[clug] sec: unclassified - Samba Team, on SCO and sweet irony

Michael Still mikal at stillhq.com
Thu Aug 21 15:07:18 EST 2003

> If the GPL is invalid, then there is effectively no license attached to
> Samba, so SCO could do what they like with it.

No, try again. If the license is invalid on Samba (which it almost
certainly is not), then copyright law still applies. Samba's copyright is
registered in the US, and the Samba team will still own it. They'll just
have to find a new license.
> If you violate someone
> elses copyright, then that is kinda illegal. But if you just fail to
> apply copyright properly to your own property, then you are just
> foolish.

Which the Samba team has not donw.

> When SCO downloaded Samba, that copy became their property and SCO
> would like us to think that there are no restrictions at all on their
> use of that property.

No, they are required to follow the terms of the license, in return for
the use of the copyright material. If the license is invalid, then they
need to renegotiate with the Samba team.
> Becuase SCO _choose_ to relicense Samba under the
> GPL (they dont have to becuase there are no restrictions on what they
> can do), they are simply making the same totally legal mistake that the
> Samba team made. (assuming that SCO are right).

They're not relicensing it. They don't own Samba, and cannot apply their
own license to it.
> SCO seem to be making two points.
> 1) Anyone who writes software and releases it under the GPL is really
> releasing it with no copyright protections at all. There is nothing
> 'illegal' about this - it just gives SCO the right to do whatever they
> want with GPLed code.

Wrong! Look at any source file in most GPL'ed packages. They almost always
still have copyright statements. Here's a random file's first few lines
(samba/source/tdb/tdb.c in this case):
   Unix SMB/CIFS implementation.
   Samba database functions
   Copyright (C) Andrew Tridgell              1999-2000
   Copyright (C) Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton      2000
   Copyright (C) Paul `Rusty' Russell              2000
   Copyright (C) Jeremy Allison                    2000-2003

   This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
   it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
   the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
   (at your option) any later version.

   This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
   but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
   GNU General Public License for more details.

   You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
   along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software
   Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Note that copyright still applies. Once again, if you're relying on the
GPL as your right to use this code, and the GPL is invalid, then you're
right to use the code goes away until a new license is applied. The code
is still copyright the relevant Samba team members.
> 2) In addition, they are sayng that their code was stolen and that is
> where where the illegality comes in. If you use Linux post 2.2, then
> SCO claim you are using stolen code. And that is illegal.

Perhaps. But I didn't do the stealing, how can I be held responsible. They
should sue the thieves if anything.

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