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SCO's IP Rights After Distributing UnitedLinux Under the GPL

Jan 04, 2010, 17:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Pamela Jones)

"Since Chapter 11 Trustee Edward Cahn's lawyer, Bonnie Fatell, reportedly opined at the most recent bankruptcy hearing that SCO would never have given away its Unix intellectual property rights to UnitedLinux, I thought I would show you exactly what was in UnitedLinux -- some, if not all, of the very code they now claim IBM had no right to put into Linux and others can't use without infringing SCO's rights. But they put it in their very own SCO Linux Powered by UnitedLinux distribution themselves, and under the GPL.

"There may be all kinds of arguments to be made about exceptions and hold backs in the UnitedLinux contracts as to ownership. But the knowing distribution under the GPL does affect SCO's rights, and it's not in dispute that they did it. If Ms. Fatell had an IP expert knowledgeable about the GPL to ask, here's what I believe he or she would tell her: that it doesn't matter about ownership. In fact, it's worse for SCO if it *does* prove someday that it owns every bit it contributed to UnitedLinux, because then it would mean that it knowingly and voluntarily donated it all under the GPL.

"And you know what that means? I believe it means that SCO can't sue anybody for anything that is in SCO's very own UnitedLinux distribution. Here's why: You can't distribute your code under a license that allows recipients to copy, modify, and distribute and then sue them for doing those things."

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