Friday, August 15, 2003

SCO: Mentally unstable? (updated 8/19)

Anyone who thought SCO might have a grain of sense had that thought demolished yesterday when the increasingly strident Utah company's lawyers announced that SCO would attack the validity of the Gnu Public license (GPL) under which Linux is licensed.

According to the report, SCO will argue that the GPL's provisions allowing unlimited copying and modification are not compatible with US copyright law, which allows software buyers to make only a single copy, says the Journal. Heise said the GPL "is pre-empted by copyright law", according to the report. Copyright law, of course, says no such thing. Copyright is actually a full, rich panoply of rights which the holder may reserve, or not, as they see fit.

SCO's lawyers should be brought up before the bar on charges of "ignorance of the law", while the company's stockholders should revolt and send the current management team riding out of town on a rail, with a stop (should the stockholders feel compassionate) at the closest looney bin.
[update] Eben Moglen, a professor at Columbia Law School, has written a much better critique of the SCO action than I ever could. His conclusion? "This argument is frivolous, by which I mean that it would be a violation of professional obligation for Heise or any other lawyer to submit it to a court."

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