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

Matthew Hawkins matt at mh.dropbear.id.au
Thu Aug 21 18:12:26 EST 2003

Mark Harrison said:
> yeh, I guess. That was resting on my assumption that the samba license
> contains no terms. This is diffferent from there being no explicit
> license, in which case i would certainly agree with you. If the GPL is
> invalid, then samba is explicitly licensed under a license that
> contains no terms, which to my mind, says you can do anything.

Thankfully the law disagrees with you :)  Note, IANAL.  But I'm smart
enough to be, and my Grandma says I would have made a good one ;)
The trick is not to confuse Copyright and Licensing.  There is no law
regarding licensing (afaik).  There is, however, a Copyright Act (which is
a fun read).  The general idea of copyright is that the copyright holder
is granted exclusive access to the copyrighted material.  This permits
them a period of time in which they can try to scam as much money as
possible out of their new innovative idea before its pretty much public
knowledge and commercially unviable.  If people other than the copyright
holder wish to make use of this material, then they must obtain the
permission of the copyright holder.  The general way this is done is by
the granting of a license, by the copyright holder, to the user.  If the
copyright holder does not grant you a particular right in your license,
you do not have that right.
> Yes, copyright still applies, but I dont think your right to use the
> code goes away automatically. Your right will go away when the
> copyright owners explicitly take it away.

No, your right to use, in fact, even possess, copyrighted material ceases
the second your license is revoked.  The only act you can legally perform
(afaik) on a copyrighted work in your possession, when you hold no rights
from the copyright holder, is to remove it from your posession (destroy
it, send it back to the copyright holder).
And this latest debate regarding the GPL is hilarious, its been tried &
tested in courts around the world and held up. How much longer will
Microsoft and their sponsored buttmonkeys continue to kick this old dead
horse?  Ignoring the past legal history, I'm not even sure what the whole
concept of an "invalid" license is.  IIRC here in Australia all terms of a
license agreement between yourself and a copyright holder are a legally
binding contract unless the terms contradict Australian law.  For example,
we're allowed to make a duplicate of a copyrighted work for
backup/archival purposes, regardless of what the license you get says, as
the Copyright Act grants us this right, and that Act superceeds any
license terms & conditions.  Why?  Because a license is simply a granting
of rights for use of copyrighted material not already granted by the
Copyright Act.
If I go on any longer I'll probably continue to talk in circles, so bye!


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