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More mmcache concerns

Can someone look at http://bugs.debian.org/280864 please?  It is
likely we'll need legal advice to proceed.

Quick summary of the situation:
2001 to 2002? - Dmitry Stogov wrote Turck-MMCache on contract to
Turcksoft St. Petersburg
2002-12-09 - Turck-MMCache released as GPL by Turcksoft with Turcksoft
copyright notice; despite need to be linked against PHP, no license
exception provided, resulting in undistributability of binaries.
2003 - Dmitry Stogov hired by Zend; development on MMCache stops
(presumably because they put him to work on Zend Optimizer, and didn't
want him contributing to a competing project)
2003-11-04 - Last release of MMCache (2.4.6)
2003-12 - Turcksoft pulls its web page offline (see
http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.turckware.ru for evidence)
2004-03-02 - Jonathan Oxer uploads first turck-mmcache Debian package to main
2004-11 - Turcksoft's domains expire, and Turcksoft goes completely dead.
2004-12 - eAccelerator forks from MMCache; however, license must
remain GPL (not solving our problems); in addition, copyright notice
ALTERED to remove Turcksoft and replace with Dmitry's name, possibly
resulting in copyright violation

Now, we have an undistributable codebase, due to licensing concerns,
and the holder of the copyright has gone defunct.  The forked project
may be providing good code, but there are doubts about its legality,
as well as the fact that the GPL license issue still remains.

Turck-MMCache has become abandonware, but we likely still have our
hands tied by copyright law.

Jonathan Oxer:
> The big question though (and this is where legal advice may be required)
> is what happens to copyright when the copyright owner ceases to exist?
> According to copyright law the copyright for works made "for hire"
> exists for 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the
> date of creation, whichever is shorter.
> It's considered "work for hire" so unless he had a
> contract with Turcksoft to the contrary he is *not* the copyright
> holder.

So... I guess the question is, what _can_ we do?

Elizabeth Fong

Please CC me on replies, as I am not subscribed to debian-legal.

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