Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
copyright, linux, patents

Companies:
sco



SCO Looking To Ditch Actual Business To Try To Keep Lawsuit Going

from the going-full-on-patent-troll dept

Slashdot points us to the latest in the never-ending saga of SCO trying to claim infringement in Linux. Despite massive setbacks that should have just ended the quixotic campaign, it appears that SCO is looking to sell off its actual businesses in order to keep the lawsuit campaign going. It's amazing that after losing pretty much every aspect of this campaign from the very beginning, that folks at SCO still think it's worth pursuing.

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  • identicon
    Michael Kohne, 12 Jan 2009 @ 7:29pm

    Is this a way to save what's left?

    I mean at this point, the lawsuit is more or less lost. The SCO name is so sullied that no one in their right mind would choose them as a supplier (they sue their own former customers!). Is this a way to get whatever is left out from under the impending doom?

    If they spin the products off as a new company, they leave the baggage (the lawsuit and Darl) behind. They aren't in a position to bargain very hard, so anyone (their current investors perhaps?) could snap up the actual products for relatively little.

    I don't know, it sounds like it must be some kind of hail-mary pass, but I'm unclear what they are really trying to save here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jeff, 12 Jan 2009 @ 7:31pm

    Well, you have to expect it.

    The captain always goes down with the ship.

    *cue some fitting ship sinking music as the battle goes on*

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    smheath (profile), 12 Jan 2009 @ 7:45pm

    I thought this ended back in 2007...

    when a judge declared Novell the rightful owner of UNIX.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      DanC, 12 Jan 2009 @ 9:09pm

      Re: I thought this ended back in 2007...

      They're hoping and praying that the Novell decision is overturned on appeal. Otherwise they won't have anything to show for the years of litigation, and no real way to continue their vendetta against Linux.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        chris (profile), 13 Jan 2009 @ 5:51am

        Re: Re: I thought this ended back in 2007...

        They're hoping and praying that the Novell decision is overturned on appeal. Otherwise they won't have anything to show for the years of litigation, and no real way to continue their vendetta against Linux.

        microsoft "renews" their system v "license" with sco regularly. since MS is legendary for dirty tricks, and MS made a big show of buying their license in 2001 or 2002 (out of "respect" for the SCO patent) and MS is one of, if not the biggest of SCO's customer, i wouldn't be surprised in the least if this whole thing is just some some sort of FUD/smear campaign being financed by MS and SCO is simply the mercenary hired to do the work.

        so as long as MS is still writing those checks, SCO will continue to fail loudly and publicly at this lawsuit.

        the sale seems like a move to protect remaining products and customers from the fallout of SCO's collapse. maybe the new owner will switch back to caldera and start selling linux again :-)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    $699 - in your dreams SCO, 12 Jan 2009 @ 8:14pm

    SCO is guilty of copyright infringement, not Linux.

    SCO has lost to Novel, that battle is a done deal. Novel did not transfer the Unix copyright and SCO owes Novel $$$.

    What does SCO have left to go after IBM or linux ? When is IBM going to mop the floor with the SCO remains ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    alternatives(), 12 Jan 2009 @ 8:26pm

    I want to see the infringing code

    RedHat 5 infringed on the BSD license with the lpr/lpd system.
    Linux kernel 2.0.36 violated copyright law with code taken from FreeBSD in the network stack.
    Virgin violated the GPL with their netplayer.
    AT&T violated the BSD copyright.
    Other claims:
    G4L ripped off G4U.
    Parts of the Linux SATA code was ripped off from BSD.

    Is there code in Linux in violation of some IP law - would not shock me. History *DOES* have the Linux kernel in IP law violation, Linux vendors in violation of IP law, and GNU/Linux being IP Violated.
    Is that violation with 4 billion - that *WOULD* be a shocker. I'd love to see Darl get $1 and no court costs.

    But - SCO has never shown the lines of code that are in violation have they? I'd like to see the trial so these lines can be seen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 13 Jan 2009 @ 12:05am

      Re: I want to see the infringing code

      alternatives() proclaimed:

      RedHat 5 infringed on the BSD license with the lpr/lpd system.
      Linux kernel 2.0.36 violated copyright law with code taken from FreeBSD in the network stack.
      AT&T violated the BSD copyright.
      Parts of the Linux SATA code was ripped off from BSD.

      Really? Which clause(s) in the licences did they infringe?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        alternatives(), 13 Jan 2009 @ 6:52am

        Re: Re: I want to see the infringing code

        Really?

        Yes.

        Which clause(s) in the licences did they infringe?

        I'm happy to clear up your ignorance.

        RedHat 5 - Old clause 3
        * 3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software
        * must display the following acknowledgement:
        * This product includes software developed by the University of
        * California, Berkeley and its contributors.

        Linux 2.0.36
        Removal of the BSD copyright. You can't remove the copyright and claim its yours.

        AT&T violated the BSD copyright.
        The AT&T VS Berkeley lawsuit settlement.

        Parts of the Linux SATA code was ripped off from BSD.
        Read the charges on /. Went to find it and didn't. But if I had, would it have changed your mind?

        An added bonus:
        http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/29/0241234

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 13 Jan 2009 @ 9:40am

          Re: Re: Re: I want to see the infringing code

          Hmmm... well, first of all, the comments on the Slashdot link and the article that links to (why does nobody link primary sources any more?) make it clear that *one of the authors* of that driver was responsible for the supposed copyright violation. There's also a lot of discussion as to whether or not this was actually allowed, as the code was dual licensed and the exact terms of a dual BSD/GPL license seems rather confusing. Hardly a damning indictment of the process.

          Then the Red Hat licensing. I could be wrong here, but wouldn't the code now be under the GPL? If so, wouldn't the GPL terms supersede the original Berkley license and therefore allow the copyright notice to be omitted (as long as it was distributed under GPL terms)? I'm no expert on licences, so I wouldn't mind being corrected if I'm wrong, but these seem like pretty flimsy claims to me.

          Finally, I fail to see what this has to do with the issue at hand. None of the violations you mention would have anything to do with SCO apart from the Berkley code, and it's already been well established that Novell are the owners of those copyrights, not SCO. Do you have any more relevant examples?

          What I'm seeing here are examples of people being a little too eager with cut & paste, not the "millions of lines" of infringing code that Darl originally claimed, nor necessarily deliberate violations of copyright. BTW, pretty much every major software company - from Microsoft downwards - have been found in violation of copyright and/or patent infringement at some point in their history. If your intent here was to cast doubt on Linux or support the veracity of SCO's (still unsubstantiated) claims, it's a pretty poor effort.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            nasch, 13 Jan 2009 @ 10:08am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I want to see the infringing code

            I think the follow up has to be that when infringing code is discovered, it's generally *very quickly* rewritten and released in a legal manner. MS and SCO both know this, so of course that's why they won't reveal exactly what infringes (or else their claims are completely false, one or the other).

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Voice of Reason, 12 Jan 2009 @ 9:34pm

    Fighting for what;'s right

    It's obvious that Linux violates so much IP that it's simply untrue.

    You know why it's gone against them so badly so far? Because the judges are BOUGHT and PAID FOR by the Big Bully companies that they are fighting against in a classic David and Goliath fight, that's why. You know it, I know it, don't kid yourselves.

    I'm very impressed that even in its darkest hour, SCO still manages to bite and bravely hang on, never letting go, just like the proverbial rottweiller that's grabbed your balls. They *know* they're right and no way are they gonna give in!

    They will win this, you'll see. SCO will then rise from the ashes just like the Griffin and will be glorious once more!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Voice of Reason, 12 Jan 2009 @ 9:37pm

    Grabbing Goliath by the balls!

    It's obvious that Linux violates so much IP that it's simply untrue.

    You know why it's gone against them so badly so far? Because the judges are BOUGHT and PAID FOR by the Big Bully companies that they are fighting against in a classic David and Goliath fight, that's why. You know it, I know it, don't kid yourselves.

    I'm very impressed that even in its darkest hour, SCO still manages to bite and bravely hang on, never letting go, just like the proverbial rottweiller that's grabbed your balls. They *know* they're right and no way are they gonna give in!

    They will win this, you'll see. SCO will then rise from the ashes just like the Griffin and will be glorious once more!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2009 @ 10:34pm

      Re: Grabbing Goliath by the balls!

      So, are they David, a "Rottweiller", or a "Griffin"?

      1. Like SCO, you can't seem to get your arguments straight, which is why you also fail.

      2. BTW, it's the Phoenix that rises from the ashes (See #1)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      eleete, 13 Jan 2009 @ 12:48am

      Re: Grabbing Goliath by the balls!

      I realize times are hard and all, so please, take all your money and invest in SCO, if you truly believe that. Sink your last dime into McBride's plan. He's done so well up to this point. His business plan is brilliant for individuals like you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 13 Jan 2009 @ 3:08am

      Re: Grabbing Goliath by the balls!

      I know this is a troll, despite your claims. But, what's ridiculous about this whole thing is that it would have been so easy for SCO to win if they had done two very simple things:

      1. State exactly which copyrights have been violated.
      2. Produce examples of code from the Linux kernel that infringes said copyrights, along with proof that IBM had originally supplied the code.

      Step 2 would be a difficult and arduous process with a closed-source system. However, everything about the Linux development process is open and publicly available, from the code introduced into each revision to a list of exactly who supplied said code. Yet, in over 5 years, SCO has neither listed the violated copyrights, nor provided the code.

      Why, exactly would they not do this? There's only one explanation - there is no evidence to begin with, and no violation. The lawsuit was a sham, an attempt to extort IBM, Red Hat, et al into settling. They lost the moment that IBM decided to fight these ridiculous claims instead of settling. Note that even SCO's claims have toned down over the years. The original claims were that "millions" of lines of infringing code have been found. The most recent arguments have been over less than 50 lines, most of which are system calls that cannot be copyrighted.

      Luckily, this whole episode has strengthened the reputation of the open source process. There had been no questionable code found in Linux, even though the model theoretically invites such violations.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      DaneK, 13 Jan 2009 @ 4:25am

      Re: Grabbing Goliath by the balls!

      ROFLMAO very funny!!

      Fantastic post!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Uncle Warthog, 13 Jan 2009 @ 3:39pm

      Re: Grabbing Goliath by the balls!

      Darl? Is that you?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Another Mike, 12 Jan 2009 @ 11:12pm

    RE: Is this a way to save what's left?

    These "actual businesses", whose Products page on their site has posted, under Recent Product Announcements:

    9 March 2007: SCO announces World Wide Web availability details for the  Adobe Flash Player

    way to go OpenServer team!
    Watch this phoenix rise from the ashes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JeffR, 13 Jan 2009 @ 11:48am

    BSD Licensing -- Advertising Clause

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JeffR, 13 Jan 2009 @ 11:51am

    BSD Licensing -- Advertising Clause

    from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_license

    The advertising clause was removed from the official BSD license text on July 22, 1999 by William Hoskins, the director of the office of technology licensing for Berkeley.[4]

    [4] ftp://ftp.cs.berkeley.edu/pub/4bsd/README.Impt.License.Change

    This change was retroactive, meaning that all versions of software that have the advertising clause no longer need to honor it to be in compliance with the license as of July, 1999.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2009 @ 1:21pm

    The advertising clause was removed from the official BSD license text on July 22, 1999

    http://www.owlriver.com/redhat_versions.html

    RedHat 5 series Oct 12 1998 to Nov 10 1997

    Thus they would have been under the BSD 4 clause license at the time of release and held to the terms.

    wouldn't the GPL terms supersede the original Berkley license

    No. The GPL is additive, like how a virus adds its DNA to a cell it infects - if describing it in biological terms helps you understand.

    People "thinking" like you do is why the 2.0.36 violation happened.

    Finally, I fail to see what this has to do with the issue at hand.

    Which issue is this? The complex nature of IP law? That there are unclean hands WRT IP? That you don't understand the IP laws - so your qualifications to judge what is in violation is suspect PaulT?

    The reason for the lawsuit, the code in suspected violation, has never been released to the public. Claims that there is no violation made by people who also say "the GPL terms supersede the original Berkley license and therefore allow the copyright notice to be omitted" just shows how out touch the GNU/Linux side of the fence is. When there is a public showing of the code that may be in violation, then a determination can be made by informed people.

    VS people who say "GPL terms supersede the original Berkley license".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 13 Jan 2009 @ 3:06pm

      Re:

      Thanks for the clarifications. Let me just clarify a few things of my own:

      Firstly, the GPL comment was just an assumption. I'm not a coder, just an interested Linux user with a very basic understanding of how these things work. I'm very hazy about the way once licence acts alongside another, especially with dual licencing, so no need to get sarcastic or act like an asshole. I never claimed to know how these things work exactly (hence my comments "I could be wrong here" and "I'm no expert on licences, so I wouldn't mind being corrected if I'm wrong").

      As for the other comments, I still don't see what point you're getting at with these example. Yes, IP law is complicated. Given that such a large number of people - mostly not legally trained - are involved with Linux and other large-scale OS projects, it's not surprising that a couple of things have slipped through the net.

      But, that's beside the point. You're pushing these examples of completely unrelated possible IP and copyright violations. I could probably respond with numerous similar violations by Microsoft and others, but that's got little to do with the issue at hand - the SCO case and how their original claims seem to have been utterly false, to the point where they've become a litigating shell.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2009 @ 2:26pm

    Lawyers

    This is what happens when you let the lawyers run the company (SCO's CEO is a lawyer). In a lawyer's mind, the most important part of a company is the legal department and the actual business just exists to feed and support the legal department. So when push comes to shove, the last thing to go will be the legal department. Lawsuits are the most important "product" to such companies and in the end the lawyers will be the only real winners. Not the investors, not the employees, not the economy, not society.

    This should be a warning to other companies that want to put the lawyers in the driver's seat but they're probably already too busy listening to their lawyers to heed it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2009 @ 9:32pm

    the SCO case and how their original claims seem to have been utterly false,

    Proveable claim - show this as true based on the open court records.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jan 2009 @ 5:25pm

    Proveable claim - show this as true based on the open court records.
    How quickly you forget, Darl. Remember your claims that SCO owned the Unix copyrights? Well, here's what a court had to say about that.
    Judge: Novell owns intellectual property in Linux case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2009 @ 2:13pm

    Remember your claims that SCO owned the Unix copyrights? Well, here's what a court had to say about that.
    Judge: Novell owns intellectual property in Linux case.


    Which does not answer - is there 'stolen code' in GNU/Linux.

    Again - where is the code that infringed?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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