[linux-elitists] The SCO teleconference

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Thu Aug 14 15:37:36 PDT 2003

Quoting Jonathan Corbet (corbet-elite@lwn.net):

> I have *got* to lay off those SCO conference calls, they are not good for
> my stomach.  We got to hear all about how SCO is "in the big leagues now,"
> how the "silent majority" is behind them....

Coming hard on the heels of the Watergate 30-year anniversary, this
phrase has an appealing aura of nostalgia.

> From this morning's news and the call itself, I'm now convinced that SCO
> intends to put an end to the GPL.  They didn't say so flat out (i.e. I
> didn't get to ask a question, as usual), but there was enough raving about
> the evils of the GPL (Darl sounds like a Microsoft VP from a few years ago)
> and how the company isn't worried about IBM's charges of GPL violation to
> make it pretty clear.

1.  GPL is a grant of additional conditional rights under copyright law.
2   It's difficult to imagine a judge declaring it void without declaring
    the entire basis of copyright void, however:
3.  If a judge does so, and is confirmed on appeal, then all covered
    property reverts to a default Copyright Act grant, i.e., without
    right to create derivative works or redistribute.  Thereupon:
4.  Copyright holders would then issue a new instance under some
    different licence not having whatever defect the judge found GPLv2
    to have.

The point is that GPLv2 is not essential to Linux or anything else, and
that copyright law failsafes in the event of a particular open source
licence being invalidated in court.

You will not tend to see the above analysis in the IT press because (1)
most[1] IT reporters don't know jack about copyright law, and (2) A
story saying "SCO Group's blowing meaningless smoke yet again" doesn't
sell papers.

[1] Not you, Jon!

Cheers,             "I used to be on the border of insanity.  However, due 
Rick Moen           to pressing political concerns, I recently had to invade."
rick@linuxmafia.com                        -- Kurt Montandon, in r.a.sf.w.r-j

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