IBM/SCO/GPL (Was: Re: (L)GPL remarks and FreeGIS licensing)
eda-qa at disemia.com
Tue Aug 26 17:02:49 UTC 2003
Alex Hudson wrote:
> Not really. Ignorance of the law is indefensable; ignorance in general
> is. We're talking about the difference between knowing whether or not an
Agreed, I meant ignorance of the law, not ignorance in general.
> I really don't see what this example has to do with anything. I presume
> Party B are SCO, I'm not sure who Party A are supposed to be (Linux
> developers?). The example fails mainly because we're not talking about
> contract law (the GPL is not a contract). But it's also not an accurate
> description of what's happening at the moment.
The GPL is a contract. Copyright law prohibits individuals from making
copies, the GPL effectively offers the right to make copies and more as
a benefit of the contract. If the GPL is not a contract, then it is
nothing, and you really can't do anything with GPL'd code.
A contract is roughly defined as an agreement made between two or more
parties involving the exchange of value/benefits. (This last bit is
important in the discussion of whyt EULA's may not be valid contracts,
and therefore are nothing.)
> SCO aren't distributing code derived from GPL code (at least, not that
> we know ;), they are claiming that GPL code being distributed derives
SCO did distribute GPL code, as part of their Linux system offerings.
It is to be seen if *their* code was part of this offering at the time
they offered it (which was still quite recently).
What I am saying is that they wish to back out of the agreement they
made under the GPL, stating that others may further modify and/or
distribute their code (whether they put their own code in their
intentionally or not is irrelevant).
The point I made about damages is that they wish to break the contract
they made with the GPL, and the GPL doesn't have such a clause stating
what happens, so a judge/arbitrator would have to assess SCO's
liabilities for damages under the contract.
If SCO's ideas/patents were not present in any Linux which they were
distributing, at any point while they were distributing it, then their
code based on these ideas never were released under the GPL and my
explanation is irrelevant.
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