Tuesday, December 23, 2003

The intellectual property wars are pushing to new frontiers of dopiness on at least two fronts.

In Norway, "DVD Jon" Lech Johansen has been acquitted of piracy charges -- the courts there have concluded that writing software to read and display DVDs is not, by itself, an act of piracy. Let's hope this time, it sticks. This is actually his second trial on the exact same charges, due to a provision of Norweigian law that allows the prosecution, in some cases, to effectively appeal an acquittal. (Then again, the overlapping Federal and State jurisdictions in the U.S. of A. may be a different idea, but in some cases they can have the same effect).

Meanwhile, the intellectual property claims of SCO Corp. against Linux, its users and developers just keep getting weirder. The latest is a series of letters that they are sending out naming a few new files which they claim are their own copyrighted code. As by now usual, the Linux developers -- in this case, the eponymous Linus Torvalds himself -- traced the actual origin of the code in question, and observing in particular that he couldn't have cadged it from anyone else's working code, since the earliest version of the code available did not actually work.

SCO's response? They evidently have someone who knows more about the code than the guy who wrote it, who will provide an explanation at trial about why Linus is wrong. I can hardly wait...


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