|The Open Source Development Lab (OSDL), a global consortium of leading technology companies dedicated to accelerating the adoption of Linux, today released a Q&A paper written by noted technology law and intellectual property expert Lawrence Rosen. The paper asks and answers key questions about SCO Group's current lawsuit against IBM and about its threatened litigation against users of Linux. The Q&A paper is designed to help Linux users with information to better understand the legal issues in this case, and to help them evaluate their own position with respect to SCO's demand for license fees from companies that continue to use Linux.
In his paper, Rosen identifies some of the legal issues raised by the SCO Group's claims as they relate to Linux development and usage. He does not offer legal advice, but rather frames some of the key questions that companies should ask their own counsel about their use of Linux. He points out that SCO has a long way to go before it can assert broad intellectual property claims against an operating system that was written by thousands of open source programmers worldwide.
"As we have noted before, we see no evidence that end users are slowing down their Linux implementation plans because of SCO's actions" said Stuart Cohen, OSDL CEO. "Mr. Rosen's paper is designed to help users assess whether or not they need to purchase a license to use Linux. We want all those in the Linux industry to know OSDL's position on this issue: Absent clear, open and publicly available evidence that using Linux violates rights that SCO has not already freely conferred by distributing Linux under the GPL license over the course of several years, there is real doubt as to whether end users should purchase a license from SCO."
Key issues covered in Rosen's paper include:
Extent to which the Linux operating system is involved in SCO vs. IBM
Extent to which any single entity has copyright control over Linux
Assessment of impact SCO vs. IBM may have on users of Linux
"The real legal issue in this case is between two companies, not between a software provider and end users, nor between a company and an operating system," Rosen says. "Users should be completely informed of their rights and obligations, if any, before they take steps to purchase a software license they may never need."
To read the entire paper, please visit the OSDL Web site at:
Lawrence Rosen is founding partner of Rosenlaw & Einschlag, a technology law firm, with offices in Los Altos Hills and Ukiah, California (www.rosenlaw.com). He also serves as general counsel and secretary of Open Source Initiative (www.opensource.org), which reviews and approves open source licenses and educates the public about open source issues.
About the Open Source Development Lab
OSDL - home to Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux - is dedicated to accelerating the growth and adoption of Linux in the enterprise. Founded in 2000 and supported by a global consortium of IT industry leaders, OSDL is a non-profit organization that provides state-of the-art computing and test facilities in the United States and Japan available to developers around the world. OSDL sponsors include Alcatel, Cisco, Computer Associates, Dell, Ericsson, Force Computers, Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, Linuxcare, Miracle Linux Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric, MontaVista Software, NEC Corporation, Nokia, Red Hat, SuSE, TimeSys, Toshiba, Transmeta Corporation, Turbolinux and VA Software. Visit OSDL on the Web at www.osdl.org.
OSDL is a trademark of Open Source Development Labs, Inc. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds. Third party marks and brands are the property of their respective holders
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