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SCO Claims IBM/SGI Licenses are Revokable 378

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-take-backs dept.
shadow099 writes "SCO claims in an open letter writen by Blake Stowell, Director Public Relations SCO, that the Unix licenses to IBM and SGI can be revoked. " This is just the latest volley in the ongoing circus. It keeps getting funnier!
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SCO Claims IBM/SGI Licenses are Revokable

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  • It keeps getting funnier! ..its just not funny any more. Its downright frustrating, and whilst I appreciate the coverage Slashdot is giving me (I want to see what asses SCO are making of themselves) I can't wait to see SCO screwed in court and hopefully nailed by the financial regulators over their pump & dump tactics.

    Sigh.
    • No, hopefully they'll get blown off the face of the earth in a radioactive dustcloud after Darl and chums have been slowly and viciously tortured to the point of jibbering insanity (although it might be hard to tell when this has happened). Ah, a man can dream....
  • first of all, that quote pertains to AT&T, second of all sco gave 1 week notice, not two months.
  • by Arker (91948) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:03PM (#7194453) Homepage

    I'll get a few obvious observations out of the way.

    First, they love to cite that original contract, but they don't talk about the addendums. There's a reason for that.

    Secondly, even by that contract unamended, they would still have to actually specify what the supposed violations are before they could start the clock running so far as notice. They've steadfastly refused to do this, proving that they're acting in bad faith.

    Third, just because they claim something is a violation doesn't make it so. If they really thought they had violations here, they'd be in a hurry to get to court, but instead they've been stalling.

    So, in conclusion, more hot air from a guy that's known for it.

    • I don't think that any of these three claims is correct.

      First, the only addenda I've seen are in the IBM-ATTIS contract. This is not an action against IBM, but against SGI. The IBM addenda may change the outcome for AIX, but have absolutely no impact on Irix. More, the AIX issues are clouded by the question of Sequent's contract: it does not contain the extensions of rights clauses in the IBM addenda. If the Sequent-ATTIS contract is held to be binding on IBM for those items which were developed using S
      • SCO's best strategy is to convince one company that they've got a claim and that the company is in violation of that claim. If they can do that without going to court, then they are golden: if any entity which they sued caves, then SCO can move against companies like Red Hat and SuSE, and against the Australian Competition Commission.

        So all SCO has to do is convince IBM to hand over $3Bil with no proof. Gotcha. If SCO manage to do that I'll buy a Linux license. I don't see how one party agreeing to anyth
      • by Arker (91948)

        First, the only addenda I've seen are in the IBM-ATTIS contract. This is not an action against IBM, but against SGI.

        Actually there are apparently actions against both, with the IBM suit being the biggest. The article was explicitly talking about both of them. So the IBM addenda are definately relevent there.

        Also, although I haven't seen it either, SGI claims they have a similar addendum.

        More, the AIX issues are clouded by the question of Sequent's contract: it does not contain the extensions of rights

      • Dude, SCO might say theyve started that clock, but it hasnt started till they tell them the breach. *NO* court would accept that.

        SGI has remedied the *MINOR* breaches it previously had, and is free. Its own analysis proved that.

        Also its vital to remember that SCO are lying about alot of this. I'd wager that the primary reason they are stalling, is because perjury can land folk in jail.
        • "SGI has remedied the *MINOR* breaches it previously had, and is free. Its own analysis proved that."

          Well, according to the usual definition of copyright they would be. However, SCO isnt using the same definition of derivative works as the rest of us. Remember, they're claiming that everything like XFS or JFS or RCU that has been developed to be able to run on something based on SCO's intellectual property is by extension the property of SCO too.

          So if you rewrite the law and live in an imaginary world the
      • In which sense was MS "right"???? Morally, maybe. Legally, give me a break. Morality and legality are issues that non necessarily intersect.

        MS was found in violation of a patent that the holder registered legally and defended it in consequence. If the US patent system is in shambles that is a completely different matter, MS was not in the right as proven by a court of law.

        With SCO we have a company that has nothing, has been shown to be lying in a public forum and in ignorance of what is in their own obso
    • That and they don't talk about remedies of contract breach.

      There is a certain amount of goodwill in contracts. I'm sure that notifying somebody in a timely manner that they are in violation is one of them, along with remedies enumerated in the contract.

      Not like patent infrindgement, where it is common to let the other guy get up and running and making money before you sue the rug out from underthem.

      Worthwhile to note that all of SCO's claim of Patent and IP and copyright infrindgement does not address t

  • Well, he does seem to have a point, whether it's the "right" thing to do or not. If there's no place in the license that says it's irrevocable (and, quite to the contrary, actually says that it is revocable), then they shouldn't assume that it is.

    How he goes about saying it, though, is quite assholish, and I don't agree with the whole situation, but it seems that the contract does allow them to revoke the licensing.

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • It's my bat, it's my ball, and unless you play by my rules, I'm going home, and taking them with me!

    It's not fair, waaaaaahhhhh! (Red-faced temper tantrum)

  • So the husband is at the door, with the suitcase packed and the and a one way plane ticket in his hand and the wife is screaming she's going to divorce him. Pathetic really.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    C
  • by OMG (669971) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:12PM (#7194500)
    Blake Stowell (SCO) writes:
    "You can't take code based on a license you signed, change it a little and then give it away for free (as in the case of XFS from SGI)." (emphasis mine)

    Firstly SGI has a good point [computerbu...review.com] in saying it is allowed to make XFS open source. And secondly SCO execs should learn that GPL licencing is not about "free beer". Probably a court will need to tell them soon what the meanings of the GPL licence are.
  • "Irrevokable" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cperciva (102828) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:12PM (#7194501) Homepage
    IBM/SGI's licenses are "fully paid up and irrevokable". That's specific legal language which means "SCO can't demand more licensing fees, and it can't pull the license on a whim". That in no way restricts the ability of SCO to revoke a license which has already been invalidated by IBM or SGI violating its terms.

    I'm not saying that IBM or SGI has violated the terms of their UNIX licenses; but if they have, that "fully paid up and irrevokable" language is irrelevant in this case.
    • I'm not saying that IBM or SGI has violated the terms of their UNIX licenses; but if they have, that "fully paid up and irrevokable" language is irrelevant in this case.

      That's not necessarily true. Somebody pointed out that this is one area where the driver's license analogy is fairly apt. Not all violations against ones driver's license result in revocation as a penalty. Most don't, in fact. Instead they're punishable by something less, like a fine. Similarly, revocation is not SCO's only option in

      • Re:"Irrevokable" (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jjo (62046) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @01:00PM (#7194729) Homepage
        SGI has in no way adimiited a breach of its license agreement. It has identified about 200 lines of code SVR4 code that very likely has already released to the public. In an adundance of caution, SGI has excised that code from its Linux distributions.

        I really don't know where this idea of "SGI admitting fault" got started, but I can guess.
    • Its nto a Unix License, friend!

      The only group that can license Unix is OpenGroup!

      Its a license to specifc unix implementation IP code only..

    • 'cperciva's analysis is wrong. Stipulating the unlikely fact that IBM/SGI DID violate some term of the license, that gives SCO action to enjoin the VIOLATION... pointedly, NOT to revoke the original rights. Under the stipulation, SCO would also merit recovery of resultant damages. But there's just no way it can touch the underlying licensing rights, no matter what.
  • by ErikZ (55491)
    Then do it already SCO. It might actually help you with your court case.

    What? It's a completely bogus claim? Then why are you annoucing it? Who are you trying to impress?

    I wonder if their lawyers are working by the hour, and need to do stuff like this to charge billable hours.
  • Does the current SCO product include a file system as good as XFS? If so, what is it's name and how does it perform?

    If not, why do they claim this to be SCO property but don't make their customers benefit from it? Just curious...
  • XFS and copies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jbolden (176878) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:18PM (#7194535) Homepage
    The letter's main point seems incorrect. IBM and SGI have a license to distribute the quote sounds like it is from a license to use. Given SCO's previous honesty I'd question whether he is quoting the correct license.

    One side point was even worse, "You can't take code based on a license you signed, change it a little and then give it away for free (as in the case of XFS from SGI)."

    How is XFS based on a license that SGI signed? AT&T and SCO for that matter have nothing similar.
  • I have read over SGI's licenses and I've found no place where it says it is irrevocable. Why would anyone in their right mind sign over a license to anyone that was not revocable?

    You have to ask is Mr. Stowell being disingenuous or is he meerly extremely naieve. The answer is very simple when the license was issued it was a condition of the contract and was a deal breaker. Most hardware vendors particularly in the timeframe of the dealings had much larger capital outlays on their proprietary products t
  • by psicic (171000) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:24PM (#7194555) Homepage Journal
    The piece itself is about nothing : the term irrevocable doesn't mean it can't be revoked, it usually just means it can't be revoked for no reason - i.e. there has to be a breach of the terms of the license. (That's assuming there isn't a clause somewhere that says 'This license can never be revoked.')

    There is one worrying thing, and I quote:

    {Villain fingers pussycat}

    If that's an accurate description of what Mr. Stowell was doing, shouldn't somebody call the RSPCA???
  • by cyclist1200 (513080) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:24PM (#7194556) Homepage
    SCO issued a statement today saying "Yuh huh!"

    IBM and SGI issued a joint reply stating "Nuh uh!"
  • I hereby claim that I have the power to revoke THE SUN!
    • I'm afraid I'm going to have to send you a Cease and Desist. It turns out you're infringing my patent on megalomania (as licensed to SCO, Microsoft and the US Government).
  • SCO will say "No license for j00!" to IBM, towhich they 900 lb gorrilla will walk up to them and basically say "revoke this" in response. I fail to see what this is going to achieve on SCO's part.
    • SCO will say "No license for j00!" to IBM, towhich they 900 lb gorrilla will walk up to them and basically say "revoke this" in response. I fail to see what this is going to achieve on SCO's part.

      Well here on planet Earth, and in the US specificly, that's called a Paper Trail. McBride told IBM and SGI that their license is dead. OK, fine. IBM and SGI stand up and say "ummm... nope." So now McBride can say "Well I mentioned it to them, and gave them the proper notice about it it all, but they (point
  • By the Original (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) <{shadow.wrought} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:35PM (#7194605) Homepage Journal
    ...any time terminate all the rights granted by it hereunder by not less than two(2) months' written notice to LICENSEE specifying any such breach, unless within the period of such notice all breaches specified therein shall have been remedied;...

    So, by the original language, the license can only be revoked by specifying the breach. SCO has yet to specify the breach so much as point in its general direction.

    The other proviso is that if the breach is fixed (ie the infringing stuff is removed) then the license can no longer be revoked. So, if the offending code in Linux is identified and removed- there is no breach.

    Is it just me or are they no even bothering to hide their alterior agenda anymore?

  • Meanwhile it is back to the Unix wars as usual, with a twist.
    • SuSE: Use our Linux, we're protected because we were part of OpenLinux along with those SCOundrels
    • HP: Use our Linux, we are protected because we have a secret condom and we promise you won't catch anything.
    • IBM: So we're being sued. Hell, $3 billion is small change. Excuse us a moment while we thump our chests and then bury these creeps in fecal pellets.
    • SUN: Linux is crap for the server anyway. But here's this really, really neat corporate desktop
  • by coupland (160334) * <dchase@@@hotmail...com> on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:39PM (#7194629) Journal
    SCO has won nothing. They have disclosed nothing. They have accomplished nothing. They keep beating their chests and making outlandish statements every time they go a couple days without being in the headlines. But we keep reporting it and acting shocked. Darl McBride and SCO are the corporate equivalent of a kid eating dog poo out of the sand box for attention. Ignore them, they will go away.
    • I love you Dog Poo analogy, however there is some benefits to this Soap Opera

      Treat it as an educational process

      We get to learn about:

      - Contract Law

      - Licensing, notably GPL

      - State of the Art media manipulation

      - Insights into the stock market and hopefully SEC

      - International Law. Notably Australia and Germany

      - Criminal Law like Mail-fraud

      - History of Unix

  • Couple of points (Score:4, Redundant)

    by Zocalo (252965) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:40PM (#7194636) Homepage
    Firstly, this is supposedly taken from SGI's license, and does not cover any ammendments or addendums. At this level of license negotiations both parties lawyers will have a lengthy negotiation to get various terms altered and struck out before either party signs. I doubt very much that IBM's license is going to be the same somehow, and quite possibly (probably) both IBM and SGI's licenses *do* have non-revokable clauses.

    Secondly, if Blake Stowell had actually read his own contract properly he would found this bit: "...in addition to any other remedies that it may have, at any time terminate all the rights granted by it hereunder by not less than two(2) months' written notice to LICENSEE specifying any such breach, unless within the period of such notice all breaches specified therein shall have been remedied.". I particularly find the bits about "other remedies" and "breaches specified" of note. IANAL, but that implies to me that SCO is obliged to to both disclose details of what is in breach (not necessarily publically), which it hasn't done as far as I am aware, then give IBM/SGI two months to correct that breach.

    I suspect SCO's refusal to disclose any information prior to an actual trial is going to bite them in the ass somehow.

  • Ammendment X (Score:4, Informative)

    by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @12:55PM (#7194707)
    Why would anyone in their right mind sign over a license to anyone that was not revocable?

    Namely because there are other ways of enforcing your contracts. I haven't seen all of the SGI contracts, but here is Ammentment X [byu.edu] to the IBM contract and it clearly states IBM has an "irrevocable" and "perpetual" contract. It also says that SCO is not otherwise limited from enjoining or prohibiting IBM in other ways.

  • Having possibly learnt this trick from Microsoft. XSF is, whatever else might be defined in the original contract with AT&T, a work produced by SGI. Now, if I license a product from a company, and distribute my own works with that product, I would be quite angry if I was told those works were "derivative".

    Yet this seems to be what SCO are arguing. The original SYS V license was, it appears, so powerful that its mere presence on a disk would turn all other software into Unix source code!

    It is amusin
  • by L. J. Beauregard (111334) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @01:30PM (#7194853)
    When SCO "revoked"[1] IBM's license, they rattled their sabers at IBM's customers who were already using AIX. It's reasonable to think that they will make the same threats against IRIX users.

    Now suppose that SCO manages to make this stick. How can we ever again have confidence in proprietary licenses, if the customer can have its license revoked through no fault of its own, but through the fault (real or alleged) of its vendors? Or its vendor's vendor? Or its vendor's vendor's vendor's vendor, which turns out to be some small software house in Middle of Nowhere, Idaho, which the customer in question never even heard of?

    The GPL, OTOH, specifically disclaims any right to terminate the rights of sublicensees:

    4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License. However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.

    ---------
    [1] Predicated, of course, on proving that IBM actually breached its license, but SCO would rather gloss over that unimportant detail.

    • Actually, SCO's just trying to scare people. The actual language of the UNIX license is pretty clear (that IBM's customers' licenses are can't be declared null and void). The license says that if the agreement is terminated, then IBM must return or destroy all copies of source code in its possession. It does not provide the power to revoke end customer licenses, unless they were purchased after the license was terminated.
  • Are SCO still distributing Linux?
  • SELECT manager FROM SCO WHERE clue > 0
    0 records returned
  • ...to revoke the SCO license. If the smarties think they can say "Okay, end of playing, that toys were borrowed and now I want them back", show them they were REALLY borrowed. And after that, Novell will grant licenses to IBM and SGI directly and SCO will remain without OS.
  • by rdean400 (322321)
    IBM filed attachments to their countersuit showing that SCO doesn't have carte blanche authority to revoke licenses. The sale agreement of the transfer rights gave Novell a veto card in case SCO wanted to terminate a UNIX source license. According to another attachment to the countersuit, Novell exercised that right with respect to IBM's license.
  • You might as well staple your ball sack together, 'cause if you can't lick 'em, join 'em!
  • You keep using that word... I do not think it means what you think it means.

    q:]

    MadCow.
  • by Skapare (16644) on Sunday October 12, 2003 @04:31PM (#7195789) Homepage

    Licenses really can be revoked under the terms of the license itself. The terms a government issues a drivers license under would include the specific laws involved. They cannot just arbitrarily revoke a drivers' license, but they can under those specific laws. If you commit certain actions the law says you may lose your license for, it can be revoked.

    Likewise, a private license for use of some property can also be revoked under the agreed terms. Generally, if the agreed terms are violated, the license can be revoked. If SGI and/or IBM did release UNIX intellectual property to the public, that would be such a violation. And we do know SCO is claiming that.

    The issue now comes down to whether such a claim is valid. Did SGI take XFS from UNIX and release it publically. That cannot be the case, however, because there is no XFS in UNIX. SGI developed XFS themselves. Arguably, pieces of XFS might have gotten some UNIX code in there, but once pointed out, that can be removed. Did SCO perform due diligence in pointing that out? Not until recently have they started pointing at any specific violations (while still making vague and unsubstantiated claims that lots of other violations exist), and those are weak due to previous releases in other forms.

    And how the hell do we know there isn't any violations in SCO's non-Linux closed-source product ... violations of the GPL with code taken from Linux and put in there?

    • Likewise, a private license for use of some property can also be revoked under the agreed terms. Generally, if the agreed terms are violated, the license can be revoked. If SGI and/or IBM did release UNIX intellectual property to the public, that would be such a violation. And we do know SCO is claiming that.

      Addendum X to the UNIX license with IBM says the license is irrevocable. There are no words in the license or addendum that say "oh, unless you do this, in which case we can revoke it". The licens

    • Licenses really can be revoked under the terms of the license itself. The terms a government issues a drivers license under would include the specific laws involved. They cannot just arbitrarily revoke a drivers' license, but they can under those specific laws. If you commit certain actions the law says you may lose your license for, it can be revoked.

      Please don't use the driver's license analogy that SCO have introduced. A driver's license is totally different (legally) from IBM/SGI's licenses to use U

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