5

In the GPL, why do they put quotes around the phrase here:

EXCEPT WHEN OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND/OR OTHER PARTIES PROVIDE THE PROGRAM “AS IS” 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.

It doesn't seem to require them, but this is a legal document that's gone through multiple drafts and been approved by committee each time, so I'd assume some thought went into it. Unless they just happened to find an "entire group of people" all of whom have an abiding and perverse love of "extraneous punctuation".

  • Little-known fact: GPL stands for the Greengrocers "Public" Licen'se. – cpast Jul 8 '15 at 22:23
  • @cpast Hogwash! It is, as any schoolchild knows, the General's Pubic License. – Parthian Shot Jul 8 '15 at 23:01
7

"as is" is likely in quotation marks because it reflects its usage in the Uniform Commercial Code.

Although in the UCC it is reasonably clear that the quotation marks serve to delineate the example from the text, legal drafting is generally precise and by using the same form it unambiguously refers to its usage therein.

Another reason is that in this circumstance, it doesn't necessarily take on its ordinary meaning, but rather the meaning stipulated, and with the effect stipulated, in the UCC.

Finally, the UCC stipulates that the exclusion of warranty must be conspicuous. Adding quotation marks may help to show that it was set apart from the rest of the text.

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