SCO-duggery (code comparison)

Luis Villa louie at
Fri Aug 22 14:12:15 PDT 2003

On Fri, 2003-08-22 at 12:07, bitbitch wrote:
> On Wed, 2003-08-20 at 18:43, Robert S. Thau wrote:
>  >> it's conceivable that someone may have
>  >> grounds to sue for negligence or fraud.
> And Luis Villia noted:
> If what we're seeing so far is correct, I'd hope it's more than
> lawsuits- the SEC apparently has the power to prosecute and jail
> executives responsible for these types of scams. Eben Moglen also
> suggests that the company lawyer who claimed that the GPL is
> unconstitutional is so wrong as to make his claim constitute
> professional misconduct. That's one I'd definitely love to see.
> [Some details on that here:
> ]
> -----------------
> I'd love to actually see Mr. Heise's full remarks. First off, I'm 
> sketchy about any lawyer-cum-FSF advocate making a sound and rational 
> decision :) (Kidding). 

Having met Eben, he's a very sharp, very realist guy, who must have at
least a modicum of respectability given that he's on the faculty at
Columbia. :) [That said, he also sang the Internationale at an IP
conference I was at, so...]

> Seriously though, its a little premature, 
> especially if Mr. Heise was trying to somehow rope this back to SCO's 
> position (re:  the code that they consider to own.)  Mr. Moglen is right 
> if Heise went overboard and claimed that truism for the lot of GPL.

It does appear (from other interviews) that Heise/SCO believe that the
entire GPL is invalid because of US (c) law. To wit, the second
paragraph of the first answer in this article:

> Here's the other bit that bothered me from the article:
> "You don't need permission to use copyrighted work - there is no 
> exclusive right to use, unlike in Patent law which involves the rights 
> to 'make, use or sell'," he says. SCO could argue that users themselves 
> are infringing (copying) but in the US the copies are exemptions from 
> the inclusive right. And furthermore, most don't even install the source 
> code. So no infringement there.
> -----
> Sure, there isn't an issue with use, but there are issues with 
> reproduction, derivation and distribution.  Isn't that part of the Linux 
> bit too?

I think the comment was made in the context of SCO demanding fees from
Linux end-users based on their use of the software, not based on their
reproduction, derivation, and distribution. I don't think that Eben or
anyone else would claim that this distinction protects RH or IBM, should
the code claims prove true.

> I like the evangelism.  Its good, but I've been scanning a few of the 
> boards as of late and have come across a lot of folks who seem to have 
> sacrificed logic for love.

Without a doubt. There is still a very real danger that IBM infringed in
some of this code. It's still unclear what the ramifications of that
are, though- it wouldn't surprise me to see a linux 2.4.scofree release
at some point, once disclosure of the code is made.


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