[linux-elitists] SCO claims the GPL is invalid...?

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Fri Aug 15 14:31:16 PDT 2003


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

> I had anticipated an attack on the sections 6 and 7 of the GPL, so that
> *they* (or people who paid them off) would be able to distribute Linux code
> under something other than the GPL.  Of course [checking...] the GPL has no
> severability clause (other than a specific one for section 7), so, if I
> understand correctly, you can't get a court to just invalidate parts of
> it. 

It's difficult to imagine a judge ordering such permission for
redistribution under different terms without the assent of _other_
copyright owners affected:  Even if you grant the (a-priori doubtful)
assumption of SCO Group successfully asserting some copyright interest
in the Linux kernel -- which, remember, the current case does _not_
request from the court -- then it would be joint ownership with the
various other copyright holders.

It's also difficult to imagine a judge not forcing SCO Group, in such an
event, to identify (and prove title to) whatever code it asserts
interest in.  At which point, of course, the community files that
(hypothetical) code in the bit-bucket, rewrites, and reissues under
GPLv2 (or whatever seems most useful in light of court findings if any).

> But, then, I still feel like I'm missing something important here.

Could be.  

One of the reasons I really like the nature of Red Hat, Inc's recent
filing in Delaware court is that it seeks to hold Caldera/SCO legally
accountable for some of the wacko things that latter have been saying
_outside_ the courtroom.  This is significant because, in my view,
Caldera/SCO have pulled a massive shell game on almost everyone:  People
believe themselves to be nervous about the lawsuit, but upon examination
turn out to be reacting 99+% to Caldera/SCO's ongoing extra-legal PR
circus, which is a vastly different thing and barely connected to the
lawsuit claims at all.

If you ignore the non-courthouse bleatings for a moment, the actual
allegations under litigation are:

o  very limited in scope, and
o  thus far unsubstantiated (being in early stages of litigation).

I'm sure you are quite clear on that, Jon.  But practically everyone
else in the IT press has been acting otherwise.




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