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Media Contact: Free Software Foundation
Ravi Khanna <communication@fsf.org>

Media Contact: Free Software Foundation
John Shannon <communication@fsf.org>

Setting the Record Straight: The Free Software Foundation, the General Public License and SCO versus IBM

Boston, MA, USA - Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - On Wednesday, January 21, 2004, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) will hold a press conference at Columbia University to discuss the strengths and successes of the GNU General Public License (GPL) and to refute the claims made by the The SCO Group, Ltd. (SCO) and their counsel in their ongoing lawsuit against International Business Machines Corp (IBM).

In the last few months, SCO has been sowing confusion and misinformation regarding the validity of the GNU GPL as part of their strategy to extort money from users of the kernel named Linux, which is licensed under FSF's GPL. FSF, the umpire of Free Software disputes, will respond to SCO's lawsuit and will explain how SCO seeks to inappropriately increase its own market value at the expense of the legitimate activity of the Free Software community's developers, distributors and users.

This press conference is valuable to anyone interested in the state of Free Software, its licensing issues, the SCO v. IBM lawsuit, and the integrity of the GNU GPL. FSF maintains that the SCO lawsuit is not only without merit, but that SCO have themselves benefited from distribution the kernel named Linux under GPL, even as they question that license's validity. Indeed, Professor Eben Moglen, FSF Board Member and General Counsel, has pointed out that SCO has distributed Linux under GPL, even after filing their lawsuit. SCO has therefore published its supposed trade secrets and copyrighted material under a license that gives everyone permission to copy, modify, and redistribute that software.

Professor Moglen will head the press conference and will discuss both the strengths and successes of the GPL -- the most popular and widely used Free Software copyright license. As the lawyer behind most successful enforcement efforts of GPL, and a nationally recognized authority on alternatives to contemporary copyright and patent law, Professor Moglen is in an unique position to discuss the history of the GPL, the FSF's continued success in obtaining compliance with the GPL, and why SCO's attack on the users of the kernel named Linux and the GPL is both unprecedented and without merit.

This press conference offers an excellent opportunity to understand the history and intent of the GPL, its importance in the IT community and the weakness of SCO's current lawsuit against IBM. Professor Moglen will be available to answer questions both during and after the press conference.

About Free Software Foundation:

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of Free (as in freedom) Software - particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants - and Free Documentation for Free Software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software. Their web site, located at http://www.fsf.org, is an important source of information about GNU/Linux. They are headquartered in Boston, MA, USA.

About Eben Moglen:

Eben Moglen is Professor of Law and Legal History at the Columbia Law School, where he has taught since 1987. He clerked for Judge Edward Weinfeld of the United State District Court for the Southern District of New York and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court. Before and during law school he was a designer and implementer of advanced computer programming languages at IBM's Santa Teresa Laboratory and Thomas J. Watson Research Center. His principal areas of interest are Anglo American legal history, constitutional law, computers, free expression, and copyrights, patents and trademarks. Since 1993, he has served as pro bono General Counsel for the Foundation and has served on its board since July 2000.

Copyright © 2004 Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110, USA

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Updated: $Date: 2011/07/13 17:31:33 $ $Author: jturner $