03.14.09

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SCO Wants Copyrights It Does Not Own

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Novell, SCO, UNIX at 8:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amiga UNIX

Summary: SCO refuses to die and here is its latest confrontation with Novell

Having decided to focus only on litigation, SCO has also awoken for a moment and it filed an appeal brief against Novell. Groklaw, as usual, has the details and the pertinent documentation.

SCO has filed its appeal brief [PDF], appealing the decision in SCO v. Novell. Novell has until April 9 to file its brief in response, plus any appeal issues it might itself wish to raise.

Evidently, the court found SCO’s first filing deficient, and so it told SCO [PDF] to correct the deficiencies, which it has done. One deficiency was that SCO failed to tell the appeals court why it felt oral argument was necessary. So, SCO now tells them, in essence, that the case is *complicated*.

Then, the copyright gig got resurrected, as Heise reported:

The SCO Group has filed an appeal against last years ruling that it did not buy the copyright to Unix from Novell. The company is hoping to overturn the judgement and resume its legal action against IBM and Linux. When SCO started to pursue IBM in court in 2003, Novell said that when it sold its Unix business to SCO in 1995 it retained copyright to the code and merely sold SCO a licence to use it. SCO then sued Novell over that claim.

This was also covered locally, in Utah (it’s also here).

The SCO Group of Lindon has filed an appeal reasserting its ownership of the copyright of Unix computer operating system software, a move officers believe will get it back on track to pursue claims against IBM in a case that has riled the open source software community.

[...]

The SCO Group also is moving to sell its computer software business as part of its reorganization in bankruptcy court in Delaware. The company filed for bankruptcy after Kimball’s 2008 ruling. After selling the software business to an outside party, SCO plans to continue to pursue its legal claims against IBM and others.

Regarding the above, wrote Groklaw:

Here’s SCO’s appeal brief [PDF] in SCO v. Novell as text. The Salt Lake Tribune has an article on the filing, of course.

I wanted to highlight something odd I stumbled across going through old documents, something I never noticed before, that relates to one of SCO’s allegations. In SCO’s appeal, you find this statement:

Within two hours of Novell’s public claim that it owns the UNIX copyrights, SCO’s stock plummeted, even though SCO had announced record revenues that day.

I’m not sure that is accurate. According to what I’ve found, as I’ll show you, Novell put out a press release early in the morning, apparently even before the market opened, and yet IDG reported that same day that the stock at mid-morning was trading *up* by 3.33%.

By the end of the day, the stock was down, for sure, but what made it happen? We can only guess. SCO also put out a prepared statement in the morning, almost immediately after Novell’s, and then at 11 AM, SCO held a conference call. If the stock went down by the end of the day, who is to say that it wasn’t the conference call that caused it? Or SCO’s prepared statement, for that matter? Or some combination of all of them? What is SCO’s basis for its claim that it was Novell’s statement that caused the stock to “plummet”? At any rate, piecing together all the evidence I have collected, I am unable to confirm that the stock plummeted within two hours of Novell’s statement, and I see indications that it didn’t happen that way. I will show you what I found so you can draw your own conclusions.

Glyn Moody doesn’t buy this copyright sob story of SCO because it’s all done and over.

Since then, SCO has seen its revenue fall, and blames the losses on competition from Linux. It sued Novell after Novell claimed it and SCO owned the Unix copyrights.

But in August of 2008, Kimball granted Novell’s request for summary judgment. After a trial, he also awarded Novell about $2.5 million, plus interest in licensing revenue.

What’s interesting is that unlike six years ago, nobody thinks that SCO stands a chance; even more tellingly, nobody is even *interested* any more. SCO is fighting a zombie case: it’s dead but somehow still moving.

One service that SCO has done to the open source world is demonstrate finally and irrevocably that there is no copyright infringement in Linux – because if there had been, SCO would certainly have found it by now.

Groklaw has a few more articles about SCO and it seems to have returned to a full-time posting pace (with the RSS feeds finally restored after months of being frozen).

Ultimately, SCO seems to be running away with that devilish tail between its legs. “What a surprise,” writes PJ, “SCO has withdrawn its Motion for an Order Establishing Sale and Bid Procedures, Approving Form of Asset Purchase Agreement, etc.” Still all about deception, eh?

SCO is very much over in many respects. Let us focus on future risks such as Novell, which Microsoft is fueling in exchange for uninvited trouble like Mono.

“[Microsoft's] Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

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2 Comments

  1. David Gerard said,

    March 14, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Gravatar

    Linux vs SCO, the Gandhi in reverse:

    First they fight you
    Then they laugh at you
    Then they ignore you
    Then you lose

    (written by some brilliant Slashdot commenter several years ago)

  2. ZiggyFish said,

    March 15, 2009 at 1:18 am

    Gravatar

    David, Shouldn’t he quote be more like this (to be more correct)?:

    First you win
    Then they fight you
    Then they laugh at you
    Then they ignore you

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