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OT - Rant against case law

OT - Rant against case law

Posted Nov 18, 2009 4:53 UTC (Wed) by butlerm (guest, #13312)
In reply to: OT - Rant against case law by dwmw2
Parent article: SamyGO: replacing television firmware

I think the implication against joint (collective) distribution is entirely
reasonable. My problem is when people say something like "this filesystem
was first developed for Linux", therefore it (in any form) is a derived
work of the Linux kernel, and that derivative status infects it to the
degree that it remains a derivative work even when all the Linux related
code is stripped out.

That was SCO's theory regarding JFS. It was first developed for a
proprietary Unix licensed from source code SCO claimed it had the copyright
to, therefore (so they claimed) any version for any other operating system
was also a derivative work of Unix System V (and they were owed billions in

I call that the "derivative work by contagion" theory, and it is one of the
reasons why people shouldn't blindly go around claiming things are
derivative works when there is no rational theory for why that should be
the case. Combination may produce a copyright protected collective work,
but the mere fact of combination certainly does not necessarily infect each
of the original components with derivative status when considered
separately, and more especially when the kernel specific binding code is
removed. That would be like saying if a photo is printed in a magazine,
not only is the photo a derivative work of the magazine, the magazine is a
derivative work of the photo.

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OT - Rant against case law

Posted Nov 18, 2009 10:27 UTC (Wed) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

The fun thing about IBM's JFS as available in the Linux kernel was that the JFS code IBM contributed to Linux didn't in fact have anything to do with the JFS code in AIX (which SCO claimed was a derived work of Unix).

The Linux JFS code is a port of the reimplementation from scratch of JFS that IBM did for OS/2, so it couldn't have been »infected« with SCO-owned code because it never actually came in contact with any.

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