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Caldera GNU is Not Unix Government The Courts Your Rights Online News

SCO Calls GPL Unenforceable, Void 1186

Posted by timothy
from the more-and-more-surreal dept.
wes33 writes "Groklaw has a link to SCO's replies to IBM's amended complaints. Some choice bits: '6th Affirmative Defense - The GPL is unenforceable, void and/or voidable, and IBM's claims based thereon, or related thereto, are barred. ... 7th Affirmative Defense - The GPL is selectively enforced by the Free Software Foundation such that enforcement of the GPL by IBM or others is waived, estopped or otherwise barred as a matter of equity. ... 8th Affirmative Defense - The GPL violates the U.S. Constitution, together with copyright, antitrust and export control laws, and IBM's claims based theron, or related thereto, are barred.' Comments are pouring in ... not all of them complimentary to SCO or its legal strategy." Considering that the GPL and the GNU project rely on and affirm the protections of copyright, this seems like a strange argument to pursue.
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SCO Calls GPL Unenforceable, Void

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  • by pstreck (558593) on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:49PM (#7324585)
    Denies the allegations of paragraph 16 and alleges that Linux is, in actuality, an unauthorized version of UNIX that is structured, assembled and designed to be technologically indistinguishable from UNIX, and practically is distinguishable only in that Linux is a 'free' version of UNIX designed to destroy proprietary operating system software.
    How can Linux, which is merely a kernel, be called a version of UNIX? In theory it is possible to build a completely non-unix like operating system that runs on the linux kernel. Shouldn't they claim that GNU is the unauthorized UNIX derivitive?
  • unenforcable = void? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eagl (86459) on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:51PM (#7324598) Journal
    You mean I can break any license I want if it's unenforcable? I can just say "they can't catch me" and that's a valid legal reason to declare a license void?

    Schweet! I have an unlimited number of win9x copies now, because all those licences are VOID BABY! Music copyright? Unenforcable, therefore VOID BABY!

    SCO allegations unenforcable? I have an unspecified copies of unspecified versions of unspecified distributions of Linux... SCO can't enforce anything on me, so their claims are VOID BABY, YEA!

    "Your Honor, I'd like to cite precident, SCO vs. everyone, in which it was ruled that any unenforcable license is void. Since I'm only being tried for stealing a tenth of the stuff I stole, but you can't prove I stole the other stuff, the licenses covering all of it is void. I move for dismissal of all charges plus I claim ownership of every physical object my stolen stuff touched, because their ownership rights is unenforcable and therefore void."
  • by SupeRobot Ninja (719240) on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:51PM (#7324600)
    What on earth? IANAL, but isn't the whole basis of copyright law that the copyright holder can do whatever the hell he wants to with his material? It may be the case that the GPL is selectively enforced--possible if highly doubtful--but to call it unconstitutional is like saying that laws protecting churches from arson (like all buildings are protected from arson) are unconstitutional because they represent an establishment of religion.
  • What? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot@uberm00. n e t> on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:52PM (#7324609) Homepage Journal
    IANAL.

    This is how I understand it:

    Copyright law says that I, as creator of my work, can control how it is used and by whom.

    Licences give me the power to selectively allow freedoms to be given out.

    The Microsoft EULA is an example of such a licence, in which paying the licence fee for a Microsoft product allows limited usage of the product as per the terms of the licence. That's what one pays for when they get the product, the right to use it under the terms of the accompanying licence.

    The General Public Licence allows one as a Copyright owner to selectively give rights to users to use the product as long as they accept the licence. Said licence tells them that any derivative works must also be licenced under the GPL.

    So what am I missing here? Is SCO saying that licences shouldn't exist? Are they saying that Copyright law is wrong? Have they just simply gone out of their minds? Because the licensing business model has existed in the software industry for ages.

    The idea behind the GPL is nothing new, it's just intended to guarantee freedom rather than restrict it. It's another type of licence, and it's certainly as valid as something any other software vendor would choose to put on their products.

  • by Brandybuck (704397) on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:53PM (#7324620) Homepage Journal
    I'm not the world's biggest GPL fan. But reading it rightside up, upside down, and backwards held to a mirror, it's seems to me to be a valid license in every way. There may be some very minor issues regarding definitions, but there's nothing there that SCO can use to wiggle out of their current predicament.

    The US courts have upheld the much more lenient BSD license, and many much more restrictive EULAs, so the GPL seems quite court-safe where it is in the middle.
  • by taustin (171655) on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:53PM (#7324629) Homepage Journal
    7th Affirmative Defense - The GPL is selectively enforced by the Free Software Foundation such that enforcement of the GPL by IBM or others is waived, estopped or otherwise barred as a matter of equity

    I guess they don't know the difference between copyright and trademark. Selective enforcement has zero effect on enforcebility of copyright. Black letter law.

    8th Affirmative Defense - The GPL violates the U.S. Constitution, together with copyright, antitrust and export control laws, and IBM's claims based theron, or related thereto, are barred.'

    Export control laws? I see, now. Their defense is "We're to fucking retarded that we need a keeper. Please give us money."
  • If anyone cares... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oGMo (379) on Monday October 27, 2003 @09:54PM (#7324644)

    I dunno if anyone saw this or cares, but I used my (lack of) GIMP skills to make some borg/SCO icons at the request of KilobyteKnight [slashdot.org]... it just got posted late so I don't know if anyone saw it.

    As I said previously, these just differ by filter; I couldn't decide which I liked. Feel free to use them however.

  • by joto (134244) on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:03PM (#7324717)
    In theory it is possible to build a completely non-unix like operating system that runs on the linux kernel.

    In practice too [pliant.cx]

  • by dnoyeb (547705) on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:06PM (#7324748) Homepage Journal
    No. SCO has no choice. They have accepted the investment money, and MS investments as well. Their corse is laid. They can not waver.
  • by yerricde (125198) on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:08PM (#7324763) Homepage Journal

    If the GPL is invalid, then while SCO was redistributing Linux (and still continued to do so after bringing suit [duke.edu]), the company was infringing copyright, because nothing other than the GPL gives SCO the privilege to do that. If SCO gets the GPL on Linux declared illegal, watch kernel contributors with deep pockets sue SCO for copyright infringement.

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EvanED (569694) <evaned@nOspAm.gmail.com> on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:17PM (#7324820)
    "I would imagine that SCO's claim as to the unconstitutionality of the GPL is that it doesn't have anyone holding the reins, while the Constitution's language implies some kind of actual, physical copyright holder."

    Um, there *is* a copyright holder of GPLed software. If there wasn't, the GPL would be unenforcable as it would be public domain.
  • Except ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jahf (21968) on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:17PM (#7324824) Journal
    Considering that the GPL and the GNU project rely on and affirm the protections of copyright, this seems like a strange argument to pursue.


    Except today's political environment has seen fit to twist copyright arguments into whatever the most powerful PAC is looking for that day.

    This is just going to get uglier once it gets to court unless we get lucky enough to have a very tech-savvy AND copyright-savvy court hearing it.

  • by 1010011010 (53039) on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:19PM (#7324831) Homepage
    Hey, look [sco.com], they're hiring an "Executive Assistant/Investor Relations."

    Looks like an all-purpose employee.

    Job Responsibilities:
    • Administrative needs of CFO and other executives
    • Quarterly budget reports
    • Travel Arrangements
    • Organizing meetings and phone conferences
    • Supply inventory
    • General office responsibilities
    • Records minutes of various meetings
    • Partner Program database coordination
    • Answer investor questions regarding Stock performance
    • Packaging of financial corporate communications with the investment community
    • Helps prepare written investor communications and plan investor/analyst small-group private and large-group meetings
    • Handles telephone inquiries from analysts and investors
    • Oversees scheduling and coverage of front desk
    The Caldera International, Inc. ("Caldera", d/b/a "The SCO Group") Web site contains materials ("Materials") used only for informational purposes.

    The SCO Group
    355 South 520 West, Suite 100
    Lindon, Utah 84042
    USA.
    801.765.4999 phone
    801.765.1313 fax
  • Yeah well.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by peterdaly (123554) <petedaly@ix.ne3.14tcom.com minus pi> on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:30PM (#7324910)
    I say SCO is a big pile of poo!

    Does that make it so? No, even though it may be true.

    Funny how a company trying to revoke a "irrevokable" contract is calling a similar contract Unenforceable.

    -Pete
  • by judmarc (649183) on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:31PM (#7324915)

    SCO had the gall to cite ESR's definition of 'FUD,' which at the time related the origin of the acronym as applied to IBM. When their papers were already filed with the court, ESR tacked on a little 'bonus,' which the court will read because SCO cited it:



    http://catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/F/FUD.html [catb.org]

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:32PM (#7324925) Homepage
    But the victim of the crime of barratry is the _client_. You could get Boies on barratry if you could show that he induced SCO to bring a frivolous suit in order to enrich himself at their expense, but SCO would be the victim.
  • by Chordonblue (585047) on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:39PM (#7324996) Journal
    Pray they don't find the GPL unenforceable. Yes, SCO could get sued by quite a few of these project owners, however you're missing the point:

    SCO DOESN'T CARE

    There's no principle in it for them here. McBride talks about getting 'square' or 'clean', but he's laughing at all of us. That's not the intent at all.

    They aren't in this to prove anything other than trying to find out how much wealth the execs can aquire before it all comes crashing down. SCO WILL go down - let's hope they don't take the GPL with them.

  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:42PM (#7325010) Homepage
    So after reading your post, I thought "Hm, I wonder if SCO is still distributing or selling Linux somewhere." So I went to SCO's front page [sco.com] just to poke at it out of mild, idle curiousity. There's a little box on the front page that says "Looking for a promotion, contest, or campaign? Enter keyword here." If you enter something that's an SCO product it forwards you there. If you enter anything else it forwards you to a search page. Okay, I thought, what the heck, let's see what happens when I type in "linux". I did so, and to my surprise was promptly forwarded to
    http://www.sco.com/products/linux/ [sco.com], which said only:

    Forbidden
    You don't have permission to access /products/linux/ on this server.


    For no good reason, I find this funny.

    P.S. Searching for "Caldera Linux", on the other hand, returned some search results, including this absolutely fascinating [sco.com] page, which describes a developer-only "technology preview" of.. "the upcoming linux 2.4 kernel". The page seems to still be under the impression you can still sign up for SCO's "OpenLinux Developer's Network". They have e-mail addresses and an 800 number that points to the voice mail of some poor fellow within SCO named "Chris Morris". Hm.
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:46PM (#7325037)


    > > 7th Affirmative Defense - The GPL is selectively enforced by the Free Software Foundation such that enforcement of the GPL by IBM or others is waived, estopped or otherwise barred as a matter of equity

    > I guess they don't know the difference between copyright and trademark. Selective enforcement has zero effect on enforcebility of copyright. Black letter law.

    Also, why is it the FSF's job to enforce the GPL, selectively or otherwise?

    Unless the FSF happens to be the copyright owner on a particular bit of GPL'd code, they don't have any rights or ownership to defend for it:

    $ grep Copyright /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/*
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/ke rnel/acct.c: * (C) Copyright 1995 - 1997 Marco van Wieringen - ELM Consultancy B.V.
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/capability.c: * Copyright (C) 1997 Andrew Main <zefram@fysh.org>
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/cpufr eq.c: * Copyright (C) 2001 Russell King
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/exit.c: * Copyright (C) 1991, 1992 Linus Torvalds
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/fork.c: * Copyright (C) 1991, 1992 Linus Torvalds
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/info.c: * Copyright (C) 1992 Darren Senn
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/itimer.c: * Copyright (C) 1992 Darren Senn
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/kallsyms.c: Copyright 2000 Keith Owens <kaos@ocs.com.au> April 2000
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/panic.c: * Copyright (C) 1991, 1992 Linus Torvalds
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/pm.c: * Copyright (C) 2000 Andrew Henroid
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/printk.c: * Copyright (C) 1991, 1992 Linus Torvalds
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/ptrace.c: * (C) Copyright 1999 Linus Torvalds
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/resource.c: * Copyright (C) 1999 Linus Torvalds
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/resource.c: * Copyright (C) 1999 Martin Mares <mj@ucw.cz>
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/sched.c: * Copyright (C) 1991-2002 Linus Torvalds
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/signal.c: * Copyright (C) 1991, 1992 Linus Torvalds
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/softirq.c: * Copyright (C) 1992 Linus Torvalds
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/softirq.c: * due bh_mask_count not atomic handling. Copyright (C) 1998 Andrea Arcangeli
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/sys.c: * Copyright (C) 1991, 1992 Linus Torvalds
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/time.c: * Copyright (C) 1991, 1992 Linus Torvalds
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/timer.c: * Copyright (C) 1991, 1992 Linus Torvalds
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/timer.c: * Copyright (C) 1998 Andrea Arcangeli
    /usr/src/linux-2.4/kernel/user.c: * (C) Copyright 1991-2000 Linus Torvalds
    ...though the FSF does hold the rights to the text of the GPL itself. You reckon that's what SCO thinks they need to defend?
  • by mithras the prophet (579978) on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:55PM (#7325106) Homepage Journal
    Great finds. There's sure some weird leftovers on SCO's site. I like the awards page [sco.com], which includes unconstitutional praise like:
    1. Caldera OpenLinux eServer 2.3 wins CNET's Editor's Choice Award
    2. OpenLinux eDesktop 2.4 wins CNET Editors' Choice award from the editors of CNET.com
    3. OpenLinux eServer 2.3 wins Network World Blue Ribbon award.
    4. so sad...
  • #7 is hillarious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SEE (7681) on Monday October 27, 2003 @11:08PM (#7325189) Homepage
    Okay, it is just barely possible that a failure by the Free Software Foundation to enforce the GPL on works that the FSF holds the copyright to bars the FSF, as a matter of equity, form enforcing it on FSF-copyrighted works. "[M]atter of equity" is a rather broad argument, and a judge can drive a truck through it if he is so inclined, though it ups his chance of being reversed on appeal.

    However, the actions of the FSF in no way impacts IBM's enforcment of its licensing terms for software to which it holds the copyright, whether or not they license it under the GPL. The FSF and IBM are different corporations, even if they, like SCO itself, have used the same license on some software.

    Example: I could license software on which I hold the copyright to you under terms identical to a Microsoft license. I could then fail to enforce that license. That would in no way impact Microsoft's right to enforce its licenses on its software, ever. Similarly, how the FSF treats violations of FSF licenses to FSF code has no relevance to IBM's rights regarding violations of IBM licenses to IBM code.

    Frankly, if I were the judge, I'd pin SCO's ears back for making the argument. Yes, shotgun claims area common practice, but this is especially ridiculous, and needs to be discouraged.
  • by Curtman (556920) on Monday October 27, 2003 @11:09PM (#7325194)
    Yahoo Finance for SCOX [yahoo.com] says the rest. Notice the most recent of the 'Recent News' items are Microsoft stories? "Judge raises concerns over Microsoft settlement" is a SCOX related story how? Just by virtue of them being Bill's bitch now?
  • by Gunzour (79584) <slashdot@tycoononl[ ].com ['ine' in gap]> on Monday October 27, 2003 @11:11PM (#7325206) Homepage Journal
    That's especially true with after-hours trades. The volume of trades during after-hours trading is so small that a 4% drop could just be due to some unaware guy in Montana saying "You know what, I've had these 100 shares long enough, I think I'm gonna take my profits now".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27, 2003 @11:17PM (#7325248)
    What's your degree? And more importantly, much more importantly, from where is your degree?
  • by costela (198904) on Monday October 27, 2003 @11:20PM (#7325274)
    I'm going waaaay out of line here, but I imagine the slight possibility of SCO playing a double game here.

    Microsoft's involvement has been thought of before, but imagine the scenario where both IBM and Microsoft are put against the wall and SCO's only looking for the highest bidder to get bought.

    Goes like this: SCO sues IBM for some nonsense involving the GPL. It's quite obvious that IF this goes to court, SCO's gonna loose and that's possibly gonna set a precedent for the GPL in court and be a big bump for Linux on the mainstream press.
    Microsoft, being one of the few who would get hurt by Linux growth (maybe the last after Novell integration) would seriously consider buying out SCO to silence it before this FUD causes more good publicity on Linux than it already has.
    On the unlikely event of a court win, IBM would probably profit more from buying SCO than from paying all the licences.

    In both cases SCO gets bought and for me this looks more likely than just an IBM buy out, since it explains the reason behind the absurd claims: if the press goes towards IBM, Microsoft buys SCO, if the press goes against IBM, it buys SCO itself.

    my paranoid and over creative $0.00000002
    --
    - I wish life was like a *nix variant...
    - What for? You wouldn't be r00t!
  • The Open Group (Score:4, Interesting)

    by aws4y (648874) on Monday October 27, 2003 @11:21PM (#7325277) Homepage Journal
    The Open Group [opengroup.org] may have to step in to defend the UNIX trademark as the pice at groklaw points out that they are claiming that Linux is an unauthorized workalike to UNIX(TM) however SCO has no standing to make that cliam since it is the open group who controls weather or not an OS is a UNIX(TM).
    Now the open group has already stated that the UNIX trademark belongs to them [opengroup.org] and that they are neutral in matter of SCO v IBM. They have no flavor of Linux certified as a UNIX [opengroup.org], so SCO can not arbitrarily assign the UNIX trademark. It sounds to me like the Open Group may have to step in and defend its trademark in court, as if SCO didn't already have to beat up an 800lb gorilla with a spoon.
  • Re:its not illegal (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27, 2003 @11:32PM (#7325350)
    The stakes in this are so high that I am worried.

    WHAT high stakes? Some US court rules the GPL invalid, and a large portion of their dwindling intelligent citizens head overseas. Doesn't sound like that much is at stake to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27, 2003 @11:32PM (#7325353)
    Nor would we have gone to war in Iraq.

    So your contention is that it is insane to remove tyrants who have no compunctions about using poison gas on thier own citizens? Further, that if said brutal murdering tyrants were to be left in power, things would be better for the little guy?

    Just too damn wierd, man. Just too damn wierd.
  • Re:I agree! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Monday October 27, 2003 @11:35PM (#7325370)
    "The Patent Office, like it or not, derives its authority from Article 1. Section 8, Clause 8 as implemented by laws passed by Congress."

    First off, the Patent & Trade Office has nothing to do with copyrights. You don't "apply" for copyrights, you automatically have them when you write something. You can register your copyright (which gives you slightly more legal edge in defending your copyright), but that's done with the Library of Congress, not PTO.

    Secondly, the section you reference empowers Congress to give authors a monopoly over their works "for a limited period of time." In my opinion (which is what the words "I feel" mean), a copyright term longer than the lifespan of your average citizens is, for all realistic intents and purposes, unlimited. While a work written the day of my birth will (barring any further Bono-esque extensions) eventually become public domain, it will never happen within my lifetime so what's the point?

    "Just couldn't take a clue from all the flames you got then, eh?"

    I saw them (most of which I wouldn't have gotten if my post hadn't been moderated so high originally). My face turned red. I learned from the mistake and have moved on. Things like that happen when you're not a kharma whore trying to find an easy target to look smart next to.
  • Brass Tacks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ratfynk (456467) on Monday October 27, 2003 @11:44PM (#7325434) Journal
    Now we get down to the brass tacks of why SCO is receiving support from MS. Now the beast is revealed. SCO, through this suit, is out to help void the GPL. They are little more than an industry sponsored Judas goat. I wonder how big the total payoffs really are for this bit of skullduggery.

    If they win we can all stick are heads between our legs and send money to Redmond. If the polititians and judges are bought off to this extent, then it is the signal that the largest part of the software industry has become a corruptor of human rights and perhaps even the very Constitution which it relies upon for freedom of enterprise.

    Voiding the right of lawfull property owners to do as they see fit with their property, even give it away, would be a grave blow to the American Constitution. This blow could become fatal. I cannot believe that a sworn officer of the courts will alow this to happen. SCO, the corporation and proprietary Unix is going to die, soon. A very bleak and blue screen of death.

  • by PReDiToR (687141) on Monday October 27, 2003 @11:46PM (#7325441) Homepage Journal
    You mean I can break any license I want if it's unenforcable? I can just say "they can't catch me" and that's a valid legal reason to declare a license void?

    That pretty much what the RIAA and other special interest groups are contributing the .GOV into doing to the Constitution, isn't it?

    They think they can erode the rights of every Citizen in the US because no one can out-lawyer them, and its working.
  • Re:its not illegal (Score:2, Interesting)

    by steeviant (677315) on Monday October 27, 2003 @11:53PM (#7325506)
    If a ruling is passed in favour of the GPL, then well and good. What I'm worried about is what SCO (and guys like MS, and Sun I guess) would be angling for is that the GPL is defeated. In which case, where does that leave us? It'd be Armaggedon for those of us who feel the GPL serves a purpose and is a good tool. To add insult to injury, what would happen subsequently to that will be wholesale theft of the already-out-in-the-open GPL-ed code by all sorts of unscrupulous and/or "careless" companies.

    No, it either leaves work under the GPL protected by basic copyrights, or in the public domain.

    No-one is going to die, open-source is not going to disappear. The worst that can happen is more widespread rights for interested parties to incorporate GPL'd works without credit, and all the GPL favouring authors will have to find a new license to place future works under.

    In a way, even the worst case scenario is likely to weaken the case for other corporates wanting to follow in SCO's footsteps, because commercial vendors are far more likely to incorporate the huge volumes of truely free software into their proprietary products, and will then have difficulty proving whether they incorporated said code into theirs before or after that code was licensed under the GPL2 or whatever replaces the GPL.

    For this reason, smart companies will steer clear of assimilating GPL'd code regardless of the legal status of the GPL.

    However, I think the GPL will be found to be legally sound, and SCO are just blowing steam like they have so far.
  • by ScarKnee (588584) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @12:09AM (#7325626)
    why in the world does everything posted about SCO, Ray Noorda, etc. end up have some idiot bashing the LDS Church? The people of whom you speak may be LDS - I don't know about Darl McBride - but I do know that if they are lying through their teeth just to get a buck - which I strongly believe - they are NOT following any teaching or principle that is taught by the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Before you spout off that one must be highly insecure to devote 10% of our income to the church, you should actually learn about the church and the majority of its people. You don't judge a church or race or anything else by the actions of a VERY small portion of its people.
    Do not tie SCO to the LDS church - they have nothing more in common than I have with navel lint.

    Please show some sense of intelligence when posting.

    Either that, or you were just posting flaim-bate and I bit... In that case, you got me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @12:10AM (#7325630)
    SCO can legally argue that the GPL is invalid while agreeing to it at the same time. It just makes them look really really stupid.

    But the previous poster isn't saying that they can't argue it, they're saying that they have submitted an argument to a court of law that says the GPL is invalid.

    Since they believe the GPL is invalid, then they have no rights to distribute GPL'ed software. They are admitting - in a public, legally-binding way - that they are engaged in copyright infringement.

    So, therefore the people who's copyright they are infringing should start legal proceedings.
  • by iabervon (1971) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @12:16AM (#7325678) Homepage Journal
    SCO has admitted to violating the copyrights of dozens of companies and hundreds of individuals on content probably worth hundreds of millions of dollars. They are now by far the biggest pirates ever. I think it's time of all of these copyright holders to contact SCO's ISP, xo.net, and demand that SCO's site be pulled down. To do this, you send by fax or paper mail to xo.net an identification of the copyrighted work that you believe has been infringed (specifying the portions that you claim), an identification of the material that you believe to be violating it, contact information for you and for SCO, the statement "I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above on the allegedly infringing web pages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.", the statement, "I swear, under penalty of purjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.", and your signature. (Assuming that what google requires is what is mandated by law).

    I'd enjoy the whole SCO fiasco if SCO spent the time before their case comes to trial shut off the internet for running a warez site.
  • by Flower (31351) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @12:29AM (#7325754) Homepage
    If the GPL fails then all those copyrights go back to the original authors and SCO would be responsible for any damages since they distributed linux, gcc, samba, etc., etc. without permission. That's $150K per copy distributed.

    They better damn well hope they get that $3billion. By the time all those FS suits are done investors will be picking at SCO's bones.

    As for what I'm going to do if SCO wins? Get drunk, sober up and wipe a tear away as I completely convert over to OpenBSD. My little corner of the world will still be SCO free.

    In any event, while there is a risk, imo miniscule to non-existant, that the GPL could be invalidated there is also a chance that it will be validated in court. Had to happen sometime. Might as well be now.

  • Stupid. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Oriumpor (446718) * on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @12:37AM (#7325789) Homepage Journal
    IANAL etc, etc.
    SCO is claiming they own the intellectual property of foreign nationals. Yes, the intellectual property is shared freely, and even allowed to be improved upon by others BUT it is still the intellectual property of a foreign national.

    Just because you haven't purchased a US copyright, or filed a trademark doesn't mean you aren't entitled to the rights thereof. Patent suits are often between two competing companies (who both think they own the same IP) but at times someone who can show proper evidence of Prior Art can demonstrate validity of the supposed copyright/trademark/patent.

    However, the LETTER of the law OFTEN outweighs the SPIRIT of the law in our litigious society. SCO is trying to invalidate the GPL, and insodoing invalidate the copyrights of the creators of the intellectual property.

    SCO has no ground whatsoever regarding the true ownership of Linux. Sure, some ancient possibly proprietary (most likely public domain) source is in Linux. As soon as the information is presented in court, the community will start writing patches. It's worthless for them to even disclose the code.

    What isn't worthless, is disputing the entire GPL, making the Linux codebase a free for all, and bringing hundreds of thousands of man hours into disputed ownership.

    Now, if this black helicopter theory holds any water, then Microsoft (who has openly backed this) stands to gain a lot. Imagine all the endless applications THEY would have access to port directly to the Windows Operating System with that kind of legal precedent.

    The only thing preventing them from doing that, is COPYRIGHT law. Who woulda thought, the giant stick they're trying to beat the GPL with, could be their undoing. Who knows.

    END OF RANT
  • Sue SCO (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @12:51AM (#7325864)
    Why don't end users sue SCO for making unsubstantiated claims? If 50 people in each state file on the same day it would send a message to SCO that they would have to respond to...

    Right?
  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @01:23AM (#7326016)
    There was a story some months ago which raised questions about whether the GPL was exactly legal in Germany, because, if I remember correctly, any product you sell or distrubute must carry some kind of warrenty. Really it broke down to the "As-is" clause.

    I may not be a Lawyer, but I have had several survey classes on Common (ie Anglo-Saxon, ie US & UK) Law Vs. Civil Law (like in Germany) especially regaurding technology issues including copyright laws and the EU.

    The GPL needs to have this court case, because if the thing is shot down, it will put a serious damper on development in the Opensource community if not kill it.

    As a technology consultant, this legal issue has stopped two of my larger clients, that actually have open-minded CIO's, from rejecting linux in favour of SUN because of these legal issues. While the risk is low, its enough for already embattled IT departments not to risk it when they know that with M$ or SUN they will not have these issues.

  • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <{sherwin} {at} {amiran.us}> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @02:02AM (#7326163) Homepage Journal
    Than I suspect Darl and Co will get jail-time.

    Someone should have warned them about this.

    GPL=void.

    Samba=no longer able to be distributed.

    SCO sells Samba as part of Unixware.

    Willful infringement for the purpose of commercial/finanical gain.

    Felony charges. Minimum 3 years in prison.

    Generally, I believe that the amount of prison time is proportional to the distribution. In SCO's case, it is going to be pretty damn big.

    And, you know, depending on why the GPL is declared invalid (not that I think it will be, infact, I'm pretty damn sure it won't) one of two things may occur:
    a)GPL won't actually be found invalid, instead, SCO's crazy ass-ed interpretation of the GPL will force them into some kind of bind where they will be inviolation of it, and loose the right to distribute under it
    b)It will be found invalid in some tiny and specific way, and only the current revision of the GPL. GPL v4 will come out quickly, fix whatever error existed, and the opensource world will have a hell of a time moving everyting over to it. Or even better, it will only be found inapplicable to the linux kernel for some crazy reason, in which GPL v3.x for linux will be released, fixing the problem.

    If either of these occur, or the GPL is just plain busted, SCO execs will go to jail and owe huge fines.

    Not that it is much consolation--->It would really suck if the GPL was crushed. But it would feel good that the people who did it were screwed in the end anyways.
  • Re:its not illegal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ninewands (105734) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @02:24AM (#7326229)
    Quoth the poster:
    All the writers then have to do is release it under a new license and we're back at stage 1. Someone please correct me if I am wrong?

    Actually, a more entertaining possibility came to my mind a couple of weeks ago ... assume, for the sake of argument, that SCO manages (somehow) to win and the GPL is declared null and void. They win a billion dollar judgment against IBM (because the plaintiff NEVER gets ALL they're asking for) and everybody thinks that the IT world will return to normal with a few rules modified.

    Assume further, that I was in a position to advise certain well-known people in the FLOSS world (IAAL, so *that* argument (IANAL) won't fly), I'd advise my clients (Linus, Alan, Theo T'so, etc, etc, 20,000 x "etc". to immediately sue SCO and request sequestration of the judgment funds! If the GPL is held to be null and void, (which seems to be the position SCO is taking) SCO has been infringing their (the kernel contributors) copyrights for YEARS! ... and since the infringement was not only willful, but INTENTIONAL(!), SCO could be held criminally liable ... or at minimum face a punitive damage award that would make IBM flinch!

    Just my US$0.02
  • The First Rule (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Karmik (652491) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @04:37AM (#7326666)
    Follow the money.

    There is only One Company in the whole world the SCO lawsuit helps. Hint: It isn't SCO. Arguing about the minutiae of SCO's claims misses the point. SCO is noting but a tool. The real question is how far will the One Company go?

    Why did SCO get 50 million bucks in new investment? Does anyone think SCO will ever sell anything again? Everyone that would ever buy their kind of product hates them. They needed the money to pay lawyers. They also need to pay big salaries to the people at SCO who will be poison in the industry. Would you hire any of them? If you can buy Senators and the Justice Department you can certainly buy the little piss-ants at SCO. It isn't called bribery it's called investment.

    As an example of what money can do; Why do you think the DMCA was passed? Because the Senators and Congressmen care so much about intellectual property rights that they made criminals of 100 million Americans? No they were paid by the RIAA. It isn't called bribery it's called campaign contributions.

    The One Company must be quaking. Everyday it seems major governments are supporting open-source projects and products. Everyday it seems new announcements are made of products moving away from the One Companies products to open-source. Today the Army's Land Warrior project announced that they are moving to Linux. A better product CAN win and is winning. The One Company will lose on a fair playing field. But don't expect a fair playing field. They will buy whoever it takes to keep what they have. It isn't called bribery it's called influencing the public debate.

    Start prophesy:

    IBM lawyers will dig out the connection between the One Company and SCO and it will turn out to be even more disgusting than you can imagine.

    Several Senators will introduce a bill that subtly or not so subtly attacks the GPL while ostensibly propping up American intellectual property rights.

    Since neither Bush nor the Democratic candidates understand, or care for that matter, about open-source any bill the One Company cares to have passed will be signed into law.

    Only Americans will get screwed. The rest of the world will tell the One Company to get stuffed.

    End prophesy

    Did you think it would ever get to the point where the RIAA would sue 12 year old girls? How far will the One Company go? From their past history there any limit?
  • by theolein (316044) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @04:40AM (#7326671) Journal
    I'm not sure how this works in the US legal system, but this document that SCO has produced is a legal document. That means it's a statement of fact in court as seen by SCO. While this might be a standard way of doing things i.e. throwing every available answer at the opposition so that those defenses are not nullified by ommission, it also is a very good vehicle for anyone who contributed to the Linux kernel to warn SCO that they (the contributors) intend to sue SCO for abuse of copyright as SCO clearly states that it distributed GPL software in full knowledge that they did not accept the copyrights of those authors since SCO claims that the GPL is invalid. This suit would work whether or not the GPL is invalidated.

    All it would take is for Linus, Cox, Marcelo and the hundreds of others who contributed to warn of an intention to use AND GO TO THE PRESS WITH THIS ARGUMENT. Even the shitrag IT press such as CNet would understand such a legal threat and it would cause a major drop in SCO's stock value. Repeated a number of times by other developers, such as those of Samba, it would make SCO effectivily worthless by the time this trial gets going.

    The sad thing is, that while many talk about class action lawsuits, it is almost wholly hot air and will never materialise, since talk is cheap and action requires effort.
  • by Error27 (100234) <error27&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @05:15AM (#7326737) Homepage Journal
    "the defense attorneys will throw pretty much anything they can think of into the "affirmative defenses" list"

    A lot of people have said this and I think it must be true to some extent. On the other hand, isn't it weird to compare IBM's defenses to SCO's defenses? IBM use fewer defenses, but I can imagine IBM actually any or all of them. Here is the complete list.

    AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES

    First Defense
    The complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

    Second Defense
    SCO's claims are barred because IBM has not engaged in any unlawful or unfair business practices, and IBM's conduct was privileged, performed in the exercise of an absolute right, proper and/or justified.

    Third Defense
    SCO lacks standing to pursue its claims against IBM.

    Fourth Defense
    SCO's claims are barred, in whole or in part, by the applicable statutes of limitations.

    Fifth Defense
    SCO's claims are barred, in whole or in part, by the economic-loss doctrine or the independent-duty doctrine.

    Sixth Defense
    SCO's claims are barred by the doctrines of laches and delay.

    Seventh Defense
    SCO's claims are barred by the doctrines of waiver, estoppel and unclean hands.

    Eighth Defense
    SCO's claims are, in whole or in part, pre-empted by federal law.

    Ninth Defense
    SCO's claims are improperly venued in this district.

    Tenth Defense
    SCO has failed, in whole or in part, to mitigate its alleged damages.
  • by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2NO@SPAMearthshod.co.uk> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:25AM (#7326893)
    Exactly.

    Many EULAs attempt to abridge inalienable rights. There are some rights which, outside of a fascist dictatorship, you cannot have taken away; and any contract which tries to abridge these rights is void - depending on the wording, this could mean just the clauses that try to take away those rights, or it could mean the whole lot is void. It follows that there are some things that you can apparently agree to on paper, but that can never be enforced. For example, if you sign a contract offering someone a large sum of money if they take a baseball bat to you, you can still have them up in court on an assault charge because you cannot legally consent to assault. Likewise, a marriage agreement is not written consent to sexual intercourse, because a man can still be arrested for raping his wife. This, BTW, is why you see the catch-all phrase in any guarantee agreement: "This does not affect your statutory rights".

    The GPL is explicit permission for copying above and beyond fair use, subject to certain conditions. Anyone who understands English can see that. It is cast-iron and cannot fail to stand up in court. There is nothing to fear from it being tested like this.

    An EULA which tries to take away an inalienable right, on the other hand, might well be considered null and void - at least in part, depending on whether or not the courts rule that its terms are severable. Anyone who drafts a restrictive EULA is treading on some very shaky ground, and they know it - an EULA relies more on fear than legal enforceability.

    But if, by some freak mischance, the GPL was declared invalid, then every restrictive EULA - including SCO's own - would almost certainly be declared equally invalid in the same breath.
  • exactly (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Evil Pete (73279) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @06:33AM (#7326915) Homepage

    I used to wonder why Communism was so attractive and caught on so well in Europe. Then I realised that all the Communists were first brought up as Christians and that Christianity is so damn close to Communism it isn't funny ... especially the system of Monasteries that flourished and still flourish in Europe. Think of it this way Marx was essentially saying: "hey what if all of society was run like a monastery but without having to go to mass on sundays ?" Because monasteries DO work and have done so for 1500 years. However, a nation is not a monastery ... funny that Marx never noticed that obvious difference. Then again maybe I've just been smoking too much SCO brand crack or something.

  • Re:Beliefs. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @07:27AM (#7327061)
    Read the comment. He said that many people believe E.g. there are a lot of people who are mis-informed.

    What is needed is a high profile advocacy website which explains all of this in plain English[0]. The GNU website is woeful in this regard, almost to the point of being intentionally obtuse[1]

    [0]: Insert your language of locality or choice.
    [1]: Like a lot of GNU software, come to that. Ever tried to submit a patch to a GNU project? Ye Gods, its like driving bamboo spikes under your fingernails sometimes.
  • Never reach court. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lurvdrum (456070) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @08:37AM (#7327234)
    I confidently predict this will never actually reach court. SCO haven't a leg to stand on, and they know it. It's no use to Microsoft having the GPL formally validated in a courtroom - they need long term FUD. So the case will get pulled in a month or two...and then in three months time another stalking horse against Linux and the GPL will miraculously appear to continue the FUD...
  • by smitty_one_each (243267) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @09:01AM (#7327315) Homepage Journal
    No, the "Render unto Caesar" remark is more appropriate.

    The Kingdom of Heaven is completely orthogonal to the political system of the country in which you stand.

    My (perhaps flawed) interpretation is that Christiaity teaches a respect for law, and copyright. Thus, I can freely use GPL software where it makes sense, and contribute to GNU buy buying manuals and such, and use Mr. Softy's products at will, as I pay for an MSDN license.

    The scary people are the ones on either end of the argument who attack the American-ness, sexuality, and motives of the other end.

    Bottom line: Free Speech and Free Enterprise are both American.

    That tension exists between the two is just another unfortunate accident of existance. I love you all!
  • by adrianbaugh (696007) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:39AM (#7327910) Homepage Journal
    All this rhetoric is getting old. I just wish that when it reaches court IBM would file a motion requesting to "televise" the whole thing via a webcam. It would be better than OJ!
  • by anomaly (15035) <tom.cooper3@gmai l . com> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @10:45AM (#7327955)
    I searched the SEC website and found no information about ongoing investigations. (Apparently it is their policy to not publicize investigations.) I filled out a web form on their site and was quite surprised to receive a phone call the next day from an SEC investigator.

    I spoke with the gentleman for about 45 minutes. He's a stock geek, and I'm a computer geek - different worlds, to be sure.

    I did my best to communicate what I believe are the essential issues in this matter - that SCO

    Is filing lawsuits to manipulate potential investors' opinions about them and their products

    Is lying about the core issues in the case

    Is a sham - not really developing technology but using IP (their definition) to wrest dollars from "infringers," and

    That the leadership within the company is pumping and potentially dumping stock

    The investigator listened patiently to my explanation and asked good "process" questions - he heard what I had to say.
    He indicated that he wanted to be sure that he understood my issues (IP and copyright issues are not day to day issues for them)

    Unfortunately he indicated that he did not believe that he could express my concerns cogently, and that there was not enough volume of stock being sold by insiders to justify starting an investigation.

    He did tell me that if we could demonstrate that SCO leaders knowingly lied about their products or other companies, he needed to know about that because that was substantive enough to justify an investigation.

    Note that we don't have to find where they sold stock on the basis of the lies, only be able to demonstrate clear false statements.

    I found it interesting that
    a) They would contact me
    b) They would listen to me
    c) They want to protect the public from abusive leaders, and
    d)They would show me how to help them initiate an investigation.

    Find the lies and report them, and the SEC will get engaged. Remember that what seems completely obvious to a tech geek may not be clear to a stock geek. (and vice-versa) Do the legwork, find the proof and then in a clear, concise, non-inflammatory way using layman's terms communicate that to the SEC, and they will do their job. They can't do what they don't understand. Remember that they have to prove it in a court of law, not a court of open-source advocates.

    Regards,
    Anomaly

    PS - God loves you and longs for relationship with you. If you want to know more about this, please email me.
  • by MS_leases_my_soul (562160) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @11:22AM (#7328299)
    IANAL, but I have to wonder here. We all know that SCO was giving away under the GPL what they are now claiming should never have been given away. Furthermore, they are claiming the GPL is unconstitutional.

    So why did they enter into OpenLinux?

    I think they are now damned if they do, damned if they don't. *IF* everything they claim is true, then they mislead their business partners in the OpenLinux effort. These partners contributed additional development effort, money and other resources to an endevour that SCO now claims they own in its entirety. Wouldn't that be fraud?
  • by Lost Penguin (636359) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @11:34AM (#7328419) Homepage
    I have heard SCO attack our rights and our property.
    (Yes, I believe we all own rights to Linux under the GPL)

    I feel we have all been guilty of apathy.

    SCO has corporate clients. We need to put pressure on any user of SCO software.
    We can call, write, e-mailand protest in front of SCO Scum Clients ASAP.
    A few million boycott e-mails to each, would work.
    These are SCO supporters that I am aware of:
    (from http://www.sco.com/company/success/)

    HP and Compaq
    McDonalds Corp.
    PizzaHut Corp.
    Wendys Corp.
    i Mobile Computing, Inc. (iMC)
    HON Industries
    Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners
    Michaels arts and crafts
    Peter's Food Service in Bedwas, South Wales
    Shaw's Supermarkets, Inc. W. Bridgewater, MA
    Sound Advice Electronics stores
    Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada
    Kuwait Petroleum Corp.
    Sodexho Australia, Telstra Stadium in Australia
    Pearle Europe B.V.
    Costco Wholesale
    Family Mart, Taiwan
    Save Mart Supermarkets, the Modesto, Calif
    Professional Datasolutions Inc (PDI), Temple, TX
    Rouse's, Grocery Thibodaux, La.
    Store 24, Waltham, Mass.
    Swiss Chalet, Los Angeles, Houston and Miami
    Condor Software, Pelham, Ala.
    PCMS, Coventry, England
    The Dixon Group, England
    Currys
    PC World computer specialty stores.
    The Link mobile phone specialty stores.
    Telsoft
    Switchview
    Nuance
    APEX Voice Communications
    Brooktrout Technology
    Virginia- based EIS International
    Faximum Software Inc.
    Fujitsu
    Chelmsford, Massachusetts-based Voicetek
    NEC America, Inc.'s (NEC) Corporate Networks Group
    Priority Call Management of Wilmington, Mass
    Richmond Hill, Ontario based Synamics Inc.
    Microlog Germantown, Maryland
    Nortel, Brampton Ontario, Canada
    Palace Resorts Cancun, Mexico

    Cendant Corp
    Cendant lodging brands include Amerihost Inn, Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Ramada Inn, Super 8, Travelodge

    W.E.T. Automotive Systems AG, Odelzhausen, Germany

    If Linux users loudly boycott SCO clients, SCO will back down FAST.
  • by RandySC (9804) <SlashDot@NospAM.Calligaster.Net> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @11:43AM (#7328512)
    The Constitution is a document that RESTRICTS what government can do. As the FSF is a private charity and not a government, it is impossible for the FSF to do or create something that is unconstitutional.
  • by fishbowl (7759) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @12:15PM (#7328888)
    >If the GPL is invalid...
    >then SCO is guilty of pirating the Linux kernel!!

    Absolutely. It actually should be worse than that for SCO:

    EVEN IF the GPL is NOT invalid, SCO has publicly rejected its terms.

    So the validity of the GPL does not enter the discussion, period. SCO has no right to use the software unless it has negotiated some other license terms, period.

    I'm surpised we aren't already hearing about TRO's being filed, C&D's being sent, and suits being filed on this. It's pretty simple: GPL software is licensed, not sold. Either you accept the terms of the license, or you do not. If you do not accept the terms of the license because you believe the license to be invalid or because its terms are not legal in your jurisdiction or because of other interests you may have, that's just too bad for you.

    If your mortgage agreement has an illegal clause in it, you don't get your house for free.

    If I don't agree with what's written on my parking ticket, it's not going to stop my car from being towed if I don't move it.

    If I have legal problems that prevent me from agreeing with the GPL, I cannot use SAMBA on my network, period.

  • by chooks (71012) on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @12:17PM (#7328905)
    Must....resist.....arguing.....can't...do...it...

    Doh.

    The intent of communism is that everyone is equal and should be treated fairly, the basic premise is that everyone deserves to be part of a sharing community where people aren't taken advantage of. Everyone that can provide, should. And everyone that needs, should be given. In such a society no-one shold be considered a freeloader, because everyone should pitch in as much as they can.

    1) Any system whose fundamental premise is that everyone is equal is going to be flawed. Obviously, everyone is not equal (Rousseau's _Disocourse on the Origin of Inequality_ comes to mind about this discussion) However, everyone should be equal before the law See the evolution of the English legal system (Magna Carta, Petition of Rights, Rights of the Englishmen) It's been a while since I've read the _Communist Manifesto_, but I don't recall much about equal rights before the law in there.

    2) For an interesting culmination of what happens when "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" is implemented, you may want to read Ayn Rand's _Atlas Shrugged_. A little dystopic, to be sure, but is certainly thought provoking. In essence, it displays the unfairness that this philosophy engenders.


    Of course, communism is always doomed to failure because humanity is inately selfish (a necessary evolutionary trait),


    In other words, people are doomed to be who they are. Nice.

    Motivated self interest (AKA selfishness) is how people are wired (at least that seems to be the general consensus around here). Selfishness is not a bad thing (although it has a bad connotation in today's society) For example, it is in my best interests to fund general schooling of the population, rehab centers, and welfare (to name a few social institutions) Another Ayn Rand book _The Virtue of Selfishness_ discusses the concept in a rather interesting way which you won't find in your standard religion or civics classes.

    However the fact that the ideals of communism are benevolent should not be overlooked

    This sounds strangely like the ends justify the means...Which ideals are you talking about? Equality -- false premise. Fairness -- sure, but communism doesn't have a monopoly on advocating this concept. The ideal that the group is more important than myself is definitely not benevolent as it makes the individual subservient to the group, which is not a very fair situation.

    And it is uninformed and rude to suggest that an ideological system that exists only as a fanciful mental construct in which everyone is truly equal should in some way be feared and/or insulted

    Resorting to ad hominem attacks is not extremely pursuasive. I consider myself informed and very fashionable, and I have no problem with insulting communism.

    I am totally in favour of unfair systems, as long as I get the best out of them.

    This is just plain wrong, no matter what political system you may advocate.

    I can't believe that the parent was modded to 5...

    Chooks
  • by GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) <curt@johnson.gmail@com> on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @12:53PM (#7329350) Homepage
    Nope, socialism requires making everything fair. Regulated capitalism is not equal to socialism. Under socialism the government owns most of the means of production. Socialism would require that the government took over an entire industry and directed it from the top down. Universal health care could be seen as socialist, so would state oil companies in OPEC countries. We could see the regulation of the airwaves as somewhat socialist, but after all the airwaves are a scarce commodity owned collectively by the citizenry, so would anything but a partially socialist system be fair?

    The same goes for the state oil companies, or the fact that Alaska pays it's citizens dividends based on oil drilling via rights purchased from the state.

    There are times in a capitalist society where partially socialist policies for a particular situation are only fair. There are other times where a free market must be confined to certain segments of an industry, such as regulating the production and distribution of energy. If the energy market goes to hell, the entire economy goes to hell, it is not wise to leave this up to an entirely free market since they can be unpredictable and the chain effect would cripple the economy as a whole.

    You can also argue for a base level of Universal Health Care (primary physician stuff, access to basic treatment including antibiotics and such), since this affects the productivity of low income workers and the cost/benefits shows that industries which depends on low income labor will benefit more than providing such a service would cost.

    Blind ideological devotion to free markets can be just as bad for society as a whole as devotion to socialism or even thinking about communism. The goal here is to maintain a democratic and free society where everyone has equal oppurtunity in the eyes of the government. This means that we cannot afford, for the good of democracy, to have power become too concentrated in this country. Look at Latin America and South America for examples of democracies that don't work because power is distributed so unevenly. Uneven power distribution can mean a large lack of oppurtunity, making capitalism and free markets ineffective.

    In order for free markets and capitalism to survive they to require some regulation to make sure they don't become command economies.
  • Please NO (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 28, 2003 @01:29PM (#7329694)
    It would be pretty kewl to have him for the interview AFTER the case.

    Because before the case, even if he makes general statements, SCO is going to try to have him removed as predjudicial. If he is as reasonable as is portrayed here, let it ride, and let him rule.

    Then we can ask specific questions, because the case will be decided.

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