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University of Brasilia: The SCO x IBM + Linux Case, Under Historical View

Jul 04, 2003, 05:30 (16 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Pedro A. D. Rezende)

"To understand what lurks behind the legal case SCO brought against IBM, and its implications for the future of our societies, we have to know two things: a little of Unix history and what has been construed as intellectual property in software.

"Starting with the latter, one begins by distinguishing copyrights from patents. Copyrights are commercial rights for the protection of intellectual work against unauthorized use. In this case, a programmer's source code. And patents are legal rights for the protection of inventions, granting the inventor exclusivity rights to explore his or her invention.

"The key point here is that the spirit of these laws have become irrelevant. The fact that granted rights are limited in time or scope for the purpose of striking some social balance, has been obfuscated by sophistry in repeated extensions gained through appropriate lobbies. (i.e. Diamond vs. Deihr, the test case for Sonny Bonno law, etc.)

"SCO's CEO was quoted in news services on may 29 as having said: 'we have the contractual right to block improper use of code, methods and concepts from Unix into Linux.' To make sense of what he says, one has to know what are the things he claims and names 'methods and concepts' from Unix, and put them in the proper context..."

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