Here at LWN, we start each week in the hope that we'll be able to keep SCO
off the front page. Each week, the company finds some way to make that
impossible. This time around, there are two separate episodes which
require attention, and thus two articles to look at them.
First, we look at the interesting claim from SCO's lawyers that the GPL is
not enforceable, since it is preempted by federal copyright law. This
would appear to be a very difficult argument to back up, as has been
established by a number of people. But a sinister agenda may yet lurk
behind this goofy attack on the GPL; it bears watching.
Then, of course, there is our article on SCO's disastrous (for them)
demonstration of "stolen" code. This article is responsible for the
busiest day LWN's server has ever experienced. As this Weekly Edition goes
to "press," this situation is still developing. SCO has not, yet, managed
a response beyond the one they sent to us:
Attendees at SCO's annual conference, SCOForum, were shown samples
of Linux code that were illegally copied from SCO intellectual
property. Some Linux proponents are suggesting that SCO has no
claim to this code.
Chris Sontag, GM and SVP of SCOsource, said that not only are their
assertions incorrect, but the code is absolutely owned by SCO. In
fact SCO knows exactly which version of UNIX System V the code came
from and which licensee was responsible for illegally contributing
it to Linux.
Look for the inevitable "Chris and Darl" teleconference in the near future.
It is worth noting that the inclusion of BSD-licensed code into the Linux
kernel without the accompanying copyright notice is, indeed, a copyright
violation. It is something that absolutely should not be done; in cases
where it has happened, it needs to be fixed. We need to take greater care
with the licensing of code that we use.
But this has never been SCO's point. You don't hire brand-name lawyers
over a missing attribution; a simple "please restore my copyright" email
will do. A missing attribution does not justify billions of dollars in
damages, or even a $699 license fee. There may well have been a copyright
violation when BSD-licensed code was used without attribution. But SCO has
managed to undermine its own case anyway.
(For more information on SCO's Las Vegas slide show, see this article by Bruce
Perens, who gained access to the full set of slides presented there).
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