[linux-elitists] Pushing GPL code into the public domain

Jonathan Corbet corbet-elite@lwn.net
Tue Oct 28 12:28:31 PST 2003


Something that might be of interest: 

	http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20031028130705694

It's a writeup by an IP attorney on SCO's attacks on the GPL.

	SCO has an implicit claim along with their explicit attack on the
	GPL. The implicit claim is that the GPL is not simply void but also
	that the act of releasing software under the General Public License
	is tantamount to having donated it to the public domain. They are
	asking the court to apply a common-law doctrine from the law of
	wills and estates to the law of copyright and software licensing.

I took some grief here a few months ago for suggesting that SCO was trying
to do something along these lines.  Maybe this lawyer is just as confused
as I am (a tall order, I know), but this still strikes me as a real
possibility.  I think they will fail, but this sort of attack on the GPL
concerns me anyway.

[One might want to moderate one's view of this lawyer's opinions by
considering that he apparently believes Lawrence Lessig would welcome a
ruling that would equate the GPL and the public domain.  That doesn't quite
ring true to me...]

jon



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