Friday, 5 December 2003

SCO's open letter on copyrights

Yesterday, SCO President & CEO Darl McBride released an Open Letter on Copyrights to defend his company's position in ongoing litigation to the public. Pamela Jones over at GrokLaw called it "Darl McBride's 'Greed is Good' and it's constitutional too manifesto."

He goes to great lengths to portray the Free Software Foundation and others as cranks:

[T]here is a group of software developers in the United States, and other parts of the world, that do not believe in the approach to copyright protection mandated by Congress. In the past 20 years, the Free Software Foundation and others in the Open Source software movement have set out to actively and intentionally undermine the U.S. and European systems of copyrights and patents. Leaders of the FSF have spent great efforts, written numerous articles and sometimes enforced the provisions of the GPL as part of a deeply held belief in the need to undermine or eliminate software patent and copyright laws.
Then he introduces SCO's view:
At SCO we take the opposite position. SCO believes that copyright and patent laws adopted by the United States Congress and the European Union are critical to the further growth and development of the $186 billion global software industry, and to the technology business in general.
McBride fails to realize that the GNU Public License depends on copyright law for its very existence. Lawrence Lessig had perhaps the most concise response to this point (and the rest of his response is worth reading, too):
Despite RMS's aversion to the term, the GPL trades on a property right that the laws of the US and EU grant "authors" for their creative work. A property right means that the owner of the right has the right to do with his property whatever he wishes, consistent with the laws of the land. If he chooses to give his property away, that does not make it any less a property right. If he chooses to sell it for $1,000,000, that doesn't make it any less a property right. And if he chooses to license it on the condition that source code be made free, that doesn't make it any less a property right.

Posted at 6:15:16 PM | Permalink

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