[linux-elitists] AT&T/IBM licences

Ben Woodard woodard@redhat.com
Tue Jun 17 11:31:38 PDT 2003

On Mon, 2003-06-16 at 22:22, Martin Pool wrote:
> SCO have posted something purporting to be the original licences.  I'm
> not sure when they went up but I haven't seen them discussed yet.  
> There are some elements that seem to bode well for SCO but on the
> whole it's not good.
>   http://www.sco.com/ibmlawsuit/
>   http://www.sco.com/scosource/ExhibitA.qxd.pdf
>   http://www.sco.com/scosource/ExhibitB.qxd.pdf
> SCO have recently claimed amongst other things to have rights over
> anything descended from Unix, as well as the SysV code itself.  
> The licence partially backs that up, by saying "derivative works" from
> AT&T SysV are covered by the original licence, and must be held in
> confidence.  So I can see how this applies to AIX, assuming it had (or
> once had) SysV code in it.

One weird thing is that the example they gave RCU came from dynix which
was very BSD derived. Sequent had a really hard time making dynix SysV
like enough to appeal to the corp types.

> It is less clear whether "derivative works" includes other software
> that happens to be built on Unix but that it not derived from it.
> (Maybe somebody familiar in detail with US copyright law would know
> the definition?)
> However, the letter in exhibit C clarifies this with:
>   2... [W]e agree that modifications and derivative works prepared by
>   or for you [IBM] are owned by you [IBM].  However, ownership of any
>   portion or portions of SOFTWARE PRODUCTS included in any such
>   modification or derivative work remains with us.
> RCU (for example) was invented by Sequent, later owned by IBM.  It
> seems to me that it was not a derivative work, although AIX+RCU
> possibly was.
> IBM's position as I understand it has always been that they could not
> release all of AIX, because some of it was licenced from other
> companies.  However, everything they exclusively owned would be
> considered for release -- presumably their legal teams considered RCU,
> JFS, etc to be IBM property.
> In SCO's favour, the documents shown apparently do give the licensor
> the right to terminate the agreement.  However, IBM might well have
> signed a later contract making their rights irrevocable and perpetual
> and indeed they should have if at all possible.  In any case SCO first
> have to show that IBM is in breach.

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