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IP Attorney - Why SCO Has No Case 138

Posted by Zonk
from the we-who-may-be-about-to-die dept.
OSS_ilation writes "In an interview over at SearchOpenSource.com, IP attorney Thomas Carey shoots down SCO's cases against IBM and Novell, but predicts that SCO will fight a losing battle to its last. IT directors shouldn't worry about SCO Group's latest sallies in its legal war on Linux vendors IBM Corp. and Novell Inc., Clarey says, and explains why SCO has no case, predicts the open source legal fields of battle for 2006 and discusses SCO's claims against Novell. Carey chairs the Business Practice Group of Bromberg & Sunstein LLP, an intellectual property law practice in Boston, Mass." Groklaw, as always, has additional details and commentary on this.
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IP Attorney - Why SCO Has No Case

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  • by bubulubugoth (896803) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:19PM (#14439292) Homepage
    The question is: Why is taking so long to the court to dismiss the case?

    • Is "SCO has no case" News for nerds?

      hint for moderators: I'm not bashing the editors - I'm bashing SCO!

    • You sound surprised that the court system is taking its time!
    • by temojen (678985) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:24PM (#14439366) Journal
      To prevent a flood of appeals.
    • Because everyone is entitled to their day in court. Unless the case is totally without merit it has to go to a jury.
      You know that entitled to be judged by a jury of your peers.
      Dismissed nothing. I just want it to go to trial.
      • Unless the case is totally without merit it has to go to a jury.

        'Nuff said.

        • And that's the rub. A good attorney can make a meritless case look like one with merits- agreta attorney can then go on to win. I've seen it, too. It won't happen in this case, but as long as SCO can maintain a veil of reasonable merits, the case will continue.
      • If IBM wanted to get the case dismissed they probably could ... but they want it to go to trial for a couple of reasons. One being to settle the question for good and the other being to financially destroy the SCO Group.
        • by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:50PM (#14439655) Journal
          If IBM wanted to get the case dismissed they probably could ... but they want it to go to trial for a couple of reasons.

          I don't think so.

          IBM submitted a number of motions for partial summary judgement and the judge either denied them or refused to consider them until after completion of discovery.

          If IBM could not get a partial judgement, it's rather unlikely that IBM could make the entire case go away, short of paying off SCO.

          • Submitting motions for summary judgment is practically SOP in any trial. I'd be surprised if SCO's lawyers didn't also try to file for summary judgement against IBM. It's all part of making your case look 'overwhelming.' Or at least making it look to your client like you're making their case look overwhelming. Either way works.

            You see it all the time in regular civil and criminal law. The defense's counsel will ask the judge for the case to be thrown out summarily, the judge will say no, the lawyer will go
          • The judge's dismissal of IBM's motions for partial summary judgment were based on discovery not having completed yet. He made comments at the time that indicated he would be quite willing to revisit them once discovery had closed.

            That was on Dec 22. Expect them to resurface.

      • by RevMike (632002) <revMike.gmail@com> on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:49PM (#14439639) Journal
        Unless the case is totally without merit it has to go to a jury. You know that entitled to be judged by a jury of your peers.

        It has nothing to do with merit, but it has to do with what kind of outstanding questions are involved with the case.

        The American civil law system divides the questions that come up during a litigation into two categories: fact and law. Judges are responsible for deciding questions of law. Juries are responsible for deciding questions of fact.

        If the facts of the case are not in dispute, and the case solely hinges on the interpretation of law, the judge will rule on the case directly. On the other hand, if the facts of the case are in dispute, the judge will instruct the jury to decide the facts and the judge will apply the law to the jury's finding of facts.

        The fact that the case hasn't been dismissed is because the judge is not satisfied that there are no relevent facts in dispute.

        • It has nothing to do with merit, but it has to do with what kind of outstanding questions are involved with the case.

          The American civil law system divides the questions that come up during a litigation into two categories: fact and law. Judges are responsible for deciding questions of law. Juries are responsible for deciding questions of fact.

          Judges can also decide that no reasonable jury could come to a particular decision on a fact, and hence judges can decide cases on the basis of fact without it goin

        • I know that in criminal cases the jury is empowered by the constitution to judge the merit of facts AND the merits of the relevant laws in their decisions. The supreme court has ruled on this matter as well, determining that judges have no obligation to inform juries of this right but also that juries have it. Judges use this to justify instructing juries that they must rule according to the letter of the law.

          This may be different for civil cases.
        • You're right that the judge decides questions of law and juries decides questions of fact, however if a judge finds that "no reasonable jury" could find other than to a certain conclusion that judge may enter a summary (or directed if at the time of trial) verdict for one party or another. Additionally, there may be several questions of fact before the court and the judge may issue partial summary judgements on one or more of those issues. Apparently the judge here isn't at that point.
    • by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:32PM (#14439465)
      Why is taking so long to the court to dismiss the case?

      This question reveals a common misunderstanding about the function of the US legal system, especially in civil matters.

      The legal system is primarily designed to make money for the legal profession. Once litigation is concluded, the lawyers stop receiving money. Read Bleak House by Charles Dickens and realise that, while certain details have changed, the general situation remains the same.

      Unfortunately, I am serious. Many members of Congress are lawyers and they ensure laws are framed to maximise the profession's profits. Logical reforms never see the light of day.

      • The legal system is primarily designed to make money for the legal profession. Once litigation is concluded, the lawyers stop receiving money. Read Bleak House by Charles Dickens and realise that, while certain details have changed, the general situation remains the same.<br><br>
        Unfortunately, I am serious. Many members of Congress are lawyers and they ensure laws are framed to maximise the profession's profits. Logical reforms never see the light of day.

        [opensecrets.org] http://www.opensecrets.org/industri [opensecrets.org]

        • I *Like* rush. But you're right. and it's worse. It seems that the best way to get the democrat agenda passed is to elect republicans. wha hwa now?
      • Once litigation is concluded, the lawyers stop receiving money.

        And yet, much like taxi drivers, the quicker a lawyer finishes with one client, the sooner they can move on to the next, so they can receive more money.

        Unfortunately, I am serious.

        Yes, it is unfortunate that you can't see any motive for lawyers to become lawmakers other than the opportunity to line their own pockets.
        • And yet, much like taxi drivers, the quicker a lawyer finishes with one client, the sooner they can move on to the next, so they can receive more money.

          You've just described "contingency". Now address "billable hours"...

          Yes, it is unfortunate that you can't see any motive for lawyers to become lawmakers other than the opportunity to line their own pockets.

          He is, perhaps, a bit pessimistic. Lawyers becoming law makers and passing laws that end up being lawyer-centric in application and administration mi

    • by rkhalloran (136467) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:36PM (#14439510) Homepage
      The judge has already commented on SCOX's astonishing lack of evidence; he's giving them lots of rope to hang themselves on, so when he hands them their collective ass, they don't have any grounds to come back and claim they didn't get a fair chance to make their [non-existant] case. And the positive PR accruing to Big Blue for defending Linux far outweighs the cost of the legal team, especially when sites like Groklaw [groklaw.net] are doing half the analysis work for them gratis.

      • Whilst I don't disagree with you, I wonder if this is still the case:

        the positive PR accruing to Big Blue for defending Linux far outweighs the cost of the legal team

        It seems like initially the case was being faught in public with many public statements from SCO.

        Nowadays except for rare pieces like this, and the constant coverage on groklaw the case has fallen beneath the public radar.

        It is rare to see new coverage of the case - and recently I remember talking to a friend in the pub and they said some

      • Don't give too much rope, they might fall on the ground and just break their legs.
    • A better question, isn't it possible to for the courts to ban SCO from sueing other companies under the same premise? Obviously it would be wrong to prevent them from sueing other people as a whole (and against their civil liberties) but at this point, aren't they just plain harassing people? Wasting other companies' as well as the taxpayer dollars?
      • You can't have your right to sue taken away, nor can you sign it away. In the USA you can sue anyone for anything; whether the case has merit isn't relevant until you're in front of a judge. You can have your suit dismissed and be enjoined from filing the same suit, but it doesn't affect new proceedings against different parties. (IANAL.)
        • At some point, I would imagine, such lawsuits might be considered so frivolous that the lawyers themselves might be at risk of disciplinary action.
        • "In the USA you can sue anyone for anything;" ... Including legal fees and harasment over them filing frivulos lawsuites against you.

          In this instance I prefer British common law as practiced in most former colonies.

          1. If you sue and luse you can be called on to pay the other guys legal fees.

          2. Judges are more conversant with the concept of "equity". I.e. Once they get it streight that you are trying to use the legal system to screw over someone who is at worst at fault to the same level you are the case is
        • I'm not sure if it's a federal law or one that most or all states have implemented, but people who file blatantly frivolous or meritless can usually be nailed in return. One guy who tried to sue Hustler because a picture "disappointed" him was fined $150,000.
    • The question is: Why is taking so long to the court to dismiss the case?

      Because noone wants it to. SCO wants to drag on as long as possible, and as long as they can claim any possible wrongdoing, they get to do this.

      IBM, and the Open Source community, would like a clean court victory on the issue of Linux copyrights. They have no hurry to have it thrown out of court either.

      My prediction, though, is that the case will collapse just before a final judgement can be entered. Either SCO quits, or they're per

    • IAAL and I can say courts are careful to do everything right to prevent reversible error. When a court closes a case it wants it to lie dead, not resurrect with nine more lives like a cat. Besides, don't you remember the college bromide: If it's green and slimy, it's biology. If it smells bad, it's chemistry. If it doesn't work, it's physics. And if it takes forever, it's law. Reference to Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in Bleak House where the litigation went on so long, the estate wasn't worth fighting over
    • Indeed. Considering that SCO would be out of business now if it wasn't for this ridiculous case, I consider this legal move shockingly creative from a financial standpoint. Also, I would say it is crudely unethical and is clearly riding the wave of corporate corruption to its eventual conslusion perhaps 10 years from now.
  • by tekiegreg (674773) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:21PM (#14439321) Homepage Journal
    "Nothing to see here people, please move along" While the lawyer in the article states the same point made over and over by so many experts in the field outside of SCO, to the point where it would get a redundant mod on Slashdot, the article does good job of bringing many key points home for non-lawyer types to understand. If you understand the full breadth of the SCO case you probably won't find much entertainment here however.

    But all the same, SCO quit it, you're embarassing yourselves. Soon it will be beyond the hope of recovery...
    • The ironic thing is that the full text of the article just DID receive a -1 redundant mod.
      • *giggle giggle* it's just too easy to say, so I'm not gonna say it....aaaw hell, the only thing more ironic is YOUR post getting -1 Redundant.....BWAAHAHAHA!!! Who says mods don't have a sense of humor.

        *ducks waiting for the moderator*
    • by jd (1658) <.imipak. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @05:07PM (#14439816) Homepage Journal
      Welcome to this meeting of IPaholics Anonymous, where people share their experience, strength and hope in their battle against their addiction to Intellectual Property lawsuits. Here are the twelve steps, adapted from other recovery programs.


      1. We admitted we were powerless against Open Source initiatives, that our contempt for common folk and peasents had become unmanageable.
      2. We came to believe that a sharing methodology greater than ourselves could restors us to sanity.
      3. Made a decision to turn our will, lives and FTP address to Freshmeat, as we understand Freshmeat.
      4. Made a searching and moral inventory of what sourcecode we actually have and own.
      5. Admitted to ourselves, Slashdot and Richard Stallman the exact nature of our licensing errors.
      6. Were entirely ready to let the OSI and the FSF remove these defects of proprietaryness.
      7. Humbly asked /dev/null to remove our closed licensing agreements.
      8. Made a list of all people we'd totally ripped off and became willing to send upgrades to them all.
      9. Directly sent their IT departments the necessary patches, except when to do so would break something else.
      10. Continued to grep license files and when they were closed, promply GPL them.
      11. Sought through LinuxFest and Slashdot to improve our concious contact with the F/LOSS meme as we understood F/LOSS, asking only for Linus Torvald's will and the processing power to carry that out.
      12. Having had a sourcecode awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive proprietary coders and to practice good coding in all our affairs.

    • But all the same, SCO quit it, you're embarassing yourselves. Soon it will be beyond the hope of recovery...

      Too late!
    • This is pretty simple - you don't need to be a lawyer to understand what's going on at SCO. See this article [yahoo.com]. SCO just raised a new round of PIPE financing. The private institutional investors (hedge funds, PIPE funds, banks, private equity firms, or whichever idiots bought into this dog of a deal) bought in with the understanding that SCO was going to file a renewed salvo of legal filings and lawsuits. If they didn't do that, they wouldn't have been able to raise the 10 million bucks.

      SCO's quarterly ca [yahoo.com]
      • I can't help thinking: What about the people working for SCO? (Assuming of course there are people working for SCO, and with people I mean other than lawyers/crooks/demons)

        Somewhere in this company, someone must be doing real work. Someone who will get royally screwed when this ordeal is over.

        Or did I misunderstand everything about this company?


    • Carey's ocean-liner/seagull analogy is nice, but what really caught my eye was this bit in the Groklaw article about the test for "copyright misuse":

      Lasercomb America, Inc. v. Reynolds

      The Fourth Circuit was the first to explicitly recognize a copyright misuse defense, Lasercomb America Inc. v. Reynolds, 911 F.2d 970 (4th Cir. 1990), though the Supreme Court previously acknowledged the possible existence of the defense. See Morton Salt Co. v. G. S. Suppiger, 314 U.S. 488, 494 (1942). Lasercomb brought an act

      • I consider myself fairly well read (as a layman) about IP law, and I was totally unaware that this ruling existed. It's fairly interesting stuff.

        Here's the full text if anyone is interested (normally I pull stuff from the Cornell Law site but it doesn't seem to have it):
        http://www.bowie-jensen.com/computerlaw/lasercomb. html [bowie-jensen.com]

        • Thanks for the vote of confidence. It occurred to me that I might have been over-optimistic in assuming that the "public policy" referred to the Progress Clause, though. (I'm worried that maybe it makes too much sense to be true.) Could it be referring simply to the intent of the copyright law itself? The scenario described in Lasercomb sounds to me like "misuse" even by that standard, with no need to appeal to the Constitution.

          A worse thought: could the Lasercomb argument be applied against, say, the GPL (
  • by Benanov (583592) <{gro.fsf.rebmem} {ta} {pmek.nairb}> on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:23PM (#14439345) Journal
    SCO went after, with lawsuits, Linux customers before. Do you foresee this happening again?
    Carey: This might happen again. Hitler fought World War II until the Allies had nearly overrun his bunker. As long as investors are willing to provide the cash, SCO will sue because that is their business model. They will likely go after smaller companies as a means of controlling the cost of litigation.

    Godwin!

    • "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." Godwins' Law, as stated by Mike Godwin.

      You're wrong....there was no discussion to grow longer and you cannot invoke the law to any effect at this time.
    • I was sad to see Carey's reply to this question, not because of Godwin's law, but because SCO's lawsuits were primarily targeting its own customers for contract violations that were only tangentially related to Linux (i.e. the claimed violations could have been related to any OS).

      This all started with SCO telling the media that Linux violated their source copyrights, and that they were going to bring copyright lawsuits against companies running Linux Very Soon (unless the companies paid the appropriate ex

  • Sooooooo... (Score:5, Funny)

    by bobdotorg (598873) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:28PM (#14439414)
    How do I get my $699 back?
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:36PM (#14439503)
    IT directors shouldn't worry about SCO Group's latest sallies in its legal war on Linux vendors IBM Corp. and Novell Inc., Clarey says...

    SCO is fighting this losing battle for what? Press coverage?
    • by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:48PM (#14439630)
      SCO is fighting this losing battle for what?

      You must distinguish (1) why they started the war, from (2) why they are still fighting in spite of the fact that they are clearly losing.

      They started the war, with their business otherwise failing, as a gamble. They hoped for a quick settlement or a buyout from IBM to avoid the expense of litigation and potential damage to the Linux business. In that, they miscalculated, but may have felt they had little to lose anyway. The major miscalculation will be if individuals end up going to jail for perpetrating this clear scam. We shall need to wait about 10 years to know the answer to that question.

      Why do they continue to fight now, when it is clear they are going to lose? Quite simply, to delay the total dismemberment of their business. The counterclaims in the IBM case, the claims for damages in the Red Hat case, and handing over the bulk of the revenues from the SCO Source scam to Novell are going to bankrupt SCO many times over. Meanwhile, management continues to make money from their salaries and probably other opportunities.

    • When reading about SCO, CEO that just doesnt give up... I remeber this quotes from Gladiator:

      Quintus: People should know when they're conquered.

      Maximus: Would you, Quintus? Would I?
    • I see them like a Kamikaze pilot. They were doomed anyway, so their last act of desperation is to take out their competition.

      They seem to blame their business problems on Linux. In no way can their junk operating system be to blame for their decline in revinue. Anyone use a SCO box? I am forced to deal with them on occasion. The older versions even made you pay extra IF YOU WANTED A TCP STACK!

      The only saving grace of their UNIX OpenServer was the Skunkware disc that prepackaged - what? - GNU and other open
    • If SCO executives give up now, then their company goes bankrupt and their stock options are worthless. On the other hand, if SCO executives keep fighting until the bitter end, then their company goes bankrupt and their stock options are worthless BUT they draw a couple more year's worth of their overpaid salaries. Given that most of them will never work in the industry again, I can see why they are choosing the "draw a couple more years of overpaid salary" option. Also, admitting at this point that they wer
  • As slashdot make sure there is really no life left in this once-sick horse.
  • by IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:43PM (#14439586) Journal
    Time to start finding out the real reasons for this happening. The investors that have been pumping money into SCO knowing full well there is no merit to the case. This deserves an investigation. I can't think of any investors, even the most dim-witted that would put money into propping up this boondoggle unless there is another motive involved. The old adage of follow the money comes to mind.
    • ...for successfully using "boondoggle" in a tech based forum. You scallawag! ;^)

    • The investors that have been pumping money into SCO... This deserves an investigation.

      As much as I hope that Darl ends up by eating the gun he's been carrying, there so far is no law against making stupid and/or evil investment decisions. (The prison system is overloaded as it is.)

      Certainly, the stockholders of the companies doing this investing, will require some 'splaining to do, Lucy. Best I can see is some sort of charge of conspiracy to commit willful abuse and manipulation of the court system by

    • I can't think of any [folks], even the most dim-witted that would put money into...

      The same could be said for any form of gambling. Why must there be any deeper motive than greed? Occam's Razor.
    • This deserves an investigation.

      Not really. Of all the chicanery that requires law enforcement resources to investigate, this one ranks pretty low. There are any number of reasons someone may have legitimately invested, including run-of-the-mill nincompoopery.
    • ... ostensibly to licence Unix-ish stuff (XENIX?). They might not have needed to pay, but wanted to anyways. Unfortunately, I don't believe there's any legal remedy for malicious prosecution. I'm not sure it's against the Sherman Anti-Trush laws which cover many other dubious activities.

    • I can't think of any investors, even the most dim-witted that would put money into propping up this boondoggle unless there is another motive involved. The old adage of follow the money comes to mind.

      IBM has issued numerous subpeaonas to entities who have no real relation to the dispute at hand, but who were involved in funding and supporting SCO's actions. The IBM attorneys are clearly, if quietly, following the money. It remains to be seen what they're going to do with the information they collect, b

  • Lawyer Joke (Score:5, Funny)

    by ch-chuck (9622) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @04:43PM (#14439591) Homepage
    Darl could call up HandelontheLaw.com - if you've ever heard his radio show the main point is for Bill Handel to tell you you have no case. He Loves That. Anyway, here's a joke from Bill Handel's web site:

    In a recent FDA study, the United States government research physicians who were conducting studies on test drugs, administered weekly doses of Viagra to an equal number of doctors and lawyers.

    While the majority of the doctors achieved enhanced sexual prowess, the lawyers simply grew taller.

    • the main point is for Bill Handel to tell you you have no case

      Without having actually listened to him at all, I'd suppose if he's too quick to say that, you could probably troll him pretty hard by digging up some obscure historical case and reciting it to him as though it were your own. After he says you have no case, you inform him that what you just described was taken straight from a real case which someone won.

      • the main point is for Bill Handel to tell you you have no case

        Without having actually listened to him at all, I'd suppose if he's too quick to say that, you could probably troll him pretty hard by digging up some obscure historical case and reciting it to him as though it were your own. After he says you have no case, you inform him that what you just described was taken straight from a real case which someone won.

        You could, but to what end? He never makes any claim that his word is worth listening to.

  • But of course (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Thomas Carey shoots down SCO's cases against IBM and Novell, but predicts that SCO will fight a losing battle to its last.

    Everyone knows their case is groundless. It was a poorly disguised attempt by Microsoft to discredit Linux. And as long as Microsoft is willing to funnel money into their coffers SCO will continue in this groundless legal action. This is not about law or legal proceedings, this is about one large corporation's attempts to use the legal system to kill a competitor.

    Kinda puts the lie to th
    • Re:But of course (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Cases generally aren't simply dismissed. Unless someone files a 12(b) motion (likely 12(b)(6): failure to state a claim), you're going to have the entire mess of discovery here. As long as there is some vague basis for a lawsuit, it's going to have to wait until there is an effective summary judgment motion.
  • Anti-gravity (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rumblin'rabbit (711865) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @05:03PM (#14439770) Journal
    SCOX, the SCO Group stock, has been hanging around $4 for quite some time now. Their (legitimate) Unix business is optimistically worth $.50 per share, and pessimistically worth nothing. Thus the stockmarket puts a value on their IP claims of over $3.50/share, or around $60 million dollars.

    Now I've invested in stocks for two decades, and I say no vaguely rational investor would touch this stock. It is speculative beyond belief.

    So what keeps this stock up? And why has the stock price been so steady over the last few months? Such a wild speculation should fluctuate madly.

    Queue the conspiracy theories.

    • if you're willing to take the risk, of course.
      • The trouble with shorts is that they have a time limit. You have to be right at the right time.

        As Keynes said, the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay liquid. Trying to predict the actions of lunatics is not my type of game.

    • Re:Anti-gravity (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Its painfully obvious who the only party is to benefit from and who also has plenty of cash to help finance this mess.

      I used to work in the server hosting business and I remember all the fuss when EV1 bought a linux site license from SCO for somewhere around $1m. I heard there were some people from Microsoft visiting them a little while before this happened. Supposedly, the folks from Microsoft were helping EV1 develop an automated provisioning system. But the rumors I heard was that Microsoft fronted the

    • That question was asked and answered [slashdot.org] before. You might take a look at that thread, since it looks like all the answers still apply.
  • Refunds? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RickPartin (892479) * on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @05:06PM (#14439797) Homepage
    What about the people who were tricked into or were forced by an employer into buying a license? Has SCO said whether they will refund the money?
    • Re:Refunds? (Score:2, Funny)

      by Hasai (131313)
      Oh, now that's just too funny.

      ....

      You are kidding, right?

      ....

      O.K.; look at it this way: SCO eventually loses it's case, and the court tosses the firm to the lions, aka Novell, Red Hat, and IBM, who promptly reduce SCO to a smoking hole in the ground.

      Said licensees come shuffling up to previously described smoking hole and whine "I want my money back."

      Think they'll get a response?

      }XD
    • If SCO's lawyers were halfway intelligent (a few are) they had the license read that the buyer paid to resolve an uncertainty about the requirement of a license and to assure freedom from suit while the issues were litigated. This means each licensee got what he paid for. No refunds.
    • When SCO lose, they will have no money left.
  • Quit flogging this dead horse, software patents are much more important.
  • SLSHDOT.ORG (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Has anybody else noticed when you type in "slshdot.org" vise "slashdot.org" the first link is to scosupport.com?
  • by Jaywalk (94910) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @05:25PM (#14439983) Homepage
    Has SCO actually shown that its UnixWare System V code exists in SuSE Linux or another distribution?

    Carey: SCO has not shown that its code exists in Linux. SCO now seems to be grounding its case on 'unauthorized disclosures', which is a very different kettle of fish than copied code.

    This seemed to me to be the only really interesting bit in the piece. IBM has asked (and is expected to ask again) for the judge to enter a "summary judgement" that Big Blue's Linux activities do not infringe SCO's copyrights. If that happens, any copyright issues will be dropped from any jury trial. By avoiding the copyright issue, SCO appears to be looking for a way to still get to trial in spite of a summary judgement. But this also disrupts their claims against Linux.

    While SCO likes the vague term "intellectual property" the law only recognizes three items in that class: copyrights, patents and trade secrets. SCO has never claimed patents or trade secrets, so that leaves copyright. If SCO can't establish copyright, they have no hold over anyone except those with whom they have a contract.

    While the court cases with Novell and IBM may drag on for years, this -- as far as Linux is concerned -- is another step into irrelevancy for SCO.

    • The SCOundrels' case with Novell turns on whether SCOX (The SCO Group nee Caldera, vs. Santa Cruz Operation) ever even received copyrights. Novell's deal with Santa Cruz does not appear to have transferred the copyrights, so when Caldera bought the business from them, they certainly couldn't have got them.

      Conveniently enough, the same judge is hearing both cases, so ruling on one (Novell has the copyrights, SCOX doesn't) will kill the other (SCOX can't claim copyright infringement, they don't own any).

      IBM'
  • Attorney Thomas Carey states in the article:

    "The key to the case is that IBM specifically negotiated with SCO a clause that permitted it to use the same programmers who saw the Unix code to make competing products. This was documented as part of a transaction in which SCO was paid lots of money. SCO conveniently left that clause out of its explanation of the facts. But in the long run, it will not be able to hide from that concession. The result is, absent literal copying of meaningful amounts of Unix

    • "Copying may have occurred here"

      Where have you been?

      http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?id=05/02/10/125 4208&tid=123&tid=155&tid=106 [slashdot.org]

      Which part of "it is astonishing that SCO has not offered any competent evidence to create a disputed fact regarding whether IBM has infringed SCO's alleged copyrights through IBM's Linux activities" doesn't make sense?

      There is no infringement of SCO copyright code in linux. SCO couldn't produce any to save their butts.
    • Given the way the judge dismissed SCOX's original slander of title case v. Novell, saying the contract they inherited from Santa Cruz Operation didn't appear to be a conveyance of copyright, SCOX may have built their case on a very soft sandpile, which has been held up to date only by their frequent, loud "they do SO own them" PR.

      Add to this the USL v. BSDI case, which USL settled very quickly when the judge appeared ready to declare that the UNIX codebase had not been properly protected, and could be consi
  • At one time McBride was proud of the fact of all the articles generated about SCO and linked that to SCO's relevancy. Here on slashdot at first every SCO story would generate greater than 1000 replies. Today SCO does not even generate a 100. Good to see. McBride must be suffering from a lack of attention so we can probably expect some bazaar antic.
  • by Flying pig (925874) on Tuesday January 10, 2006 @06:15PM (#14440601)
    I got phoned up at work once by an acquaintance who was a commercial lawyer in a large corporation.

    "I've been told we're going to sue NEC. Who are NEC?"
    Me: "A large Japanese computer manufacturer. Why?"
    "Apparently our new system doesn't work."
    Me: "That sounds like software. NEC make hardware. Doesn't the hardware work?"
    "Apparently the software supplier went bust, so we're suing NEC"
    Me: "That doesn't make sense."
    "The thing is, have they got a lot of money?"
    Me: "I imagine they have huge amounts of money."
    "Oh good, that'll keep us busy for a while then."

    The reaction of lawyers everywhere.

  • SCO was my first Unix and will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason. It's just a little sad to me that they have been beaten down so low and mostly of their own doing.

    In the early 90's they were fairly strong in the *nix world. Back then, SCO Unix and Informix were a team to be taken seriously until their management killed both.

    Just sad, just sad.
    • Take heart. The company you're thinking of with such nostalgia is the Santa Cruz Operation, and their only involvement in this whole mess is that they sold their UNIX division (and the trademark "SCO UNIX") to a Linux vendor named Caldera a few years back. The Santa Cruz Operation then renamed itself to "Tarantella", and ended up being bought by Sun. Caldera, on the other hand, decided to rename themselves as "The SCO Group" and started suing everyone in sight when they couldn't come up with any other wa
  • I've been wondering about something for a while. Perhaps someone here has some insight.

    If Novell is found to have the legitimate copyrights to UNIX in the SCO vs. Novell case, does this mean that Novell can sue SCO for breach of contract, and take back their UNIX business as well?

A sheet of paper is an ink-lined plane. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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