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PR: OSDL Releases Position Paper on SCO Lawsuit with Novell

Feb 10, 2004, 16:00 (4 Talkback[s])

"The Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), a global consortium dedicated to accelerating the adoption of Linux, today published a position paper that indicates Linux customers will likely ignore SCO Group's legal threats until a court decision is rendered in the litigation brought by SCO Group against Novell on copyright ownership.

"The paper's author, Professor Eben Moglen of Columbia University, is regarded as one of the world's leading experts on copyright law as applied to software. OSDL is disseminating the position paper to address issues of concern to its members and Linux industry customers as a result of SCO Group's ongoing litigation threat to sue end-users.

"OSDL believes Professor Moglen's paper will help its members, the Linux development community and Linux end-users better understand legal issues and business risks associated with using Linux.

"In his paper, available on the OSDL Web site, Professor Moglen makes two main points:

  1. "SCO Group admits, by suing Novell, that its claim to exclusive ownership of the Unix copyright is in doubt. Moglen argues that no judge would hold an end-user liable for intentionally infringing SCO Group's rights when SCO Group itself has cast doubt on what it owns. As a result, Linux customers have little incentive to purchase a license from SCO Group and instead will wait for a final decision on who owns the copyrights as between SCO Group and Novell.
  2. "Even once the litigation is resolved, and regardless of who prevails, customers will still have the right to use the Linux code in question without purchasing a license from either SCO Group or Novell. Moglen points out that both SCO Group and Novell (who recently purchased SuSE Linux, a distributor of Linux) have distributed the Linux code under the GPL. Since the GPL allows licensees to use, modify, copy and distribute the Linux code freely, the results of the litigation will have no affect on those rights, and customers will have no obligation to purchase another license from either SCO Group or Novell to ensure those rights..."

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"Now They Own It, Now They Don't: SCO Sues Novell to Stay Afloat" (PDF document)

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