The interplay between copyright law and contract law is a complex one. Copyright law establishes the exclusive rights and obligations of creators in their works; some of these can be altered by a contract or license and others cannot. The question of how far a contract can go in modifying the copyright bargain is central to a debate currently underway in the open source (or “free”) software world.

A recent decision of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York addresses those issues and may have repercussions for the open source debate.

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