbb5817e4q9f4f2b1cea6c29d3 at mail.gmail.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>> On 21st March, Q Linden explained to
>> us<https://lists.secondlife.com/pipermail/opensource-dev/2010-March/001195.html>that
>> legalese is not a language amenable to "common sense" interpretation,
>> and more specifically, that programmers like ourselves should not expect 
>> to
>> understand this Linden TPV policy document using our normal logic and our
>> normal dictionary.  I'll repeat his words here for clarity:
>> *    Kent Quirk (Q Linden)* q at lindenlab.com
>> <opensource-dev%40lists.secondlife.com?Subject=%5Bopensource-dev%5D%20Third%20party%20viewer%20policy%3A%20commencement%20date&In-Reply-To=20100321165503.GD4386%40alinoe.com>
>>    *Sun Mar 21 10:24:13 PDT 2010*
>>   - I'm emphatically not a lawyer and I don't speak for our legal team.
>>   But:
>>   - Legalese is a specialized language. It's not strictly English, and 
>> it's
>>   not always amenable to "common sense" interpretation. Think of lawyers 
>> as
>>   people who write code in an underspecified language for a buggy 
>> compiler,
>>   and you begin to understand why legalese is the way it is. There's a 
>> lot of
>>   law that isn't stated, but is actually implied by the context of the
>>   existing settled law. What that means is that if you're not a lawyer, 
>> you
>>   probably shouldn't be attempting to interpret legal documents --  
>> especially
>>   not for other people. Similarly, if you're not a programmer, attempting 
>> to
>>   interpret program source code is a risky business. Programmers are
>>   especially susceptible to trying to interpret legal documents using a 
>> normal
>>   dictionary because they're logical thinkers. That doesn't always work. 
>> If
>>   you have legal questions about the implication of documents, you should 
>> ask
>>   a lawyer, not a mailing list.
>>   - Similarly, any comment by one of Linden's lawyers in this forum or 
>> any
>>   other could possibly be treated as legally binding. That also goes for
>>   Linden employees, especially those with any seniority. So you're 
>> unlikely to
>>   get further remarks or "clarifications", except general statements that
>>   don't address specific questions. The policy was revised based on 
>> comments
>>   on this list and elsewhere. That's probably a pretty good indication 
>> that
>>   Linden Lab's lawyers now think it's clear enough to state its intent 
>> and to
>>   stand up in court if they need it to.
>>   - Q
>> I've been thinking about this extraordinary post and its relationship to 
>> our
>> ongoing saga about the TPV, and I fail to see how any rational person 
>> could
>> agree to something unknown, except under duress.  Is it even legal to be
>> required to agree to the incomprehensible?  Does anyone know how the law
>> works in this area?
>> The GPL license was written by FSF lawyers specifically to be understood 
>> by
>> programmers, so it's no surprise that the large majority of people here
>> understand it. Given that Lindens claim that they are issuing a valid GPL
>> license, perhaps one might accept that at face value, and assume that 
>> GPLv2
>> clauses 6, 7, 11 and 12 remain intact and valid.  Therefore there are no
>> "further restrictions" imposed on SL TPV developers (clause 6), and the 
>> "NO
>> WARRANTY" clause (11-12) continues to protect developers from downstream
>> liability, and no "conditions are imposed on you that contradict the
>> conditions of this License" thus making the license valid (clause 7).
>> Given the forgoing, the officially incomprehensible TPV document then no
>> longer matters to SL TPV developers, because their rights and freedoms 
>> and
>> lack of liability are determined entirely by the GPL.  (It could be no 
>> other
>> way anyway, since we are told that we cannot understand the TPV.)
>> That leaves only the matter of *users* of TPVs behaving responsibly when
>> they use TPV clients in SL, with which I'm sure every person on this list 
>> is
>> happy to agree.  (Note that developers become *users* when they connect 
>> to
>> SL, and are bound by the same requirements as users.)  When users do
>> something bad with a TPV client, or indeed with a Linden client, then
>> naturally they are personally responsible for their actions.
>> In the absence of a TPV document that we can comprehend, perhaps this is 
>> the
>> best that TPV developers can do, since agreeing to incomprehensible
>> conditions is not something that any sensible person should consider.
>> Morgaine.
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