Subject: Re: What should Sun do?
From: Laurent GUERBY <laurent@guerby.net>
Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2005 19:54:22 +0100

On Fri, 2005-02-04 at 09:54 -0500, Marshall W. Van Alstyne wrote:
> Question: but suppose they don't intend to *use* the copyrights? Under a 
> different scenario, what might happen if the owner of a competing product 
> sued (a hypothetical Microsoft) and won ownership? Is it possible for them 
> to bury code?  A software equivalent of the final scene from "Raiders of 
> the Lost Ark" comes to mind.
> 
> I'm guessing that the redistribution properties of say GPL would protect 
> access but that development momentum would be lost if the new owner 
> intended to do damage.

All previous public GPL releases of source code can be used as a base
for project continuation and will stay under the GPL without possible
interference from the new FSF "owner", no burial.

The only effect would be that the new owner may have the right
to make a proprietary version of all FSF owned project source code.

I signed the FSF assignment, I don't remember if there are
clauses that would allow me to go after the new owner in courts.

Of course, if software patents are held valid, no need
to go after FSF copyright, any "reasonably" sized patent
portfolio can be used to kill *all* free software
projects very easily.

Laurent

PS: under French law there are still my "moral rights" (that
I cannot sell or transfer to anyone), but there are
weak in the software case, and anyway I have to compensate
the new owner for the code I claim can no longer be used
by him for moral reasons.