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Caldera Software Linux

SCO Invokes DMCA, Names Headers, Novell Steps In 770

Sparky writes "We've already heard that SCO have invoked the DMCA via 'letters sent to select Fortune 1000 Linux end users.' The specifics come via a copy of the letter reprinted at - they've decided that they own the copyright to about 65 header files contained in Linux - largely errno.h, signal.h and ioctl.h." balloonpup also notes "CNet News has reported that SCO has reported a fourth quarter loss of $1.6 million, owing mostly to hefty legal fees in its war against Linux. SCO said they would have reported $7.4 million in earnings, if not for the $9 million payout to their lawyers. Way to go, SCO!" Many readers also point out a Groklaw article indicating Novell has registered for the copyrights on multiple versions of Unix with the U.S. Copyright Office, so that "both the SCO Group and Novell have registered for UNIX System V copyrights for the same code."
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SCO Invokes DMCA, Names Headers, Novell Steps In

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  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:32PM (#7787730)
    As with most lawsuits, especially ones that drag out like this, the only people that really win are the lawyers.
  • 9 million? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by westcourt_monk ( 516239 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:36PM (#7787773) Homepage Journal
    I love it... 9 million to lawyers, -1.6 to report to it's investors and they are no where. If they win I imagine they stand to make 10x whatever they pay for lawyers but how much do they have to put out before it is not longer worth the risk?

    The investors must be getting worried.

  • Re:clue me in.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Maul ( 83993 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:36PM (#7787781) Journal
    This letter is designed for PHB's who will look at it and then look at Linux and say "Crap! errno.h IS in Linux," not people who look at it and think of defined standards and realize that SCO is stooping to the lowest levels in order to keep their schemes going.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:37PM (#7787787)
    Using the DMCA is nothing more than an attempt to distract the shareholders from the almost 2 million dollars that SCO just lost.
  • by turbod ( 114654 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:38PM (#7787794)
    The gun industry is trying to get that point across as well. I honestly hope they succeed. Almost every device on the planet can be used in a nefarious manner, but it seems some opportunistic folks in the world think they should get paid by the device's creators when someone actually does something with the device that it was not intended to do.

    I would disagree with you on your subject title though... not all YMCAs are plagued with moral improprieties.

  • Re:SCO v. Novell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pizzaman100 ( 588500 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:39PM (#7787805) Journal
    Jeez, how many more companies and people are SCO trying to piss off... I wonder wtf is driving them to cause all this trouble

    SCO knows that without the lawsuits they have a losing business model. If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em, and hope that 1)One of the charges stick, or 2)Somebody buys you out.

    This isn't the first time that someone [] has tried this.

  • by BerntB ( 584621 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:41PM (#7787829)
    SCO's only argument is that free distribution of errno.h (etc) is allowed -- but not with a GNU copyright header?!

    It should then be enough to copy the BSD comments in the beginning and replace the copyright on errno.h, signal.h, etc.


    (As another user noted, errno.h et al are also parts of ANSI standards for C...)

    Otherwise -- thanks, SCO -- finally I might get a kick on my backside to take the trouble to install and try OpenBSD! :-)

  • by PunXX0r ( 694958 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:41PM (#7787834)

    I doubt that I will feel that "only the Lawyers won" when SCO is a distant, unpleasant memory thanks to the IBM countersuit. In fact, I think that there will be enough win to go around for every person interested-in, contributing-to, or using FOSS.

    I agree that it is much easier to over-simplify this, but let's be honest... even if it takes lawyers to crush SCO, it will be a win for everyone when they are gone.

  • Re:AIX (ot) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:47PM (#7787878) Homepage
    Same here, but I would contend that AIX really shines in huge enterprise settings, which most people have never come in contact with and do not really see the benefits of it.

  • by kcornia ( 152859 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:48PM (#7787888) Journal
    My wife and I were just trying to figure out how much it must have cost to create and send the check we just got for .28 from ATT.

    We didn't even get to the cost for the bank to process it, we had to come to work.

    I know I know, offtopic. I just found it hilarious that I got a check for 28 friggin' cents!
  • Re:clue me in.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PineGreen ( 446635 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:48PM (#7787892) Homepage
    Well, probably, the problem is, however, that all the comments are exactly the same, so it is unlikely two people would come with exactly same description... i.e. the errno.h has things like:

    #define EPERM 1 /* Operation not permitted */
    #define ENOENT 2 /* No such file or directory */
    #define ESRCH 3 /* No such process */
    #define EINTR 4 /* Interrupted system call */
    #define EIO 5 /* I/O error */
    #define ENXIO 6 /* No such device or address */
    #define E2BIG 7 /* Arg list too long */

    etc. So if you say "arg list too long", instead of say, "too many arguments" in all comments, it is very likely that the actual .h was stolen... Not that I want to support SCO...
  • by Zelatrix ( 18990 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:49PM (#7787901)
    Claiming copyright on this list of files is so nonsensical, it must be a distraction tactic.

    After all, SCO have already stated that 2.2 does not infringe.

    So what are we supposed to not be looking at at the moment? Oh look, the quarterly financial statement just got published. And even booking revunue on shipment rather than payment (along with other dodgy accounting practices) couldn't stop a net loss.

    Something crooked is going on here. This letter is an irrelevance.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:50PM (#7787915)
    The solution is easy.

    Get rid of the law.
    Replace it with nothing.

    Circumventing copyright protection should not be illegal. US copyright law grants the enduser the right to make a backup copy of any copyrighted material he owns. Also anyone is free to make copies of uncopyrighted material. The DMCA clearly violates established consumers rights.

    What it amounts to is a law saying that it is illegal to pick locks. Well then what do you do if you are locked out of your house or car?

    The DMCA does nothing to stop copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is illegal to begin with. Making it 'more' illegal isn't going to stop anyone who was going to commite the crime in the first place.

    Say a thief is going to break into your home to steal your tv. Making it illegal to pick locks isnt really going to deter him. All it will lead to is poorly designed locks.

    In short there is no reason to make a law to protect something that is already protected by law.
  • A few .h files? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by panZ ( 67763 ) <> on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:51PM (#7787923)
    Gee, my company's error.h and types.h are similar. Oh wait, every god-damn company I've ever worked for has similar .h files because this is basic, common interface shit.
    Its like saying "we patented the play, pause, record and rewind buttons on our model of VCR, the rest of you fuckers with tape, CD and DVD players on the market better pay us for this inovative interface!"
    I don't know whether to laugh or cry over this.
  • Re:clue me in.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xactoguy ( 555443 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:51PM (#7787924)
    So if you say "arg list too long", instead of say, "too many arguments" in all comments, it is very likely that the actual .h was stolen... Not that I want to support SCO... The only problem being that there are only so many ways in which to express something like that, so it's still not a complete proof. I do agree that is probably where the argument hinges, though.
  • Re:clue me in.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jenkin sear ( 28765 ) * on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:54PM (#7787954) Homepage Journal
    Or, they have a common ancestor, under a legitimate license, that both were derived from.

  • False economy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by base_chakra ( 230686 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:55PM (#7787955)
    SCO said they would have reported $7.4 million in earnings, if not for the $9 million payout to their lawyers.

    Of course, if they hadn't paid a team of lawyers $9 million, then they wouldn't have had any net earnings to report (again).
  • by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:02PM (#7788005) Homepage
    By sending out these clearly fraudulent DMCA notices-- which at best claim copyright over something which is uncopyrightable, and at worst is an attempt by a third party to claim that it is illegal for people to use the materials owned by the BSD raegents under the BSD license in the manner in which the BSD raegents intended the BSD license to be used-- has SCO opened itself up to legal action?

    SCO has in the past managed to sidestep most allegations of fraud by being horrendously vague. They said that they were owned money but never sent any invoices, sidestepping mail fraud. They tried to present things as if you needed an SCO license to use linux, but if you tried to talk to talk to them, they were actually selling UnixWare licenses and not in the process actually distributing linux to you, sidestepping GPL violations. However, this is entirely non-vague. It seems to me that SCO has stepped over some sort of line here and this is actionable.

    I know that the DMCA does not seem to have many consequences for people who send out bad takedown notices, but surely there must be something preventing company A from finding lists of competitor B's customers and sending them takedown notices for using some portion of competitor B's product that company A does not, in fact, own.

    At the least, can this be added to the lanham act/ restraint of trade/ libel or whatever countersuits that Redhat and IBM have going? What are the options from here, and what will actually happen?
  • by Scarblac ( 122480 ) <> on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:04PM (#7788028) Homepage

    Here's the frustrating thing. I've talked to so many self-proclaimed "Democrats" who have plenty of good ideas, but don't seem to cohesively and logically put all of it together. They'll make statements I completely agree with, but then turn around and claim that members of their beloved party are all for those statements - when they're clearly (and publically) opposed to them!

    I'm looking from the outside, but it sure seems to me that Republicans are exactly the same.

  • Re:SCO v. Novell (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cyberconte ( 156446 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:06PM (#7788042)
    Great. Now if Novell gets any patents *they* will be able to sue and try to claim ownership of linux.

    Just what we need...
  • by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:11PM (#7788078)
    The writer above has lots of good ideas for reforming the American DMCA law, but it goes against the current American political climate for any positive changes to take place.

    The trend of the Americans to start using their vast police and military internal forces to enforce the whims of corporate copyright laws will multiply the effect of the parallel trend of outsourcing their technological corporate infrastructure to the third world. They are inducing a massive shift of their technological industry to the third world, without any thought given to the long-term consequences of such a strategy.
    By the time that they realize how much these two trends are reinforcing each, their positive-feedback loop of technological suicide will be too far advanced to retard or reverse.

    In another generation or two, America will be the new Argentina. Or even worse off considering that they created so much global hatred toward themselves in their schitzo period (1980-2010; when their mounting arrogance and delusional-self congratuation inversely paralleled their financial global decline) that the rest of the world will have no interest in revitalizing them.

    In 2004 the smart young Americans are beginning to question the alternatives to being so closely tied to this declining empire, even if they rarely publicly acknowledge their doubts. Which is probably just as well, given the jingoistic politcal climate there.

    An excellent overview of this trend is found in the book "The Sovereign Individual" by James Dale Davidson and Lord Rees-Mogg. They missed the revolution that technology is creating in corporate copyright, but they foresaw everything else.
  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:12PM (#7788097) Journal
    "The DMCA was created in the spirit that new forms of electronic media were not safe from potential copyright violations, and the act did what it set out to do."

    Except that existing copyright law already made copyright violations illegal whether on a fancy new media or not. The DMCA was never needed to begin with. Being on digital media doesn't invalidate copyright on material under the laws that have been around since 1976.

    "Pointing fingers makes us feel good, but unless we propose alternatives and compromises, are we really doing anything but venting? Does anyone else have potential solutions/thoughts on how to resolve this issue?"

    What compromise? This law never had a purpose to begin with except to enact additional restrictions on certain types of copyrighted media. Why on earth do people feel that every few years the same issues of corporate interest need to be raised again and that the people should "compromise" a little further. We compromised when we created copyright, we compromised again in 1976, they compromised DESPITE US in 2000. Exactly how far do you feel we should compromise before we draw the line and say we won't give another inch, in fact we are taking back a few we shouldn't have ever given in the first place?

    If you start with harsh restrictions on a subject, then compromise, the end result is more harsh than what you had to start with EVERY time. Now you do it on the same subject every few years over and over again and you have a pattern that results in giving more and more ground until you look back and realize that there isn't anymore ground to give and their just making up new bullshit ways to screw you now.
  • by Crispy Critters ( 226798 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:18PM (#7788142)
    "The Linux code I just looked at is lacking the copyright notice like the above."

    Accept hypothetically that some Linux coder got a little too happy with his cut and paste from BSD code and left out some copyrights. Then all that needs to be done is add the copyright notices back in.

    Now the important question: How has SCO been monetarily damaged by the lack of BSD copyright notices in a few header files? About 37 cents? 'Cause all they can do is ask for damages and that the copyright notices be fixed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:23PM (#7788187)
    int const x(int const y)
    return y;

    #define return return x

    int main( int const argc, char const * const argv[] )
    return (0);

  • by CashCarSTAR ( 548853 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:23PM (#7788190)
    The problem isn't "Democrats" or "Republicans", it's the public at large has absolutly no respect for freedom.

    The thing is, freedom is often seen in the US as a means to an end, and not as an end in itself. Freedom is seen as something you are given, not as something you give. Notice that pretty much everybody will completely trample any reasonable concept of freedom, as long as they get what they want.

    The answer is not in politics, but in cultural change. American politicians, for the most part, are either too patriotic, or too pandering to say..yes, we are very flawed, and we can be better than this.

    And frankly, Libertarians are the worst. For all their talking about freedom, they still would tear down enviromental and private privacy law that probably does the most to protect our freedom.
  • by forand ( 530402 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:27PM (#7788225) Homepage
    I would be very scared if something like this occured in the criminal courts system. While the defendant has a right to a speedy trial they should also have a right to gather as much evidence as possible to defend themselves. Usually there are limits imposed by the judges so it does not become a stalling tactic but it seems possible that one might need more than two years to get all the evidence if you have to deal with other companies or entities not wanting to give it to you. Now for civil cases it is another story but again setting hard limits is almost always a bad idea IMHO.
  • by Tsu Dho Nimh ( 663417 ) <> on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:28PM (#7788235)
    "Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought one could only copyright original works, but what's original about a bunch of #define-s? "

    Nothing ... if it's the only way, or one of a very limited ways to implement the standard, it's not copyrightable. I believe the format and switches are specified by the POSIX standard, which means you have no choice/originality involved. Do it their way or it doesn't work.

    Leaving the copyright notice off, even on a one-liner, is wrong, but it's not a fatal error. Tracking down who may have stripped a 20-line notice from a 1-line header for an OS that's been around since the 1970s is not going to be an easy task, and a judge would probably say "screw this, de minimis non curat lex* applies" and tell them to shove off. (*the law does not concern itself with trifles, nothing to do with Lex Luthor)

  • by derF024 ( 36585 ) * on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:33PM (#7788279) Homepage Journal
    Still, what you CAN do is research the candidates on the major 2 platforms and pick out the ones who side with Libertarian beliefs.

    Sounds like what you really need is a system like Instant Runoff voting [] where you don't have to worry that you're "throwing your vote away" on a third party candidate. Then you (and everyone else) could vote for that Libertarian candidate without worrying about the bad guy winning.
  • by rgmoore ( 133276 ) * <> on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:34PM (#7788291) Homepage

    Why should the Linux ones have to? Linus isn't a party to the USL/BSDI lawsuit, so he isn't bound by the terms of the settlement. There's no reason to think that there are any valid copyrights to files involved in the suit (USL settled because the judge was threatening to rule that their copyrights were invalid) so there's no need for any copyright notice unless it's forced by some other legal reason, like the settlement. And that's assuming that the files actually are copied and haven't been re-implemented from scratch using the POSIX standards.

  • by Pionar ( 620916 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:38PM (#7788327)
    What it amounts to is a law saying that it is illegal to pick locks. Well then what do you do if you are locked out of your house or car?

    Close, but not quite. A better analogy would be to make it illegal to make a hairpin, as it could be used to pick a lock. It's the instrument that the DMCA bans, not the action. The action (of breaking a lock that wasn't yours) was already illegal. Piracy has always been illegal, it just wasn't illegal to make the tools until the DMCA.
  • by psychoid ( 568115 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:43PM (#7788372)
    Think about it:
    Novell is a company who used to be REALLY BIG then got spanked by the Great Beast in Redmond because of their marketing-department-that-couldn't. They had the best enterprise products, but nobody wanted to write apps on the NetWare platform. They've been in steady decline since '96.

    NetWare is dying and Novell needs a new platform. Linux is perfect because people are writing applications for it. So, in Novell's thinking, if they can deploy the NetWare services like file/print/Directory/Web Svcs on a Linux kernel, they have the best of both worlds.

    The one thing that they have to be conscious of, and I believe they have, is their perception in the OSS community. Novell knows that they need community approval in order to be successful. If the community dislikes what they're doing, people won't buy their products and they will become irrelevant.

    So, I re-iterate that Novell has to be one of the "good guys" or they will just end up screwing themselves.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:45PM (#7788396) Homepage
    Allow for the use of back-engineering tools with HARSH punishments for people who knowingly use them to break copyrighted material with intent to distribute.

    I call bullshit. only a person that is so seperated from reality would say such a thing.

    PROPER punishment for illegal use. Sorry but someone violating the DMCA should get 1/10th the punishment than a mass murderer. Currently under US laws if you violate the DMCA, you will get a lighter sentence if you grab a shotgun and kill a few officers when they come to get you.

    Copyright violation is a very very VERY MINOR offense and needs to be treated as such with only MONETARY damages.

    sending anyone to prison for anything as silly as a stupid copyright violation is absolute stupidity.

    you know this, and until this is how it is written I violently oppose any such legislation and those that support it.
  • by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:50PM (#7788432) Journal
    The gun industry is trying to get that point across as well. I honestly hope they succeed. Almost every device on the planet can be used in a nefarious manner, but it seems some opportunistic folks in the world think they should get paid by the device's creators when someone actually does something with the device that it was not intended to do.

    I have to say that I have a problem with your statement--and my sig should leave no doubt as to my opinion of the issue. Guns are designed to kill people. DeCSS is designed to decrypt DVDs. This is the intended operation, and anybody telling a jury that someone is "doing something witht the device it was never intended to do" is a liar and is going to come off as such.

    What you should have said is "criminal acts commited by third parties" which is the crux of the defense of gun manufacturers, Jon Johansen, etc. And a defense I agree with. DeCSS can be used to watch a movie on a non-supported platform. Guns can be used for by the police, or for self defense, or for hunting. The acts of criminals should not impact legal use by the rest of society--THAT is the point you should be making.

  • by mushroom blue ( 8836 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:58PM (#7788497)
    I'm looking from the outside, but it sure seems to me that Republicans are exactly the same.

    see, this is why you should read the full post before replying.

    if you'll note the grandparent's post, the next line talked about Republicans being just as bad.
  • Two questions... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by emil ( 695 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:15PM (#7788616)
    1. McBride was supposed to get a bonus for several consecutive quarters of profitable earnings. The bonus is trashed now, correct?
    2. The Linux 2.2 kernel is supposed to be free of infringing code. Aren't the errno.h, signal.h, and ioctl.h unchanged or very similar since 2.2?
  • by asr_man ( 620632 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:21PM (#7788669)

    GO NOVELL! GO IBM! :-) It may seem strange, but I really am feeling some sort of loyalty to these two companies.

    It's called Afghan Loyalty.

  • by SirWhoopass ( 108232 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:38PM (#7788810)
    Well, this is an obvious troll but it seems the mods bit.

    Let's pretend all your arguments are correct. The United States is going to collapse. Even still, the US is a massive country with a huge wealth of natural resources within its borders. It also has a powerful military to defend those borders. Argentina was never like the US.

    If you want to pursue an analogy, then the US is headed to being another Russia. Russia may not be what it was at the height of the Soviet Union, but Russia is nothing like Argentina.
  • by Minna Kirai ( 624281 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:40PM (#7788824)
    I do not know how this rumour

    It's not a rumor, it's true []. Your very own post shows how it's true.

    First you say "You cannot slap another license or copyright header on BSD code." Then you go on with "You must retain the BSD copyright notice in the source code, and, in the case of binary redistribution,"

    What you might not understand is that the latter statement doesn't prevent the former. It's entirely possible to slap another license on BSD code, while still retaining the previous copyright statement.

    Just take a BSD program, modify two lines, paste the GPL to the front of the file, and you're done (when a file is under multiple licenses, anyone wanting to copy it must obey all of them.)

    Adding additional copyright headers happens all the time with real code: any company that has touched a file will append it's own notice to the top, while leaving the others intact.
  • by ( 102718 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:44PM (#7788861) Homepage
    SCO can't sue Tannenbaum. I am pretty sure that most european countries (like Denmark) has a basic legal principle of, that you can not stand on the sideline passive for n years, waiting for the peoduct become popular before you sue.

    The case could never be won here, which is why SCO Germany removed all claims from their website. They did not want a parallel case here.
  • by shane_rimmer ( 622400 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:44PM (#7788863)
    Not to mention the fact that they would both be guilty of sharing the information on how to use said hairpin to circumvent said home security device.
  • by Deagol ( 323173 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:59PM (#7789001) Homepage
    Even if you want to make sure that hunting stays legal, is it so unreasonable to make sure that it is hard to make the gun automatic, that the clip has fewer than 8 rounds in it?

    Yeah, if that DC Sniper didn't have full-auto capability, he wouldn't have been able to take down so many people. Oh, wait a minute...

    You see, if I walked into a random schoolyard and started shooting, does it fundamentally matter if I'm using a single-shot muzzle-loader rifle or a modified full-auto AR-15 with a 30-round clip? I'm still a monster, right?

    Sure, in practical matters, there may be more dead bodies to clean up if I had a full- (or even semi-) auto, but the fact remains that I am a disturbed person who broke the law. If all guns vanished today, if I were that disturbed, I'd simply walk into the school yard with a 3-iron and start whackin' heads on the kindergarten jungle-gym. Are you going to argue that golf club makers should make their clubs less useful for clubbing someone to death?

    And I don't buy the argument that guns are specifically designed to kill/injure people. They're designed to hurl small chunks of metal, accurately, for long distances, and at very high velocities. What people choose to do with them is their own business -- until they break the law.

    Yes, this is a rather morbib way to make my point, but I hate it when people still insist on blaming the instrument of crime, rather than the criminal.

  • by mpe ( 36238 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:00PM (#7789017)
    The DMCA does nothing to stop copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is illegal to begin with. Making it 'more' illegal isn't going to stop anyone who was going to commite the crime in the first place.

    It's more to make those who are passing the laws feel they are doing their job.

    Say a thief is going to break into your home to steal your tv. Making it illegal to pick locks isnt really going to deter him. All it will lead to is poorly designed locks.

    It can lead to all sorts of other issues. Especially if picking locks viewed as a more serious crime than burglary.
  • Losses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:04PM (#7789069)
    If SCO hadn't filed the lawsuit to pump up its stock price, neither Microsoft nor SUN would have given SCO money. In that case, SCO would not have had that 10 million dollars in revenue.

    Seeing that Linux had been eating SCO's lunch prior to this, it's reasonable to think that SCO would not have had brought in any new business and hence no new revenue.

    So without the lawsuit, SCO would probably have posted a quarterly loss of 11 million dollars.

    Then we have Baystar's 50 million dollars. Again, without the lawsuit, Baystar most likely would not have given SCO the money. Without this, SCO's quarterly losses would have topped 61 million dollars.

    The bottom line is that, as we all knew, without the phoney lawsuit against IBM, SCO would no longer exist as an organization. It would be bankrupt now.

    SCO can only exist as long as it can delay court proceedings. Once IBM gets into full gear, SCO will vaporize.
  • by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:20PM (#7789248)
    I think the relevant question is "Who held the majority in congress at that time?"

    IIRC, Republicans had the House and Democrats had the Senate. The DMCA was yet another instance of lawmakers putting aside their political differences and coming together to reward special interests and screw the general public.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:21PM (#7789261)
    Are they claiming copyright violations on a public interface specification (header files)? That's ridiculous. Even if the headers were bit for bit copies, you could override that by simply re-writing with the same values but marginally different formats.

    Court decision history specifically denies that kind of protection, even the DMCA doesn't go that far. A recent decision even went so far as to say that the DMCA was not meant to prevent reverse engineering.

    SCO probably isn't arguing the derivative works angle here and I'm guessing that's because inter-operability interfaces are specifically prevented from being considered as such.

    Being forced to produce source code, it sounds like SCO's lawyers are grasping at the last straws of an argument. If I had stock in SCO (and I don't thank god) I'd be dumping them on the greater fools really quick.

    Do they really expect the Courts to assign any amount of code theft to IBM/Linux because Linux is POSIX compatible?

    Really lame.

    SCO, the clue phone is ringing. It's time to pick it up before the strategic IBM bombers unleash their wave of carpet bombing.

  • by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:25PM (#7789303)
    "Loser Pays" is a *horrible* idea for tort reform. It puts the little guy at an even worse disadvantage. It gives the big guy an even bigger stick with which to threaten the little guy.

    Instead of getting sued for $2000 for sharing MP3s, imagine being liable for $2000 in damages plus $20000 in legal fees, over and above what you have to pay your lawyer. With loser pays, there's no incentive for a big corporation NOT to sue -- they already have a platoon of lawyers on retainer, if they're not busy suing someone the company's not getting their money's worth. For a big corp, legal fees are already a sunk cost -- loser pays just gives them more of an incentive to sue so that they can recover what they've already spent on retainers. An individual's legal costs are going to be peanuts compared to what they already spend.

  • by NaveWeiss ( 567082 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:26PM (#7789316) Homepage Journal
    SCO scares me.
    They are so sure [] of themselves. They also said that.. they showed many people the offending source if they signed an NDA. Has anyone ever spoken to these people?
    I mean.. if SCO wastes so much time on this seemingly-absurd plan, maybe they have a reason to believe they might win.
  • by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:30PM (#7789372)
    I'm sure Libertarians would frown on spending federal money for technology research when it should *obviously* be funded (and controlled) by private companies

    The Internet came out of DoD research. Libertarians support the military as one of the primary purposes of government. And the Internet exploded in popularity only when private companies realized there was mone to be made.

    Plus, one of the main points of that party is protection of property.


    That would include such measures as the DMCA.

    No. Even leaving aside the distinction between physical and intellectual property, protection of property means "you can't take my property". It doesn't mean "you can't make any device that could conceivably be used to take my property, regardless of its legitimate uses".

    Disclaimer: I don't support the Libertarian Party. I agree with some of their principles, but many of their positions are completely unworkable. I support smaller (but not nonexistant) government and individual freedom, which means I generally hold my nose and vote Republican.

  • by SirWhoopass ( 108232 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:34PM (#7789414)
    I won't claim that anything will last forever, least of all the United States. My argument was that, within a generation, the US would not resemble Argentina.

    On a side note, the US isn't quite like previous western empires (Britain, Rome). It has no far flung colonies to support, defend, or suppress. It did once, Cuba and the Phillipines for example. Some states could leave and it could fall from within, that almost happened once before. I certainly don't think it will stay this way forever, I just believe that it will have to be different than previous "empires".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:47PM (#7789536)
    Posting as AC as I already modded here

    I just took a look in the Mac OSX errno.h file (/usr/include/sys/errno.h) and the error definitions are all there, with the same attributed numbers as in the Linux and *BSD ones. Someone further down claimed that SCO was claiming ownership of the actual numbers, since the defined names are an ANSI/ISO standard and therefore can't be claimed.

    What this means, I think, is that SCO is indeed attempting to roll open the BSD/LSI case again. I would be amazed if they were able to get away with this. I'm pretty sure a competent lawyer will be able to clam this one up in court.

    Not only that but SCO is opening themselves up to truly massive claims of extortion and fraud if this is not legal, which although IANAL I really cannot see it being from their pretty wild claim in their letter. They simply claim they own these files, yet make NO mention of showing how that is so.

    I am really interested as to who is going to sue SCO next.
  • by AllUsernamesAreGone ( 688381 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:49PM (#7789563)
    "It has no far flung colonies to support, defend, or suppress."

    Iraq? Afgahnistan?
  • by DaveAtFraud ( 460127 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:59PM (#7789658) Homepage Journal
    Your quote of Blake Stowell's interview is consistent with everything in the letter *except* the list of header files. The letter seems to be addressed specifically to existing SCO Unixware customers and seems to be aimed at keeping them from fleeing Unixware by way of running their old SCO applications under Linux using the Linux ABI.

    I would think asserting an absurd copyright to a bunch of standard header files would weaken SCO's claim with little or nothing in return since their claim to hold copyright to these files will be rapidly shown to be false. On the other hand, they can probably claim that running some SCO Unixware programs under Linux using the Linux ABI violates some portion of the SCO EULA. The only thing I can think of is they are attempting to assert copyright to the defining ABI header files as a means of making the EULA violation enforceable under copyright law.

    Odd coincidence: a finding in SCO's favor that an unauthorized, third-party ABI infringes their copyright would also allow Microsoft to go after Lindows and WINE.
  • 1 dead == 15 dead? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Merk ( 25521 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @06:16PM (#7789809) Homepage

    So what you're saying is that 1 death and 15 deaths are equally bad, and that an atomic bomb should be seen as simply an overzealous way to cook a pizza?

    The argument that golf clubs and automatic weapons are equivalent because both could potentially be used to kill somebody is ridiculous. One is obviously more dangerous than the other one. That's like claiming that an atomic bomb and an oven are equivalent because both can cook a pizza.

    There seems to be a general consensus that people shouldn't be allowed to own something that makes it easy for them to kill more than n people in a row. Right now, n is generally agreed to be about 1, although the difficulty in killing that 1 person is pretty low.

    I don't want my neighbors owning atomic bombs, land mines, chlorine gas cannisters or guns. The ability to kill people with them is just too high. On the other hand, I don't mind if my neighbor owns a sword, which has never had any functional purpose other than killing and maiming other people. The difference is that if my neighbor goes nuts, I have some small hope of escaping from a crazy neighbor chasing after me with a sword. Bullets are a lot harder to escape.

    I agree that the blame primarily rests on the shoulders of the person doing the killing, but I think it's stupid to make it easy for him/her to kill so many people. We have laws to prevent people from doing stupid things: running red lights, walking on a busy highway, etc. Why should we not have laws preventing someone from getting the tool necessary to commit a massacre? Is there some legitimate reason that someone would need a fully-automatic weapon with a 50 round clip?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @06:16PM (#7789812)
    Geez. Thjey're not independent just because they are called independent by the USA. Britain already used that trick, with puppet "independent" governments in countries like Ireland.
  • by psykocrime ( 61037 ) <mindcrime@cp p h a c k e r . c o .uk> on Monday December 22, 2003 @06:25PM (#7789883) Homepage Journal
    Why should we not have laws preventing someone from getting the tool necessary to commit a massacre?

    It's called the 2nd Amendment.

    Is there some legitimate reason that someone would need a fully-automatic weapon with a 50 round clip?

    Yes. The main reason that comes to mind is an armed revolution against the existing government, should it ever become tyranical / dictatorial / etc.

    It may sound unlikely, it may even BE unlikely... but fundamentally the 2nd Amendment is all about making sure that the ultimate power lies in the hands of "the people" where it belongs.

    Also, you might be interested to know that legally owned / properly licensed fully automatic weapons are almost NEVER used in the commission of armed crimes. I don't have a direct link handy, but that's from the FBI's own crime statistics.
  • by jazuki ( 70860 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @06:35PM (#7789974) Homepage
    Not quite right. While the shareholders of a corporation are not liable in case of corporate wrongdoing, its officers and board are. And they can be individually prosecuted if they were party to criminal activities, either in terms of making decisions or in terms of intentional execution. And they can go to jail as a result.

    In the case of Enron, for example, Andrew Fastow is being criminally prosecuted.

    However, many argue he's just a fall guy, since people that high up in a corporation often as far as they can to maintain plausible deniability. Like Ken Lay for example. But, this happens in politics, too. Say, Reagan and Iran-Contra.
  • by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <> on Monday December 22, 2003 @07:04PM (#7790249) Homepage
    SCO have literally come up with the weakest possible argument they could have attempted.

    They've attempted weaker arguments before!

    "Here is a malloc implementation copied from our proprietary Unix (or possibly from our old public domain Unix, or maybe from an even older Knuth textbook)" might not be this weak, but both attempts are put to shame by SCO's best 'argument': "This packet filtering code looks kind of similar to our code (and even more similar to the public specifications describing that code's interface, and it turns out that 'our' code is owned by Berkeley and we must have illegally stripped their copyright notices not to realize that)"

    They've said some stupid and contradictory things to the press and the courts, but nothing that tops the lines they were feeding their NDA suckers.
  • by psykocrime ( 61037 ) <mindcrime@cp p h a c k e r . c o .uk> on Monday December 22, 2003 @08:38PM (#7790999) Homepage Journal
    Odd that someone with a address would talk about the 2nd amendment. In any case, the 2nd amenment doesn't say: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear the tools necessary to commit a massacre, shall not be infringed."

    First of all, I'm American, not British. The TLD is a lark.

    Secondly, the same weapons necessary to wage war, if that need should arise, just happen to be the same ones that would conceivably allow one to commit a massacre. It's a (somewhat) unfortunate truth that living in a country with great freedom also entails a certain amount of danger, and maybe a little bit of self-responsibility. You worried about a gunman walking into the McDonalds where you and your family are eating, and beginning to spray bullets? Ok, get yourself a concealed carry permit and a nice legal, properly licensed handgun, and when that event happens, take the safety of you and your own into you own hands.

    The other alternative is to move to a country with a restrictive, totalitarian, authoritative, government that protects you day in and day out, from cradle to grave. But god-damnit, leave those of us who love the freedoms that make America great, the hell alone. Quit being part of the system that's trying to systematically turn US into that totalitarian country referenced above.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev