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

Martin Pool mbp at sourcefrog.net
Mon Aug 25 10:25:32 EST 2003

On 25 Aug 2003 10:06:56 +1000
Darren Freeman <daz111 at rsphysse.anu.edu.au> wrote:

> On Fri, 2003-08-22 at 12:33, Pearl Louis wrote:
> > The GPL is the contract between the copyright holders of Samba and
> > SCO.  What SCO is saying is that the contract they agreed to that
> > gave SCO permission to use the intellectual property of the Samba
> > people (under the conditions outlined by the contract ie. the GPL)
> > has no real legal status.   Let us

The GPL is (obviously) a licence, not a contract.  In law, as far as I
understand, licences are not a subclass of contracts.

> So what I'm wondering is this: how can SCO simultaneously accept this
> license to distribute SAMBA and also publicly claim it to be unlawful?

SCO are making all kinds of outlandish allegations in the press, most of
which they would not dare repeat in court.  As other people have pointed
out on the net, arguing that the US copyright act forbids the GPL would
fail a first-year law exam, and their lawyer is highly unlikely to make
that argument to a judge.

IBM in their earlier responses have quoted SCO's public statements.  I
wouldn't be surprised to see the judge reminded of these facts by IBM at
the appropriate time.

> Doesn't the mere act of publicly claiming the GPL to be unlawful make
> it unlawful (or impossible) to accept it? Surely you could argue that
> as SCO publicly states that it doesn't accept the GPL, it is violating
> copyright law at this very minute by distributing SAMBA (and I presume
> a few other things).
> So, do we got em? The FSF and SAMBA team should deliver SCO a
> cease-and-decist notice and see what happens. They won't be happy not
> being allowed to distribute SAMBA I suspect.

I'm not sure what on what grounds they could be told to desist.  The
GPL doesn't explicitly say that disliking the GPL is grounds for
termination.  But it might be interesting to seek confirmation in
writing from them that they have accepted the licence.


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