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SCO Gives Notice To 6,000 Unix Licensees

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the litigious-devotion dept.

Caldera 442

inode_buddha writes "This article describes SCO's recent letters to its UNIX licensees, asking them to certify that they '...are not using Unix code in Linux.' It also notes another set of letters '...outlining additional evidence of copyright infringement to a subset of 1,500 global Linux users that SCO first contacted in May about copyright infringement.' There's also a decent breakdown of the company's balance sheet and some quotes from company officials. I hope to see one of those 'other' letters; could anyone post it? SCO better have asbestos underwear." Ask and receive: idiotnot adds "Here's the article from the Sydney Morning Herald. Here is a PDF Copy of the letter." "Yours truly"?

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FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890029)

Frok Pok

Re:FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890047)

I would have gotten FP but had to request a new IP 3 times... you lucky bastard.

SCO (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890031)

SCO. What is it all about... is it good, or is it whack?

Phew... (5, Funny)

subk (551165) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890034)

.After almost 2 weeks of no SCO stories, I was begining to delevop a bit of a nervous tic!

Re:Phew... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890059)

This is so unfunny that it absolutely must get a +5 Funny. I predict it will be modded that way before 8:15.

Re:Phew... (-1, Offtopic)

Sexy Bern (596779) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890075)

August is a long way off yet, so there's plenty of time.

Re:Phew... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890081)

What the fuck are you talking about? Cant tell a : from a /?

Re:Phew... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890126)

Almost right. It's 8:15 and it's at +4. Oh well.

Congrats, Slashdot hive mind. You have proven again that you have no concept of humor.

Re:Phew... (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890187)

Heh heh,
Yeah, I needed to get my SCO fix too. Educational stuff this.

Funny how there's no paragraph sighted when they talk about license termination rights that IBM and others insist do not exist.

Still waiting and waiting.... (3, Insightful)

matth (22742) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890040)

I'm still waiting to actually see the evidence that SCO claims is in the Linux source code. They showed us one example, and if I recall it was mostly comments!

Headline: SCOX fined $5M for spam? (5, Insightful)

leonbrooks (8043) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890083)

Ironic that at least two Caldera employees have, with Caldera's blessing, contributed code to Linux. End of case, you can all go home now.

Perhaps Linus should send a similar letter to SCOX and the same addressees, requiring them to guarantee that none of their SCOX or derivative code includes any contributions from the Linux codebase?

Re:Still waiting and waiting.... (5, Funny)

bwalling (195998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890151)

I'm still waiting to actually see the evidence that SCO claims is in the Linux source code.Apparently SCO is waiting to see the evidence as well. Why else would they keep asking everyone else to see if there is any?

Article Text (-1, Redundant)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890046)

The SCO Group has begun sending written notices to its 6,000 Unix licensees requiring them to certify that they are in full compliance with their Unix source code agreements and are not using Unix code in Linux.

In addition, SCO said it is sending a second set of letters outlining additional evidence of copyright infringement to a subset of 1,500 global Linux users that SCO first contacted in May about copyright infringement. The company predicted that it could spend up to $16m in its existing financial year on legal fees associated with its legal fight over Linux.

Chris Sontag, senior vice-president of SCO, said the notices "formally communicate to Unix source code licensees and certain commercial Linux end users that they must utilise SCO intellectual property within the bounds of their existing legal agreements and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act".

SCO also announced its first full year of profitability today, reporting $5.3m in net income for its 2003 financial year, which ended 31 October, despite legal fees paid out to wage its Unix copyright fight. That fight began when SCO in March filed a $1bn lawsuit against IBM for allegedly breaching its Unix licensing contract.

The company would have reported net income of $14.3m for the year had it not reported a charge of nearly $9m to pay law firms involved in the lawsuit and related efforts to "enforce its intellectual property rights", SCO officials said.

The profit for the year was $79.3m in revenue, up 23% from $64.2m the previous year.

For the fourth quarter, SCO reported $24.3m in revenue, a 57% increase over revenue of $15.5m for the same quarter a year earlier.

The fourth-quarter revenue included $14m from sales of Unix products and services, with an additional $10.3m from licensing agreements with Microsoft and Sun Microsystems signed earlier in the year.

The $9m charge for legal fees kept the company's fourth quarter in the red. The company reported a net loss of $1.6m but said it would have seen net income at $7.4m without the legal expenses.

SCO chief executive officer Darl McBride noted that the company's financial position has been strengthened by a $50m investment in SCO by BayStar Capital. Accounting for that investment had delayed the release of the yearly and quarterly financial results by two weeks.

McBride said SCO closed the 2003 financial year with $64m in cash, which gives SCO "the resources and the flexibility to both enforce and protect its Unix intellectual property and expand its core business".

For this quarter, which ends 31 January, the company expected total revenue to be between $10m and $15m, in line with the same quarter last year. The company also said expenses will rise in the next financial year from SCO source initiatives as the company "expands the scope of its legal strategy to enforce and protect its Unix intellectual property".

SCO officials predicted that spending on legal fees will rise by as much as an additional $2m per quarter in this financial year, up from legal spending last year of $2m to $3m per quarter.

My shirt (-1, Offtopic)

yaj (648643) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890048)

I really don't have any profound comments

But anyone wanna buy my SCO instructor Shirt?

or my 3 years of SCO FORM collected stuff?

The important question (5, Interesting)

Gary Whittles (735467) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890049)

By sending out these clearly fraudulent legal 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 regents under the BSD license in the manner in which the BSD regents 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 law 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?

Re:The important question (2, Interesting)

routerwhore (552333) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890159)

The fraud questions occurred to me as well. The conclusion I came to was that these enterprises that are paying for the "licenses" are doing so just to be safe, but ptobably with the full idea that soon SCO will be proven wrong and then the tables are turned. They will be dragged into court civilally by everyone of the organizations that paid, if not prosecuted full out for fraud and sent to jail. There is a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.

Re:The important question (3, Insightful)

Amiga Lover (708890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890181)

From the letter:

Accordingly, SCO requires written certification by your authorized representative under Para. 2.04 within 30 days of receipt of this letter. Such written certification must include statements that:

1. You are not running Linux binary code that was compiled from any version of Linux that contains our copyrighted application binary interface code ("ABI Code") specifically identified in the attached notification letter.


SCO is, in effect, attempting to use their claimed copyright (unproven and untested) over linux's header files as a way to say "If you use our UNIX, you may not use Linux at all" because, in effect, all Linux contains the code they allege is theirs.

It's a bit like GM finding a loophole in the invention of the wheel and sending out a letter to their customers, reminding them they are not allowed to own a Ford too.

Re:The important question (2, Insightful)

questamor (653018) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890255)

> SCO is, in effect, attempting to use their claimed
> copyright (unproven and untested) over linux's header
> files as a way to say "If you use our UNIX, you may not
> use Linux at all" because, in effect, all Linux contains the
> code they allege is theirs.

They also mention the possibility of terminating their license to use SCO's product if you don't certify to them. They're forcing people to choose Unix or Linux, one or the other, not both.

Since Linux is far more popular and prevalent, I'm guessing there'll soon be a lot fewer UNIX licensees, with only those four people left who absolutely can't get by without their Unix

Re:The important question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890184)

This entire post is nonsensical babble.

Please provide non propeitery version please. (-1)

anonymous coword (615639) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890053)

I am a Linux user, and I refuse to install Windows software to can read this evil PDF format. Please could some one convert it into TeX for me so I can read it in eMacs.

Does anybody take SCO seriously? (1)

alenm (156097) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890055)

They should be taken seriously because of the damage they could inflict, but when are they going to stop whining and threatening and actually produce some substantial proof?

Re:Does anybody take SCO seriously? (2, Insightful)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890078)

They have until Jan 8th... :)

Re:Does anybody take SCO seriously? (3, Insightful)

ozbird (127571) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890205)

They have until Jan 8th... :)

"Your honour, we asked 6000 of our licensees to provide evidence that they are in full compliance with their licenses, but none of them did. Clearly they are infringing on our IP, so we'd like to expand our case..."

I am a unix lisence holder... (5, Funny)

Disc2 (720412) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890057)

...and i've been putting unix code into linux. Do they expect people to admit it?

Interesting consequences if the recipients include (1)

leonbrooks (8043) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890123)

IBM?

Novell?

SGI?

Sun?

Re:I am a unix lisence holder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890225)

If you read the letter that SCO sent, it's meaningless...

The licensees:
- must state that they are complying with the licence.

And that's it.

Hence you could say:
Dear Darl,

Thankyou for your kind letter, our lawyers inform us that we are complying with the terms of our licence, now piss off.

[There is no requirement to answer SCO's dumb questions or confirm compliance with whatever is in the letter.]

another set of letters (5, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890058)

This SCO notification is brought to you by the letters 'U' and 'O' and the numbers '6' and '0'.

... Designated CPU's ... blech! (-1, Troll)

Lorphos (194963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890061)

Yo SCO!

CPU's ?

It's a pural s, there is no justification for an apostrophe. Get a clue!

Re:... Designated CPU's ... blech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890114)

It turns out that a lot of otherwise well-written people do make that mistake. I was one of them until I took the time to look up the issue of pluralized acronyms without periods in an English language guide (I had always been rather uncertain on the issue). Apparently, it has turned into the same sort of issue as "virii", a lot of people use it which makes even more people assume that it is correct usage.

Re:... Designated CPU's ... blech! (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890121)

It's enough to make me loose my mind!

Re:... Designated CPU's ... blech! (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890165)

How dose one loose their mind? Is it struggling to be free? If you loose it does it pop out of your ear screeming "I'm free! I'm free!"

Perhaps you meant lose?

Re:... Designated CPU's ... blech! (1)

Ciggy (692030) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890170)

It's something up with which I will not put!

Re:... Designated CPU's ... blech! (2, Informative)

iapetus (24050) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890160)

Actually, there is a justification for an apostrophe. Although it's falling out of fashion, an apostrophe to denote the plural of an acronym has been acceptable (even standard - witness the 1984 GPO style guide).

It's a common mistake (in my opinion) to rant and rave about how people who pluralise acronyms with an apostrophe are 'wrong' - it's still really a matter of personal preference and style.

Re:... Designated CPU's ... blech! (2, Informative)

mikechant (729173) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890265)

It's also interesting to note that such formations as "Banana's" and "Tomato's" were once considered correct usage - any plural of a non-English word (as these were considered many years ago) was typically written with an apostrophe. (This information is courtesy of Lynn Truss in her excellent little book about punctuation, titled "Eats, shoots and leaves".)

Come on IBM. (2, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890062)

Just go and buy off SCO (Thats what SCO wants anyway) for us. Write it off as a tax write off as donation to a good cause.

Re:Come on IBM. (5, Insightful)

Lorphos (194963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890076)

Please don't! Rewarding these criminals will set a bad example for everyone else. You are right. They are wrong. Sit it out. Make them pay in the end. That's the only way to deal with their kind.

(aka "We don't negotiate with terrorists")

Re:Come on IBM. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890154)

Everybody negotiates with terrorists, they just won't admit to it.

NOOOOOOOOOO! (1)

sethadam1 (530629) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890087)

If SCO is purchased, Darl McBride, Chris Sontagg, David Boies and the other scheming liars that stand by SCO will walk away rich. I'd much rather endure this retardedness for awhile longer and see them rot in prison, embarassed. I hope they are found guilty and their families are grossly ashamed.

But I'm not bitter.

This is not pump and dump (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890104)

Just go and buy off SCO (Thats what SCO wants anyway)

I'm more cynical -- I think that the idea that SCO are just about making a load of money is just a cover for what they really are -- a front for M$ trying various legal tactics against Free software.

Re:This is not pump and dump (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890197)

Exactly. SCO is Microsoft's whore, paid in cash and sent to fuck with Linux.

Re:Come on IBM. (4, Insightful)

surprise_audit (575743) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890110)

Why would IBM want to buy SCO, when they can pound them into the ground, and then be handed their assets in settlement by the judge? Much more satisfying for all concerned - well, all that matter, anyway... :)

Fuck no! (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890175)

Crush them. Sheesh, since when do you negotiate with terrorists?

(hidden deals with terrorists notwithstanding, see for instance the German Olympic Games incident)

Re:Come on IBM. (1)

BadDreamer (196188) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890220)

And when the next baker's dozen of companies go "hey, what a way to get bought up!" and file frivolous lawsuits? Buy them as well? Or pick one to make an example of then and hope to wash away the stain of having paid out to extortionists once?

No, it's sound business for IBM to pound SCO to soggy pulp and suck the remains up through a straw. Not to mention much more satisfying to watch from the sidelines.

It's obvious (5, Insightful)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890064)

This has to be some pathetic cry for help. Later, we'll look back and think "If we'd said something or done something, perhaps it didn't have to happen that way." Then we'll remember that it was Darl and SCO, and shrug.

Better Business Bureau (4, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890065)

According to the BBB, this is what they have to say about SCO.

"Based on BBB files, this company has a satisfactory record with the Bureau. Any complaints processed by the Bureau in its three-year reporting period have been resolved. The number and type of complaints are not unusual for a company in this industry. "

Something is not....right.

Thank you Miss Clavel? (1)

leonbrooks (8043) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890107)

Something is not....right.

SCOX has appendicitis?

Better Business Bureau - a paper tiger (5, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890189)

The Better Business Bureau is a paper tiger - just because a company is listed as "satisfactory" with them does not mean the company is not a wretched hive of scum and villany.

The BBB used to be feared and respected - threatening a company with "I'll report you to the BBB" caused great gnashing of teeth and usually got things fixed quickly.

But little by little, companies realised that they could target the BBB with lawsuits for definition^Wdefamation of character. They realised that they could join the BBB, and thus slowly subvert its goals toward their own ends.

Little by little the BBB became flooded with reports, and little by little the BBB began to pursue only the most egregious examples of behavior - ignoring little things to concentrate on "what really matters".

Little by little, the response to "I'll report you to the BBB" became <voice name="butthead">" Yawn Yeah, whatever, go 'way, you suck"</voice>

True, if you find a company listed as "unsatisfactory" by the BBB you should run as though the very demons of hell pursued thee, but assuming that a clean bill of health from the BBB means that a company is clean is a very WRONG leap of faith.

(For fun, you can go through the above with the following replacements and it will be equally valid:

s/BBB/MAPS/g

or

s/businesses/posters/g && s/BBB/moderators/g
)

Re:Better Business Bureau - a paper tiger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890243)

I trust www.resellerratings.com more than I trust the BBB. Speaking of that, I think we should all go to www.resellerratings.com and make an entry for SCO , since I cannot seem to find one there ;)

Re:Better Business Bureau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890206)

Didn't they also claim that ENRON was a decent company?

advert alongside story (5, Funny)

gingerTabs (532664) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890070)

Yes I skimmed the story, and I was pleasantly surprised to see an advert for IBMs linux solutions halfway down the main body of the text. That's intelligent ad placement at it's best :)

With an IBM Linux ad (1)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890079)

Very cool, the major ad on the page is an IBM Linux ad featuring the Linux kid from their commercial.

Next Up: SCO FIles Bankrupcy (1)

spotteddog (234814) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890080)

SCO will next file bankrupcy brought on by excessive legal fees and the spiraling out of control cost of printing, and mailing "You better not be doing anything naughty" letters.

McBride heard to say, "All I wanted was a pen pal or two. Someone to buy me dinner once in a while, take me to a movie maybe."

Re:Next Up: SCO FIles Bankrupcy (2, Interesting)

YanceyAI (192279) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890100)

SCO also announced its first full year of profitability today, reporting $5.3m in net income for its 2003 financial year, which ended 31 October, despite legal fees paid out to wage its Unix copyright fight. That fight began when SCO in March filed a $1bn lawsuit against IBM for allegedly breaching its Unix licensing contract.

Unfortunately, they still turned a profit.

Re:Next Up: SCO FIles Bankrupcy (1)

spotteddog (234814) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890128)

Yes, they turned a profit - that they are using up sending out all those FUD letters

Hell no. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890194)

Pro-forma, yes. Not GAAP. Guess which system Enron used till the end?

Re:Next Up: SCO FIles Bankrupcy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890106)

Like anyone would take Jar Jar McBride out for anything other than a one-way drive?

SCO shareholders lawsuit? (4, Interesting)

jridley (9305) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890086)

From the article:
SCO also announced its first full year of profitability today, reporting $5.3m in net income for its 2003 financial year

The company would have reported net income of $14.3m for the year had it not reported a charge of nearly $9m to pay law firms involved in the lawsuit and related efforts to "enforce its intellectual property rights", SCO officials said.

So, any bets on how long after all the SCO claims are thrown out as frivilous until the shareholders sue the officers for throwing money away on lawyers instead of paying dividends?

The officers are legally required to maximize shareholder value. Spewing frivilous lawsuits like a leaky hose doesn't qualify.

Re:SCO shareholders lawsuit? (2, Interesting)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890248)

The company would have reported net income LOSS of $9.7m for the year had it not reported one time fud money donations form msft and sunw.

Without those fud money donations, what will 2004 look like?

Balance sheet (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890088)

There's also a decent breakdown of the company's balance sheet and some quotes from company officials

Here it is, for your viewing enjoyment:

+56.00 1 x Uniware license w/ rebate
-700.00 1 x 1 hour, law firm
-1500.00 1 x law firm, misc.
-89100.65 10000 x threatening letter photocopies, envelopes and stamps
- 23000.00 1 x Blake stowel xmas bonus
- 100000.00 1 x Darl McBride xmas bonus
+699.00 1 x SCO license
-450.99 1 x christmas meal for law firm's Dachsund
- 5000.00 2 x conference call with law firm
- 1500000.00 4 x Payol^H^H^H^H^HReturn on investment for Canopy execs
+9.99 1 x mail-in rebate for postage scale

Company officials statement:

Are we the greatest company in the world or what?

Re:Balance sheet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890124)

priceless!

IBM buying SCO, (1)

Alex (342) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890096)


IBM purchasing SCO is a clear victory for SCO + SCO's lawyers, this is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

Alex

Be careful what you say about SCO (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890103)

If you are posting from a machine running linux, they will sue you.

Gone Fishing (1)

Slick_Snake (693760) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890105)

SCO is just fishing for people to get this licence. The more people they get, if any, the more support they have for their pathetic case.

Re:Gone Fishing (3, Insightful)

Rocketboy (32971) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890185)

Fishing, yes, but not for the license. They sent the letter to license holders. No, what they're fishing for is who is contributing to Linux (any contributions, from any source.) It's a poison pen: admit that you've contributed to Linux (whether from SCO or not) and you can expect at least a discovery lawsuit, if not a full-bore infringement action from SCO. Not terribly clever of them but I think they're running out of alleged infringement examples. They've been reduced to mining their hapless customer base for both more examples as well as more defendents. Things aren't going well in SCO-land, I think.

RB

SCO has noticed the rope stopped moving (5, Interesting)

shanen (462549) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890108)

This is really getting loony--but I just realized that time is up. It's already been about a month since SCO was told to produce some REAL goods. It's obviously some sort of diversionary move, but a really crazy one. I'm straining my brain to understand it, but all I can think is that they want to claim this is how they are "protecting" their IP rather than performing normal due diligence. I bet the judge is not going to be amused. Can you say "contempt of court"?

Remember the NORMAL non-SCO behavior is to say what the disputed IP actually is--but in that case the problem--if there is any real problem--would have been fixed LONG ago. Want to take any bets if there's any code in the 2.6 Linux kernel that has ANY relation at all to anything from SCO?

In related news, SCO admits they paid $9 million to the lawyers last year--but also claims they managed to clear $5 million net. Which number do you trust more? I say the 5 is just more FUDging.

Re:SCO has noticed the rope stopped moving (2, Informative)

shanen (462549) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890145)

Oh yeah, I forgot to explain about the rope in the Subject. While you still have some slack, the rope is falling along with you. When the rope stops moving...

The judge wants to see the goods. He wants to see them NOW. SCO don't have no goods. He's a hanging judge.

Why would I do that? (4, Interesting)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890112)

asking them to certify that they '...are not using Unix code in Linux.'

Running my own small business the question arises why I should certify anything to anyone who has no official business of requesting my certification?

Specifically when it comes to a company who makes the likes of Enron look like a convention of boy scouts?

Re:Why would I do that? (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890125)

The owner of the intellectual property can ask you to certify you're using it in accordance with their licensing...

Whether or not SCO owns the property that is in question here, however, is really what the debate is all about.

Unix is less of a patented system and more of a trade name for any of a number of POSIX-compatible environments -- even system administrators admit this. Linux deliberately breaks 100% compatibility with Unix but they're basically the same in many respects...Which is why Linux is a Unix-like OS.

Re:Why would I do that? (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890158)

If US law allows any private entity to fire off threatening letters to anyone then the system is totally fucked (well, looking what's going on at RIAA vs their customers it probably is).

If a company suspects foul play they shall get a proper supbonea by a proper court, which does have the legal standing to demand an answer or a declaration.

A bunch of goons (regardless if it's SCO, RIAA, MPAA, BSA or the mafia) has no legal standing to demand anything from anyone without going through a court. Period.

Re:Why would I do that? (1)

jay-be-em (664602) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890149)

Specifically when it comes to a company who makes the likes of Enron look like a convention of boy scouts?
Oh come on. I hate SCO just as much as the next but to say that they have done more damage than Enron is just idiotic.

Re:Why would I do that? (4, Insightful)

mormop (415983) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890215)

I wouldn't worry. Until they provide some positive proof that they own whatever it is they claim they own along with a list of the exact code segments, no judge in their right mind would uphold the letter even if you signed it.

It's a bit like saying to someone:

"sign this letter to certify that you aren't using my company's oil in your car".

"What oil company do you own"?

"I'm not telling you that, just sign to say you're not using it"!

It is patently obvious to anyone with even the slightest bit of common sense that it is an unreasonable demand unless you're provided with at least the brand of oil, and proof of the fact that the guy owns it. To date, SCO still have no positive proof of anything until 2005 so you can ignore the ever more demented Darl and Co. at least until then.

Someone create a response template? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890250)

Running my own small business the question arises why I should certify anything to anyone who has no official business of requesting my certification?

Since the existence of "Unix code in Linux" is at the heart of the litigation, and so is the extent of ownership by SCO of legacy Unix after the AT&T/BSD affair, the recipients of the SCO letter would seem to be within their rights to reply with deferral of any such certification until the ongoing legal process has been completed. (Unless of course SCO offered to pay for the work of certification out of their own funds.)

Given the number of letters sent out by SCO, it might be useful for a lawyer or paralegal to draft a response template along these lines as the basis for company replies.

Fantastic Management (1)

spotteddog (234814) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890113)

SCO also announced its first full year of profitability today, reporting $5.3m in net income for its 2003 financial year, which ended 31 October, despite legal fees paid out to wage its Unix copyright fight.

The company would have reported net income of $14.3m for the year had it not reported a charge of nearly $9m to pay law firms involved in the lawsuit and related efforts

I bet the shareholders love the fact that SCO could have almost doubled their profit for the year had they not had those pesky legal fees.

Re:Fantastic Management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890224)

Do you think that Microsoft would have paid all those "licensing fees" to SCO without a guarantee that SCO was going to turn around and spend that money on legal fees against Linux companies?

Isn't their 30 days almost up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890115)

From the second article:

On December 9, a US federal judge in Salt Lake City, Utah, told SCO it should provide, within 30 days, proof of IP infringement.

I make 30 days up tomorrow...

Re:Isn't their 30 days almost up? (2, Informative)

Glamdrlng (654792) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890228)

Depends I suppose if that's 30 days or 30 business days. If it's business days, they'd have until 22 January. InternetWeek [internetwk.com] has it listed as "the end of the week" though.

Whos really cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890118)

SCO _WILL_ win. Purely due to the fact they will continually push BS litigation and FUD against Linux and have good financial backing.

Paid your fee yet? Better yet, just use Windows XP - For a better eXPerience(tm)!

Re:Whos really cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890211)

SCO _WILL_ win. Purely due to the fact they will continually push BS litigation and FUD against Linux and have good financial backing.

Better financial backing than IBM? You must be smoking the good stuff.

Within the bounds... (3, Funny)

mccalli (323026) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890134)

I like the Sontag quote: "...formally communicate to Unix source code licensees and certain commercial Linux end users that they must utilise SCO intellectual property within the bounds of their existing legal agreements...

Err...that's what an existing legal agreement actually is - a formal communication of utilising x within the bounds of what was agreed. I believe -1 Redundant is called for?

Cheers,
Ian

SCO - get lost! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890138)

Darl and SCO, just take your bat and ball and piss off home. We're all thoroughly sick of you!

Dear SCO (5, Funny)

lone_marauder (642787) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890140)

Your imagination is not my problem. I no more need to certify to you that I am not using your intellectual property than that I am not using alien UFO technology in our corporate restrooms. A assertion must stand on its own merit, and any response to that assertion must necessarily be based upon that merit.

Having established that point, I think I have found a use for your assertions in our corporate restrooms.

I wonder.... (5, Funny)

mr i want to go home (610257) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890142)

...if they sent this letter to themselves, given the amount of code they've contributed :)

From the letter:

Neither you nor your contractors or employees with access to the Software Products have contributed any software code based on the Software Products for use in Linux or any other UNIX-based software product.

Waste of time... (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890146)

Perhaps The SCO Group's legal department would have put better use to their time producing evidence of the so-called contract infringement by Monday. Any recipient of the notice should at least wait until Monday to see whether the judge dismisses the case (translation out of legalspeak: Boies and Co get laughed out of court) due to lack of such evidence, which I've seen nothing to indicate they have.

I expect that the following announcement was heard in SCO offices: "Thank you for pressing the self-destruct button. The company will implode in 6 days."

I say they should be reported for criminal offense (1)

auzy (680819) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890153)

I wish I got one. in fact, I'm advising every company who got one to stand up to their rights by reporting them to neccessary authorities, because they are threatening business by posting letters without proof, which I'm sure must be illegal under a few laws.. Any lawyers here got any advise to those businesses affected?

Run SCO or run Linux, not both (4, Insightful)

Zan Zu from Eridu (165657) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890161)

1. You are not running Linux binary code that was compiled from any version of Linux that contains our copyrighted application binary interface code ("ABI Code") specifically identified in the attached notification letter.
So basicly you're not allowed to run Linux anymore if you sign this (unless it's a version prior to 2.4).

case of the bull shits (1)

double_g76 (524604) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890164)

you know those guys that say.... hey this bull shit smells good... and you walk away... thinking.. no way that bull shit smells good.. but then you see the same guy telling you that same bull shit smells good.. over and over till he's or she is blue in the face... like they actually believe it... so one day you say... dood... this bull shit... it smells pretty good! ... hence i think SCO has a case of the bull shits..

Questions remain... (5, Insightful)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890191)

How exactly are the licensees supposed to certify that they're NOT using UNIX code in Linux, if SCO is unwilling to identify said code??? I mean, a kernel changes a lot depending upon what has been compiled in... how do I know if I'm using it or not?

Can somebody mod SCO -1 TROLL?

At the risk of redundancy, the PDF: (2, Informative)

SamiousHaze (212418) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890193)

The PDF is unavailable now but I have a window open with the text. Which is posted below.

December 18, 2003
[Name]
[Address]
Re: AT&T / SCO License No. SOFT-____
Dear UNIX Licensee:
You are designated as Licensee under the above-referenced software licensing agreement
(the "Agreement"). The undersigned SCO Group, Inc. ("SCO") is the successor licensor.
The Agreement is in full force and effect according to its terms.
License Grant to Use UNIX Technology
You were granted under Para. 2.01 of the Agreement:
[A] personal, nontransferable and nonexclusive right to use
in the [Authorized Country] each Software Product
identified in one or more Supplements hereto, solely for
Licensee's own internal business purposes and solely on or
in conjunction with Designated CPU's for such Software
Product. Such right to use includes the right to modify
such Software Product and to prepare derivative works
based such Software Product, provided that the resulting
materials are treated hereunder as part of the original
Software Product.
The Software Product thus includes more than the base System V release licensed by
you. Software Products also includes: (a) the UNIX software release based on UNIX
System V prepared by your UNIX vendor and (b) modifications to, or derivative works
based on, any UNIX product made by you.
Limitations on Use of UNIX Technology
Your limitations on use and other obligations under the Agreement include the following:
Para. 2.05. No right is granted by this Agreement for the
use of Software Products directly for others, or for any use
of Software Products by others. [This is expanded under
2.06 under some contracts.]
Para. 4.01. Licensee agrees that it will not, without prior
written consent of [SCO], export, directly or indirectly,
Software Products covered by this Agreement to any
country outside the[Authorized Country].
Para. 7.06(a) [7.05(a). Licensee agrees that it shall hold all
parts of the Software Products subject to this Agreement in
confidence for [SCO]. Licensee further agrees that it shall
not make any disclosure of any or all of the Software
Products (including methods or concepts utilized therein) to
anyone, except to employees of Licensee to whom such
disclosure is necessary to the use for which rights are
granted hereunder. Licensee shall appropriately notify each
employee to whom such disclosure is made that such
disclosure is made in confidence and shall be kept in
confidence by such employee.
Para. 7.09. Neither this Agreement nor any rights
hereunder, in whole or in part, shall be assignable or
otherwise transferable by Licensee and any purported
assignment or transfer shall be null and void.
Para. 7.10. [N]othing in this Agreement grants to Licensee
the right to sell, lease, or otherwise transfer or dispose of a
Software Product in whole or in part.
Required Certification Re: Use of UNIX
You are also obligated to certify proper use of the Software Products by you under the
Agreement, as required by the following Para. 2.04 2.05:
On [SCO's] request, but not more frequently than annually,
Licensee shall furnish to SCO a statement, certified by an
authorized representative of Licensee, listing the location,
type and serial number of all Designated CPUs hereunder
and stating that the use by Licensee of Software Products
subject to this Agreement has been reviewed and that each
such Software Product is being used solely on such
Designated CPUs (or temporarily on back-up CPUs) for
such Software Products in full compliance with the
provisions of this Agreement. (Emphasis added.)
Accordingly, SCO requires written certification by your authorized representative
under Para. 2.04 within 30 days of receipt of this letter. Such written certification must
include statements that:
1. You are not running Linux binary code that was compiled from any version of Linux
that contains our copyrighted application binary interface code ("ABI Code")
specifically identified in the attached notification letter.
2. You, your contractors and your employees have, to your knowledge, held at all times
all parts of the Software Products (including methods and concepts) in confidence for
SCO.
3. You have appropriately notified each employee and contractor to whom you have
disclosed the Software Products, and taken steps to assure that such disclosure was
made in confidence and must be kept in confidence by such employee or contractor.
Please provide evidence of your compliance with this obligation. This evidence may
include, but not be limited to, nondisclosure agreements, employee policies or
manuals, or other such evidence of compliance..
4. Neither you nor your contractors or employees with access to the Software Products
have contributed any software code based on the Software Products for use in Linux
or any other UNIX-based software product.
5. Neither you nor your contractors or employees have used any part of the Software
Products directly for others, or allowed any use of the Software Products by others,
including but not limited to use in Linux or any other UNIX-based software product.
6. Neither you nor your contractors or employees have made available for export,
directly or indirectly, any part of the Software Products covered by this Agreement to
any country that is currently prohibited from receiving supercomputing technology,
including Syria, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and any other such country, through a
distribution under the General Public License for Linux, or otherwise.
7. Neither you nor your contractors or employees have transferred or disposed of,
through contributions to Linux or otherwise, any part of the Software Product.
8. Neither you nor your contractors or employees have assigned or purported to assign,
any copyright in the Software Products to the General Public License, or otherwise
for use in Linux or another UNIX-based software product.
SCO will not allow UNIX Licensees to make any improper use of the Software
Products, including the use of the Software Products to assist development of Linux. If
you fail to make, or are unable to make, a full and complete certification as required
above within 30 days of receipt hereof, SCO may pursue all legal remedies available to it
including, but not limited to, license termination rights.
Yours truly,
THE SCO GROUP, INC.
By: ___________________________
Bill Broderick
Contracts Administrator

SCO's Grammar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890195)

It seems that the integrity of SCO's grammar(er for you people over the pond) is roughly on par with that of their claims. Note the following exctract from the PDF (Page 1, extract of the license rights):

"..and solely on or in conjunction with Designated CPU's..."

Treat apostraphes with respect. Pretend there is a world wide shortage!

For the dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890198)

What is SCO, why do they claim to own linux? I thot linux wasn't owned by anyone as such, each co owned their own version.
But MS and Sun bought licenses for sth??

SCO called liars in Wall Street Journal (5, Interesting)

eddy (18759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890213)

Saw this on the Yahoo board [yahoo.com] :

"From The Wall Street Journal, 1/5/2004, page B1, by Lee Gomes:"

"As for Linux, when will the courts halt the lies of has-been software maker SCO (with $13 million in funding from Microsoft and Sun -- together at last!) as it tries to make the preposterous claim that it, and not the world, owns the free operating system?"

Not even the business press is taking them seriously any more.

Where's the notification letter? (2)

rsmith (90057) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890214)

... ("ABI code") specifically identified in the attached notification letter

I don't see no notification of copyrighted code?

Does anybody have a copy? (pun intended :-)

SCO (1)

KoolDude (614134) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890223)


With all this childish attempts, I am *officially* convinced that SCO stands for School Children's Operation. :)

Good thing music IP law doesn't do this... (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890227)

Or else Micheal Jackson would probably send notice to thousands of songwriters, asking them to certify that their songs aren't rip-offs of something from "Thriller". It sure sounds ridiculous in that context!

chickens with heads cut off (0)

bbowers (596225) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890236)

*puts on blindfold, takes gun and shoots...

I think they need to stop shooting randomly at stuff till they hopefully get it right and actually find this code they speak of that is in violation. Very funny though that when they do seem to find some code, Linus basically says, "Nope, you're wrong, and here's proof..."

"Hey guys, lets send out more notices, maybe we'll find this needle that we're looking for in the thousands of lines of code..."

Re: Letter (1)

tobybuk (633332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890237)

I think SCO are asking for things their not entitled to uder their agreement with these people. I suggest they reply with the following: Dear SCO We confirm we are in full compliance with our contractual obligations to you as a UNIX licensor. Regards

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7890264)

Surely the burden of proof is on SCO to prove you are actually using their IP and not the reverse?

Simply amazing! SCO are sending out letters asking for their targets to prove a negative.

I remember when this SCO lark started and it had a few people worried, now its just a complete joke. I haven't seen a "What if SCO has a case" post on here for months..

Burden of Proof.. (1)

phelix_da_kat (714601) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890267)

"..asking them to certify that they '...are not using Unix code in Linux.' "

How can the recipient of the notice verify that they have not infringed copyright, when no one (but SCO) knows what the infringing code is??

Business Plan (5, Funny)

corby (56462) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890274)

Great Business Plans in American History

SCO
If you: license our technology
Then: you are first in line when we roll out our sue-the-world plan.

Whack-A-Burger
If you: buy one of our burger value meals
Then: the fry cook gets one free whack at you with a 2-by-4 on your way out of the restaurant

Ben Dover Bowling Lanes
If you: rent one of our lanes for an hour
Then: the ex-convict who works behind the counter demonstrates who is your daddy when you bend over to pick up your bowling shoes

BILLIONS and BILLIONS of customers,, (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7890285)

ok, well maybe it wasn't billions, but didn't SCOG say in their may/june PRs(stop laughing) that they had millions of users world wide. now they are down to 6000.

at this rate they will be in negative numbers by febuary.
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