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

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Wed Oct 29 04:59:48 PST 2003

on Tue, Oct 28, 2003 at 01:28:31PM -0700, Jonathan Corbet (corbet-elite@lwn.net) wrote:
> 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 counter this with a lawsuit (or suits) in, say, China, Taiwan,
India, or eastern Europe, where backchannel distribution of certain
major desktop operating systems has hovered at or above 90% for a good
decade.  Clearly this has to be implicitly authorized.  And as a result,
the companies whose works are represented in this activity have tacitly
approved this contribution of their works to the public domain.

Good for the goose....

There's a reason it's called the judo license (referring to the GPL).


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    Reject EU Software Patents!                         http://swpat.ffii.org/
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