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SCO Names 1st Lawsuit Target: AutoZone [Updated]

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the suddenly-I-need-auto-parts dept.

Caldera 1252

An anonymous reader writes "News.com reports that SCO has filed the first (of two) soon to be infamous lawsuits. This one is aimed against car part retailer AutoZone, a multi-billion, Fortune 500 company according to the site. Who's next?" Another reader excerpts from SCO's posted claim: 'AutoZone violated SCO's UNIX copyrights by running versions of the Linux operating system that contain code, structure, sequence and/or organization from SCO's proprietary UNIX System V code in violation of SCO's copyrights.' Update: 03/03 16:28 GMT by T : njan writes with the news that SCO just announced during their ongoing conference call another lawsuit, this one "to be filed against Daimler-Chrysler, alleging that they are infringing SCO's copyright by using code relating to 'core operating system functionality' of SCO System 5."

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1252 comments

not just a Linux user (5, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451037)

According to Netcraft, Autozone.com runs on Solaris, using an IBM-modified version of Apache. I wonder if their "disloyalty" to SCO's Unix (in addition to using Linux) factored into their choice of which customer to sue.

Or perhaps SCO hopes to take on Sun as well?

Re:not just a Linux user (5, Interesting)

CrudPuppy (33870) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451053)

Let's hope AutoZone countersues the living daylights out of SCO.

Would this qualify as extortion or racketeering? =)

Re:not just a Linux user (4, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451124)

The most likely course of action, I would think, is that AutoZone will get both the injunction and the rest of the lawsuit put on hold pending the outcome of the IBM/SCO wrangle. In the meantime, it will merely act as a potential financial risk of minimal severity.

It's not like this is a company using Linux to derive their core revenue (like a hosting company, for example) - they are using it more as an operational tool. For them, this is an annoyance, not a critical business threat...

How to litigate... (5, Funny)

Rexz (724700) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451065)

...for fun and profit. I hope those of you considering startups are paying very close attention to SCO's revolutionary example. One day all business will be like this!

Re:not just a Linux user (5, Interesting)

SwissCheese (571510) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451067)

Yes, but we have no idea what they are running behind the firewall or webserver.

Re:not just a Linux user (2, Informative)

nathanhart (754532) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451074)

I noticed this as well, what I am wondering is if they are sueing over the servers they use internally for inventory and such.

Re:not just a Linux user (2, Funny)

TruffleGuy (664280) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451081)

Maybe they think they have IP rights over Solaris =)

Re:not just a Linux user (5, Interesting)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451095)

If their web site doesn't run Linux, I wonder how SCO determined that Autozone is a Linux user. (I imagine that SCO will have to show that specific machines are running Linux.) Did SCO port-probe Autozone's IP space? Is Darl a skript-kiddie?

Re:not just a Linux user (4, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451114)

Uh, hello - they use unix terminals to look up part numbers, etc in every store. How it works is you walk into auto zone and say "hey i need an oil filter for my car" and they ask what kind, year, number of doors, etc, and pull up the part number for you to go find it on the shelf. There's usually 3-5 of them in every store. Companies use computers for things other than web servers....

Re:not just a Linux user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451151)

but the point is how do they know it is a Linux box and not some variant of UNIX. My guess is they used to be an SCO customer who told them "we're switching to linux"

how is this +5 "Interesting"? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451156)

It probably just means they run a WebSphere product as an app server. I'm willing to bet their website had nothing at all to do with the decision to litigate. Odds are, they run in-store or warehousing systems, etc. on Linux servers.

There's more than webservers in life, kids.

Re:not just a Linux user (5, Insightful)

Endive4Ever (742304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451182)

In spite of the main focus of a lot of online denizens, there is more to the world than The Internet. The 'market share' of Web Servers, for instance, is not defined by the number of them that Netcraft can access. Some of the most important web servers are on intranets and totally inaccessable to the public. Some of the most important servers are internal to businesses and unreachable on the Internet.

Really, except for companies that do most of their business in ecommerce (still a real minority) it's only the throw-away boxes that are facing outward.

SCO Success? (2, Interesting)

NeuralAbyss (12335) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451047)

This will be quite a telling point in SCO's recent history.. whether they fail or succeed..

Let's just hope the judge looks at the merits of the case, and gets it thrown out. Precedent is a scary thing when it's involving IT cases.

Re:SCO Success? (2, Interesting)

MicktheMech (697533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451113)

Maybe, but when SCO said the company would be recognizeable I was thinking it would be someone bigger. Will the name "Autozone" be enough to turn corporate heads?

Does SCO has an evidence? (1)

Advocadus Diaboli (323784) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451048)

I guess the world deserves to see the evidence of those claims. If they don't have one, they should go to hell and sue the devil for putting heat on them.

Re:Does SCO has an evidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451089)

"An" evidence? I think it's continuous, not discrete.

Re:Does SCO has an evidence? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451104)

Yes, SCO has exactly one "evidence" against AutoZone. Evidentially you need to get help, as your English skills are somewhat lacking.

Unless you meant to use the word "any" in your post title. Then that would make more sense!

Re:Does SCO has an evidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451155)

Unless you meant to use the word "any" in your post title. Then that would make more sense!

No, it still wouldn't make sense. "Does SCO has any evidence?". It should be "Does SCO have any evidence?". Lighten up though, this isn't grade school.

Support Autozone. (3)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451054)

Well, I hope we can all give them their support anyway.

Why this is more FUD (5, Interesting)

baryon351 (626717) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451055)

The crux of this SCO case seems to not be "Autozone are using linux, and linux contains SCO code (millions of lines or just a few .h files) therefore they're infringing IP" as their press release propaganda infer, but that:

1. Autozone used to use SCO products, and their whole system relied on them
2. Autozone converted to Linux, and IBM made them do so
3. Autozone's custom software which used to run under SCO products now run under Linux
4. They still run well and changed over efficiently, therefore they MUST still be running SCO code/shared libraries/etc with linux to do so, which is a breach of their original contract with SCO.

SCO seem to be insinuating that this is about copyright SCO code in ALL of linux, and autozone are just one of millions of linux users who are infringing, but the details of the case show this is NOT true at all. That makes it FUD. The press have been told for MONTHS that SCO are taking issue with code in linux in general, but now legal action is underway, it's in a case that takes issue with existing SCO code used in linux by a client. No damage to linux in general despite the press releases.

As SCO say...
Upon information and belief, Autozone's new Linux based software implemented by IBM featured SCO's shared libraries which had been stripped out of SCO's UNIX based OpenServer by IBM and embedded inside Autozone's Linux implementation in order to continue to allow the continued operation of Autozone's legacy applications. The basis for SCO's belief is the precision and efficiency with which the migration to Linux occurred, which suggests the use of shared libraries to run legacy applications on Linux. Among other things, this was a breach of the Autozone OpenServer License Agreement for use of SCO software beyond the scope of the license.

They claim IBM made moves to shift Autozone away from Linux, when SCO originally attempted to move autozone to linux themselves

They also claim that SCO shared libraries MUST be being used, because of the efficiency with which this changeover occurred. They don't get it, that they're not indispensible, and Autozone's systems did not rely largely on SCO specific features according to the guy who converted autozone's systems, who posted as such on groklaw here [groklaw.net] . The relevant parts of his post are:

As to the claim that SCO's shared libraries were a necessary part of the port: false. No SCO libraries were involved in the porting activity.

As to the claim that IBM induced us to transition to Linux: false. It was, in fact, SCO's activities that 'greased the skids' and allowed the business case for using Linux to be made more easily. That is a story long in the telling; perhaps I'll share it another day.


I bet SCO keep insisting this is a generic copyright/linux issue, as they infer by claiming "AutoZone violated SCO's UNIX copyrights by running versions of the Linux operating system that contain code, structure, sequence and/or organization from SCO's proprietary UNIX System V code in violation of SCO's copyrights." and don't stress that it's a unique situation with regards to claims an existing customer switched to linux all too easily so must have both used linux and used SCO code in ways they weren't allowed to under their old contract

SCO is appearing like a jealous partner who just can't bear the thought that they're not the entire world to their clients, and are playing the stalking game, and running around town spreading rumours about infidelity. Nothing more, nothing less.

Re:Why this is more FUD (-1, Offtopic)

Amiga Lover (708890) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451133)

SCO is appearing like a jealous partner who just can't bear the thought that they're not the entire world to their clients, and are playing the stalking game, and running around town spreading rumours about infidelity. Nothing more, nothing less.


That reminds me of something I heard about religion and the christian god.

If you knew a woman with a boyfriend who insisted she bow down before him, and if she didn't she'd be cast into eternal pain and be shunned by her friends, and she couldn't associate with others who didn't believe in his superiority, and MUST give parts of her wages to him and his friends, then you'd tell her to get the fuck out of that abusive relationship asap.

When that "abusive boyfriend" is god however, it's all OK. Which, considering darl's affection for mormonism, isn't surprising.

I've known 3 women who've been stalked by obsessive morons, and their stalkers have all used religion as a basis for their hold over the victim. I think you really have something there!

I think you should get your facts straight (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451171)

1. Autozone used to use SCO products, and their whole system relied on them

Autozone used to be a totally SCO shop for all of their point of sale systems.

2. Autozone converted to Linux, and IBM made them do so

IBM had nothing to do with their switching to linux. It was solely based on the fact SCO did not support Autozon in the way and for the cost Autozone felt they should be handled. THus Autozone decided to go with a cheaper alternative as SCO's support was crap.

So, if you wish to tell a story as a member of The linux user group here in Memphis (Autozone's corporate Headquaters,) Learned a great deal and are supported by autozone and allow us to utilize their meeting rooms to benefit the Linux community. And in this has been a pretty big topic and was expectted.

Essentially, Sco had a choice a long time ago, start making more advanced products that can compete. When this did not occur they lost their market share. Now they are calling foul when they are not able to compete.

Re:Why this is more FUD (5, Insightful)

ThisIsFred (705426) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451195)

The basis for SCO's belief is the precision and efficiency with which the migration to Linux occurred, which suggests the use of shared libraries to run legacy applications on Linux.

So? They paid for the original licenses, they can do anything the want with the libraries except re-sell them or reverse engineer them with an intent to reveal the information for profit. SCO would only have a case if AZ was paying a maintenance license, and let it expire.

You gotta be kidding me! This isn't an intellectual property issue, it's a EULA-violation issue. I'd be laughing my ass off if it wasn't for the fact that I'm seriously pissed off about Auto Zone (long time customer).

Bush and crew, if you want re-election, look here: Barratry is bad for business! Tell Ashcroft to stop worrying about abortion doctors and start protecting American jobs and investors!

Gonna go buy (4, Interesting)

xaoslaad (590527) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451056)

A case of oil, some new tools, anything else it looks like I might need in the forseable future.

Usually I hate paying for this stuff, but it will be a little sweeter knowing that at least some of it will go towards fighting off SCO.

BBC Article (-1, Informative)

L-s-L69 (700599) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451057)

Re:BBC Article (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451108)

Yeah, informative with reference to a Slashdot piece from 2 fricjing days ago...

Re:BBC Article (3, Informative)

zhenlin (722930) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451127)

Mod parent down, the link is mislinked.

The article [bbc.co.uk]

Re:BBC Article (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451137)

how the hell did this get marked as informative, did anyone actually CLICK the link? (or look at the url)

Legal Defense Fund (4, Interesting)

The G (7787) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451058)

Anyone out there setting up a legal defense fund so we can chip in to help these guys fight the good fight? If we don't help out SCO targets today, any of us could be next.
--G

Re:Legal Defense Fund (5, Insightful)

Sentosus (751729) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451102)

Autozone is one of the few companies doing well right now... They do not need our assistance... YET...

Your best assistance would be to go to http://finance.yahoo.com under the stock symbol AZO. Go to the messageboards and reassure the stock holders reading the messageboard there that this is just part of SCO's continuing practice and the lawsuit should be taken lightly.

Re:Legal Defense Fund (1)

Tomahawk (1343) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451145)

I'm wondering if they need the help, financially. They are, after all, a Fortune 500 company and are, seemingly, worth billions.

Didn't IBM also offer money some time ago to help fight SCO in any legal challenges they made?

However, it would be nice to be able to say that the Linux community as a whole is behind them, and having a fund would give more visability of this support.

T.

buy some autoparts (1, Interesting)

acomj (20611) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451194)

Need some computer parts?, perhaps a new headlight, some oil, washer fluid... Neon for you cpu case. Driving gloves for those long coding sessions?

You know where to go now...

Re:Legal Defense Fund (4, Interesting)

amcnabb (682951) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451198)

Anyone out there setting up a legal defense fund so we can chip in to help these guys fight the good fight? If we don't help out SCO targets today, any of us could be next.

Correction: Any of us who used to use SCO Unix and is migrating to Linux could be next. If you don't have a contract with SCO and aren't a distributor of Unix or Linux, i.e., if you are normal end user, there is nothing they could possibly get you for.

Besides, if the allegations aren't true, and no SCO libraries are being used, it should be easy to prove and this case will be dropped very quickly (at least quick for the judicial system).

Kernel version? (2, Insightful)

venomix (87217) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451059)

If I've gotten this thing right, the claimed SCO source is in some specific versions of the Linux kernel... how exactly does SCO find out which version a company is using?

Re:Kernel version? (1)

WerewolfOfVulcan (320426) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451117)

nmap -sV random.victim.with.money.com

Re:Kernel version? (1)

venomix (87217) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451153)

Does that really work in as proof in court?

Re:Kernel version? (1)

beware1000 (678753) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451188)

It barely works as proof that is the Operating System running.. I'd love to see a lawsuit based on it though :P

Re:Kernel version? (1)

beware1000 (678753) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451165)

Maybe they have disclosed it in past articles... or maybe they are relying on good old 'nmap -O' ;)

Random Company (2, Funny)

daub815 (686303) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451060)

Out of all of the companies that use Linux, I think they choose the most random company.

Re:Random Company (2, Funny)

and by (598383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451175)

I'm willing to bet that they just started at "a," and (if successful) will just continue down the list.

I wonder... (3, Funny)

blcamp (211756) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451061)


Is there a way to DDoS Darl's car? Hmmm...

Re:I wonder... (2, Funny)

SmackCrackandPot (641205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451140)

>Is there a way to DDoS Darl's car? Hmmm...
Yes, it's called rush-hour traffic.

ha ha ha ha ha..... (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451064)

...the sound of the judge as SCO is laughed out of court, and thier lawyers are Disbarred for being DUMBASSes. This is a frivolas lawsuit for which any lawyer supporting deserves disbarring.

Autozone???? Not quite expected (5, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451066)

Autozone? This is way out of the typical "tech sphere"; I would have expected suits against other tech companies.

Now SCO is going to provoke the wrath of the automotive industry and enthusiasts; an entire new group of people to learn to hate SCO.

That's interesting... (2, Insightful)

NeoOokami (528323) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451068)

Perhaps they chose Autozone as an easy target? Cars aren't normally associated with computers that much so... perhaps they expect a non-tech based company to just get scared and settle for cash or maybe just do a bad job defending itself? This could just be their way of trying to stab at a large and noticeable, but "weak" target.

Re:That's interesting... (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451147)

Cars aren't normally associated with computers that much so...

But retail businesses that manage incredibly broad inventories at hundreds of stores are. Seems to me like this is a move against IBM's Linux-should-run-your-supply-chain marketing, as well as jealous rage for dumping SCO.

Re:That's interesting... (3, Funny)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451181)

Autozone has a market cap of 7.71 Billion US$ [yahoo.com] . It appears that the only meritorious aspect of this action on SCO's part is that the bitch slapping they are going to get is going to be so hard and so thorough as to leave them unable to persue litigation against anyone else.

Here's what SCO said about AutoZone in its Interro (1, Interesting)

anandpur (303114) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451070)

From GROKLAW with Thanks

Here's what SCO said about AutoZone in its Interrogatory Number 8:

SUPPLEMENTAL RESPONSE TO INTERROGATORY NO. 8:

IBM interfered with SCO's software licensing agreement with Autozone for the SCO OpenServer software operating system, Contract # 1V736, effective January 24, 2001 (the Autozone OpenServer License Agreement). Under the Autozone OpenServer License Agreement, Autozone utilized the SCO software as the foundation from which to conduct all store operations including inventory tracking, point of sale transactions, back office server activities, event monitoring and to enable corporate updates to be transmitted to all retail locations.

In mid-2000, upon information and belief, IBM approached Autozone in an effort to induce Autozone to breach its agreement with SCO. In the second quarter of 2001, IBM was actively advising Autozone's internal software group about converting to Linux. In the second quarter of 2001, despite the Autozone OpenServer License Agreement with SCO, upon information and belief, IBM finally successfully induced Autozone to cease using the SCO software and to use Linux with IBM's version of UNIX. Autozone ultimately decided not to pay SCO the annual fee to continue to maintain the SCO products and, upon information and belief, with the encouragement of IBM, began the efforts required for conversion to Linux.

Upon information and belief, Autozone's new Linux based software implemented by IBM featured SCO's shared libraries which had been stripped out of SCO's UNIX based OpenServer by IBM and embedded inside Autozone's Linux implementation in order to continue to allow the continued operation of Autozone's legacy applications. The basis for SCO's belief is the precision and efficiency with which the migration to Linux occurred, which suggests the use of shared libraries to run legacy applications on Linux. Among other things, this was a breach of the Autozone OpenServer License Agreement for use of SCO software beyond the scope of the license.

Upon information and belief, Autozone is currently in breach of the Autozone OpenServer License Agreement in that Autozone is improperly using "shared libraries" (short cuts and methods which allow programs to interface with one another and the services of the operating system) contained in the OpenServer (UNIX based) operating system to enable "legacy applications" to function on Linux. Legacy applications are those versions of software applications that have a lengthy and proven track record of high level function and reliability. The legacy applications utilized by Autozone were designed specifically to operate with OpenServer (UNIX based) shared libraries, but do not function with Linux shared libraries.

IBM was aware of the Autozone OpenServer License Agreement. IBM knew that the SCO OpenServer shared libraries were proprietary to SCO. Therefore, IBM knew, or should have known, that by assisting Autozone to implement Linux to support legacy applications by improperly incorporating the SCO OpenServer shared libraries, it was interfering with SCO's agreement with Autozone and otherwise inducing Autozone to act wrongfully towards SCO. Upon information and belief, IBM's inducing and assisting Autozone to breach its license agreement with SCO was an act that constitutes interference with contract. Upon information and belief, IBM profited by the interference by earning significant professional services fees in performing the switch from SCO OpenServer to Linux.

SCO does not presently know the specific dates on which the interference occurred, how it occurred or which IBM or Autozone employees were involved because SCO was not present when IBM sold Linux-related services to Autozone, when IBM assisted Autozone in the design of the new Linux system deploying legacy applications that depended on SCO OpenServer shared libraries in order to function, or when IBM performed the professional services to assist Autozone to improperly deploy OpenServer shared libraries inside its IBM-provided Linux implementation. More specific information, such as which IBM and Autozone employees were involved, is in the possession of IBM and/or Autozone and will require additional discovery from at least IBM and Autozone.

So.... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451072)

Now that SCO has pu their fraud, extortion, and racketeering on paper, when does the criminal suit from the DoJ get filed?

Newwire (4, Informative)

glassesmonkey (684291) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451073)

LAS VEGAS, Mar 3, 2004 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- The SCO Group, Inc. (SCOX, Trade), the owner of the UNIX(R) operating system and a leading provider of UNIX-based solutions, today announced it has filed suit against AutoZone, Inc., for its alleged violations of SCO's UNIX copyrights through its use of Linux.
SCO's lawsuit alleges the following:
* AutoZone violated SCO's UNIX copyrights by running versions of the Linux operating system that contain code, structure, sequence and/or organization from SCO's proprietary UNIX System V code in violation of SCO's copyrights.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Nevada, requests injunctive relief against AutoZone's further use or copying of any part of SCO's copyrighted materials and also requests damages as a result of AutoZone's infringement in an amount to be proven at trial.

The company will discuss this announcement as part of its regularly scheduled conference call related to first quarter earnings, scheduled for Wednesday, March 3 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. To participate on the call, individuals may dial 1-800-818-5264 or 1-913-981-4910 and use the confirmation code: 141144. Alternatively, a listen-only live web cast is available at http://ir.sco.com/medialist.cfm. Call participants are encouraged to dial in 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.

Don't forget today's phone conference (4, Informative)

corebreech (469871) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451075)

SCO is having a phone conference today at 9:00am MST (11:00am EST), remember [slashdot.org] ?

Further info (5, Informative)

gowen (141411) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451079)

Here [groklaw.net] is an interesting GrokLaw post from the man at AutoZone who helped them transition from UnixWare to Linux, blowing apart most of these claims.

Bearing in mind that this post is over 2 weeks old, you'd think someone at SCO would have noticed that their claims are basically debunked.

PS : SCO quarterly losses up to $2.25 million for fiscal Q1. Ouch.

Go Buy Fuzzy Dice (3, Funny)

Dethboy (136650) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451080)

And hang them on your Linux box!

Get in the Zone! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451082)

Lawsuit Zone!

SCO Quote of the Day (3, Interesting)

tweakt (325224) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451084)

Linux Kernel Personality [thescogroup.com]

The Linux(R) Kernel Personality (LKP) for UnixWare 7.1.3 provides Linux environment hosted on the UnixWare kernel. This environment does not contain a Linux kernel, but does contain the RPMs needed to run most Linux applications. By invoking the UnixWare kernel to run the Linux application, the application gets all of the performance and scalability advantages that UnixWare delivers. Linux applications that are disk or database intensive, or require support for a large number of users, typically perform with greater stability, reliability, and scalability when deployed on the UnixWare LKP environment.

Access to the Linux and UNIX environments is provided for both applications and the user. Common system files, such as password files, are automatically updated between environments.

SCO understands that customers are looking for alternatives to Linux. But making changes always introduces risk. LKP is an easy and low risk tool to help the migration from Linux to UnixWare. The benefits of LKP are:

...<snip>

Yeah SCO... you /really/ understand alright!

Long road to go... (1)

Aurix (610383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451085)

Problem is, We'll still be waiting a long time before this case is heard out. SCO might even be out of the picture then.. =(

In related news... (1)

MC_Cancer_Pants (728724) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451087)

The SCO won't ever give up. Get used to it.

I posted this over on Groklaw... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451088)

From the response to interrogatory 8:

In the second quarter of 2001, despite the Autozone OpenServer License Agreement with SCO, upon information and belief, IBM finally successfully induced Autozone to cease using the SCO software and to use Linux with IBM's version of UNIX. Autozone ultimately decided not to pay SCO the annual fee to continue to maintain the SCO products and, upon information and belief, with the encouragement of IBM, began the efforts required for conversion to Linux.

Sounds like SCO is whining because someone dropped their old, obsolescent Unix. So if I trade in a Chevy for a Ford, GM can sue me if I still have payments left on my loan?

And this:

The basis for SCO's belief is the precision and efficiency with which the migration to Linux occurred, which suggests the use of shared libraries to run legacy applications on Linux.

In other words, we at SCO are too dumb to make Linux work, so IBM had to steal our stuff to make their solution work.

Gandalf voice (0, Offtopic)

macMaestro (741440) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451091)

And so it begins...

Re:Gandalf voice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451192)

Wow, Gandalf quoting Theoden?

Autozone? Seriously, that's odd (4, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451092)

Why would SCO not take on a more easily defeatable company, i.e. a software company? Autozone has thousands if not millions of loyal blue-collar customers that could care less what o/s Autozone is running. If SCO wanted to make a point by suing someone, it should be RedHat or some such company that is distributing the systems. You can't blame Autozone for buying a product, but you can blame the company that sold it to them.

Autozone shareholders (3, Informative)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451093)

So now SCO's sleazy game extends to Autozone shareholders.
The symbol is AZO. As of this writing they're down $4.40, to 84.00, in pre-market trading.

Re:Autozone shareholders (2, Interesting)

Alphi1 (557250) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451131)

So now SCO's sleazy game extends to Autozone shareholders. The symbol is AZO. As of this writing they're down $4.40, to 84.00, in pre-market trading.

Maybe this is me just being paranoid and/or conspiratorial, but what are the odds that some anonymous SCO investors might have considered "selling short" some of Autozone's public stock, just prior to this announcement?

Sure, that'd be considered insider trading, I would think. But with all the chaos going on right now with their lawsuit, would it even be noticed?

I believe..... (1, Funny)

overbyj (696078) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451096)

SCO "believes" that AutoZone violated its license with SCO by using shared libraries? Of course, the evidence SCO must have on that one is piled high.

However, I "believe" that SCO is the biggest bunch of dumbasses around. My evidence for that is really piled high.

proof (4, Funny)

mrsev (664367) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451101)

SCO: you stole our stuff!
Autozone: what stuff?
SCO: you know ... like, our stuff.
Autozone: ...er? we need more info than that.
SCO: I could tell you but then i would have to kill you!

Doesn't Autozone use SCO? (1)

sn0wcrash (223995) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451103)

I can remember more than once being at the 24hr Autozone and not being able to purchase anything cause thier system was down for cleanup. This being like midnight on a friday or such. I disticntly remember the terminals all had SCO in the text blurb on them. Maybe I was confused.. I was afer all getting car parts in the middle of the night. Crappy parts at that, considering I was at Autozone.

Autozone used to use SCO (2, Informative)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451167)

This is what the lawsuit is all about. Autozone ported their SCO point of sale system to Linux. SCO is arguing that they are using SCO binary libraries to do so and that doing such is a violation of SCO's copyrights.

Apparently the best way to get sued by SCO is to do business with them.

The real reason for the suit (at least I think so) (2, Funny)

ZackSchil (560462) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451105)

Psh... Linux, Unix, whatever. They should just be sued on the grounds that they encourage "ricing out" cars and have that terrible CG tire and jingle in their cable commercials.

Get in the zone... Aww - tow - zone! (We have lightbars for your shitty Honda Civic!)

AutoZone's Defense (2, Funny)

Clemence (16887) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451106)

A bunch of geeks from SCO and their lawyers (IAAL - we're all pencil-necked geeks, too) are taking on a bunch of greaser/gearheads who can call on their new spokesman biker/builder Monster Garage host Jesse James for help.

Those tatooed knuckles and huge guns of his could make short work of this fight.

For the lazy.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451112)

The article:

SCO files suit against AutoZone [com.com]
Last modified: March 3, 2004, 4:42 AM PST
By Mike Ricciuti
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

SCO alleges that AutoZone "violated SCO's Unix copyrights by running versions of the Linux operating system that contain code, structure, sequence and/or organization from SCO's proprietary Unix System V code in violation of SCO's copyrights," according to a statement from the company.

Memphis, Tenn.-based AutoZone has about 3,000 stores nationwide. Company representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Nevada, requests injunctive relief against AutoZone's further use or copying of any part of SCO's copyrighted materials and also requests damages as a result of AutoZone's infringement in an amount to be proven at trial.

Separately, the company announced Wednesday a wider loss for its fiscal first quarter. The company said its net loss, after paying preferred dividends, was $2.25 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with a loss of $724,000, or 6 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue for the quarter, which ended Jan. 31, fell to $11.4 million from $13.5 million in the same period a year ago.

SCO said it will further discuss the lawsuit later Wednesday as part of its earnings call.

SCO may file other suits. On Tuesday, a company representative said there was a "high possibility" that the company would announce two suits on Wednesday.

Lawsuits have long been expected. SCO Chief Executive Darl McBride announced on Monday plans to file a suit, but he didn't identify the company. SCO threatened in November to sue Linux users, although it missed a self-imposed mid-February deadline to do so.

SCO, which owns a disputed amount of Unix intellectual property, inherited the agreements by which inventor AT&T and its successors licensed the operating system to IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, Silicon Graphics, numerous universities and others. SCO has sued IBM for more than $5 billion in damages, alleging Big Blue violated its Unix contract by moving Unix technology to Linux that it should have kept secret.

IBM denies wrongdoing and has countersued SCO for patent infringement. Meanwhile, Novell, a previous Unix owner, claims it owns Unix copyrights, forcing SCO to sue to establish ownership. And Linux seller Red Hat has sued SCO to try to establish that Linux doesn't violate SCO copyrights or trade secrets.

SCO argues that companies must pay for a SCO intellectual property license to use Linux and thus avoid legal action--a license that costs $699 for a single-processor server. On Monday, EV1Servers.net became the first company to acknowledge signing up for the program.

/. readers predict the future ;-) (4, Insightful)

T-Kir (597145) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451119)

After just reading this thread [slashdot.org] and Groklaw afterwards... I think that SCO should give /. more credit, especially after the "the ranting and dribble that takes place on Slashdot" comment...

Now then Ye Prophets of SlashDot, what more predictions can we get from our 'crystal balls' (LCD screens will do) today :)

Don't let the FUD have an effect. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451128)

Everyone, if you're good at doing so, write a letter
to Autozone so they know the current situation
and won't go down without a fight.

AutoZone uses Linux?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451129)

There's one up the road here. While I'm looking for a job, maybe I should apply for a job there to help fight the SCO Evil Empire and promote linux!

The best comment so far (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451130)

is from a reader on Groklaw. He believed that SCO filed suit in Nevada to avoid the judges in Utah because if they had brought this crap before them, the judges in Utah would have whacked SCO so hard on the pee-pee that Darl's grandkids would be sterile.

Go get'em Judge Kimball and Wells!

IP case for the investors, not the real meat (3, Insightful)

RenegadeTempest (696396) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451132)

The meat of SCO's case will not be the IP Infringment. They are also trying to catch AutoZone for a contract violation in the contract they signed when they bought SCO Unix. They might be able to win a breach of contract suit. The problem is that they will do their best to spin it to the press as a Linux IP infringement suit. Just another pump and dump scheme.

Lazy and trifling (1)

Techmaniac (447838) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451136)

Couldn't SCO just, uh, WORK instead of playing the lifetime stoner child that won't leave home?

From the original Autozone reporter (0, Redundant)

dannu (255262) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451138)

On Groklaw Jim Greer, who claims to have been responsible for the port of Autozone's software to linux speaks out in a [cohttp]
interesting comment refuting some of SCOX claims. Here is the full comment in case groklaw is overloaded (quite often these days):
I don't know whether to be pleased or angry at SCO's assertion that IBM must have assisted AutoZone's transition to Linux due to the "precision and efficiency with which the migration occurred". You see, I was a Sr. Technical Advisor at AutoZone, where I was an employee for over 10 years. During my tenure, I participated and led in the design, development and maintenance of many of AutoZone's store systems. More importantly, I initiated AutoZone's transition to Linux and I directed the port of their existing store software base to Linux. I personally ported all of AutoZone's internal software libraries for use under Linux. I personally developed the rules by which other AutoZone developers should make changes to their code to support both Linux and SCO's OpenServer product. I believe at one point I had as many as 35 AutoZone developers performing porting work for me, much of which was trivial, given that our code did not generally rely on SCO specific features and that the more technologically sophisticated portions of our code tended to reside in our libraries. The developers were also responsible for testing their individual applications under both SCO and Linux; I supplemented this activity by performing builds of the entire AutoZone store software base on my desktop, which I had converted to Linux.


As to the claim that SCO's shared libraries were a necessary part of the port: false. No SCO libraries were involved in the porting activity.

As to the claim that IBM induced us to transition to Linux: false. It was, in fact, SCO's activities that 'greased the skids' and allowed the business case for using Linux to be made more easily. That is a story long in the telling; perhaps I'll share it another day.

One should remember the Linux business environment that existed at the time the AutoZone transition began. Several vendors - the original Caldera Linux distribution company, Red Hat, and Linuxcare - were offering support for enterprise installations of Linux. In fact, Bryan Sparks, then CEO of Caldera, flew to Memphis and met with me during my evaluation of the various distribution and support offerings. I also met and talked briefly with Dave Sifry of Linuxcare during the 1999 Linux Expo. AutoZone settled on Red Hat chiefly because of my familiarity with their distribution and the ease with which AutoZone could negotiate a support agreement with them.

I must add that SCO was eventually made aware of AutoZone's transition to Linux. They responded by offering to assist AutoZone in the porting activity. By the time of their offer, AutoZone had already completed the initial porting activity and had already installed a Linux-based version of their store system in several stores.

Finally, I'll add that I was for a time a member of SCO's Customer Advisory Board. As such, I believe I have some useful insights as to why SCO lost AutoZone's and several other large accounts' business.

Regards, Jim Greer

Re:From the original Autozone reporter (2, Informative)

dannu (255262) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451169)

ups, sorry, the url morphed into something silly (don't ask me how i did that), here is the [groklaw.net]
correct link. Maybe it has the nice side effect that groklaw won't be slashdotted :-)

Interesting. (1)

Stupid White Man (750118) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451139)

Out of all the companies worldwide that are running linux, they chose autozone?

Is anyone keeping score? How many lawsuits are out there re: sco now anyway.

Sco vs. IBM and IBM countered with
IBM Vs. SCO then Novell jumped in? I checked Groklaw and I can't make heads or tails.

Who's keeping score?

Re:Interesting. (1)

DjReagan (143826) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451186)

There's also CyberKnight's complaint in to the ACCC in Australia, and the Redhat vs SCO in Delaware.

SCOX 1Q statement (5, Informative)

glassesmonkey (684291) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451142)

LINDON, Utah, Mar 3, 2004 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- The SCO Group, Inc. (SCOX [slashdot.org] , Trade [slashdot.org] ), owner of the UNIX operating system and a leading provider of UNIX-based solutions, today reported revenue of $11,392,000 for the quarter ended January 31, 2004. In the comparable quarter of the prior year, the Company generated revenue of $13,540,000. Revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2004 was in line with the Company's expectations, and was comprised of $11,372,000 from UNIX products and services and $20,000 from SCOsource initiatives.

For the first quarter of fiscal year 2004, the Company reported a net loss applicable to common stockholders of $2,253,000, or $0.16 per diluted common share. The Company reported a net loss applicable to common stockholders of $724,000, or $0.06 per diluted common share, in the comparable quarter of the prior year. The net loss applicable to common stockholders for the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 was reduced by $3,624,000 of income resulting from the change in fair value of the derivative associated with the Company's previously issued Series A Convertible Preferred Stock. The loss from operations for the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 was $5,169,000 compared to a loss of $738,000 for the comparable quarter in the prior year. The loss from operations for the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 includes costs of $3,440,000 related to the Company's SCOsource licensing initiatives. These initiatives had not yet commenced in the comparable quarter of the prior year.

"Our revenue and results of operations for the first quarter were consistent with our expectations," said Darl McBride, President and CEO. "In coming quarters, we will continue to expand our SCOsource initiatives, with an ongoing campaign to defend and protect SCO's intellectual property assets, which will include continued end-user lawsuits and negotiations regarding intellectual property licenses. At the same time, we are committed to supporting our extensive UNIX customer base and leveraging our UNIX business for future growth opportunities. Over time, these two efforts are expected to yield positive long-term results for our stockholders."

Financial Outlook

The following financial outlook reflects expected contributions from the Company's two business lines, SCOsource and UNIX products and services. These statements are forward looking and actual results may differ materially. See the discussion of certain risks and uncertainties related to this financial outlook at the end of this release under "Forward-Looking Statements."

For its second fiscal quarter ending April 30, 2004, the Company currently expects total revenue to be in the range of $10,000,000 to $14,000,000. Revenue from the Company's SCOsource initiatives remains difficult to predict in the short-term due to the nature of these licensing transactions and the variability of the timing of revenue recognition. However, the Company anticipates revenue from its SCOsource initiatives will increase in future periods.

Operating expenses relating to the Company's UNIX business for the next three quarters are anticipated to decrease from the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 and comparable quarters of the prior year as the Company's worldwide operations continue to become more efficient. Expenses associated with SCOsource initiatives for the next three quarters are expected to remain consistent with expenses incurred in the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 as the Company continues its legal strategy to enforce and protect its UNIX intellectual property.

Conference Call

As previously announced, the Company will host a conference call at 11:00 a.m. EST today, March 3, 2004, to discuss its first quarter 2004 results. To participate in the teleconference, please call (800) 818-5264 or (913) 981-4910, confirmation code 141144, approximately five minutes prior to the time stated above. A listen-only Web cast of the call will be broadcast live with a replay available the following day. The Web cast and replay may be accessed from http://ir.sco.com/medialist.cfm.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release, particularly the "Financial Outlook" section, contains forward-looking statements representing the Company's current expectations and beliefs, including, among other things: (i) the expectation that the Company will continue to expand its SCOsource initiatives, including continued end-user lawsuits and negotiations regarding intellectual property licenses; (ii) the Company's intention to support its UNIX customer base and leverage its UNIX business for future growth opportunities; (iii) expected consolidated revenue in the second quarter of fiscal 2004 of $10 million to $14 million with UNIX products and services revenue being consistent with or slightly lower than UNIX revenue generated in the first fiscal quarter of 2004; (iv) the Company's anticipation that revenue from its SCOsource initiatives will increase in future periods; (v) the expectation that expenses related to its UNIX business will decrease for the next three quarters compared to the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 and comparable quarters of the prior year; and (vi) the expectation that expenses related to the SCOsource initiatives for the next three quarters will remain consistent with those expenses incurred during the first quarter of fiscal 2004. These forward-looking statements and related assumptions are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and outcomes to differ materially from any forward-looking statements contained herein. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation: (a) risks that the Company will not be successful in its efforts to protect and enforce its intellectual property rights; (b) risks that the Company will not be able to expand and grow its core UNIX business and that such business may decline; (c) risks that the Company will face increasing competition from competing providers of operating system products and services; (d) risks that the U.S. and international economic and political conditions will worsen and adversely affect technology purchases; (e) risks that the Company's SCOsource licensing initiatives will yield fewer licenses or less licensing revenue than anticipated or that such licensing revenue will not be generated when or in amounts currently anticipated; (f) risks that the Company will require more capital than anticipated; and (g) other risks and uncertainties set forth in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements after the date hereof.

How can you tell ? (2, Interesting)

johnhennessy (94737) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451146)

Apart from checking a publicly accessibly box (i.e. web server), How can you legally prove that company X is running linux - aside from entering the premises and logging in.

And unless the login prompt says "Welcome to company Y's Linux system" how do you prove that such system is running linux - a version of linux that has your "IP".

I don't think that X/Gnome/KDE login screens give the version of linux that you're running either.

I'm not sure if even the version will suffice. The version one admin is running mightn't even have the parts that SCO claim are theirs. Where does that leave you ?

SCO, y'all suck! (5, Interesting)

Sunkist (468741) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451150)

Being from Memphis, I am well aware how supportive AutoZone folks are of Linux, as many AutoZone techs are members of GOLUM [golum.org] .

I hope AutoZone countersues them into the ground in a most genteel, southernly manner.

Now off for my morning bowl of hot grits.

Just my luck.. (5, Funny)

Otto (17870) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451152)

The day after I get a job offer from AutoZone, they get sued by SCO. Great. Just fuckin' great.

Re:Just my luck.. (-1, Troll)

MalaclypseTheYounger (726934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451183)

You do NOT want to work for Autozone. Been there, done that. Unless you like wearing red, like doing a company 'cheer', and think rednecks are fun to work for.

Give me an 'A'! Give me a 'U'! ... *augh*

Interesting choice (2, Interesting)

CarrionBird (589738) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451158)

They must believe that these guys will fold without taking this all the way to trial.

Even though the claims are crap, this has to hurt Autozone in the stock market, where perception is more important than reality.

Is there not some kind of law against frivolous lawsuits soley for the purpose of slander?

It wouldn't surprise me if there was some kind of backdoor dealing going on to get a settelment out of this or another case that SCO can waive around to continue the FUD. It would be illegal, but since when has that stopped anyone. Ken Lay got away with it, why not Darl?

Come on SEC!!! (1)

Bruha (412869) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451160)

Is it any wonder that they announced this before the opening bell? Autozone's stock is now drifting lower. Darl's probably got a order placed already to snap up some low priced stock.

I call Bullshit either way.. when will the madness end.. Cant someone file a injunction to shut SCO up until this is proven in court?

This is a distraction (5, Insightful)

Panoramix (31263) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451161)

From their press release, it seems like the AutoZone suit is not particularly related to "SCO IP in Linux," but to some SCO libraries that AutoZone may or may not have used it improperly.

But it does not matter. Could we discuss AutoZone tomorrow, please?

This is only a distraction from a bleak quarterly report. A rather blantantly obvious diversion. And Timothy, you should know better than this. This story should have been titled "SCO losses double for Q1 2004," or something like that. You should not be helping SCO manipulate the press.

Darl McBride (-1, Flamebait)

Ty (15982) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451162)

...giving Mormons a bad name, one day at a time.

You can see SCO's strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451163)

1. Make general noise about Linux
2. Sue company that _might_ have improperly used SCO libraries in a Linux migration
3. If this succeeds, reinforce the first point.

The whole goal seems still to be to create FUB about Linux, not to gain any real compensation. Sueing one of your ex-customers because they switched to another OS? A bit of a bad joke.

The inescapable conclusion is that SCO are acting in someone else's interests, and the obvious winner here would be Microsoft. Maybe SCO just really like MS and really hate Linux.

File-swap 'killer' grabs attention (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8451164)

[com.com]
File-swap 'killer' grabs attention
Last modified: March 3, 2004, 4:00 AM PST
By John Borland
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

A new political battle is brewing over Net music swapping, focusing on a company that claims to be able to automatically identify copyrighted songs on networks like Kazaa and block illegal downloads.

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Audible Magic has been making the rounds of Washington, D.C., legislative and regulatory offices for the last month, showing off technology it says can sit inside peer-to-peer software and automatically stop swaps of copyrighted music from artists such as Britney Spears or Outkast.

The company's technology is still being tested and could yet prove unworkable. But limited demonstrations have already turned some heads in legislative offices.

"It is definitely something that is interesting to people on (Capitol) Hill," said one senior congressional staffer who had seen the demonstration and requested anonymity. "We are open to all kinds of different solutions at this point. Having the technological ability to do this certainly opens up some opportunities."

Audible Magic has predictably become a protege of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which has helped the company gain entree to official Washington circles. The group says Audible Magic's technology, or something like it, should be adopted by file-swapping companies if they are serious about not supporting widespread copyright infringement.

The RIAA's backing, and the month-long press tour, has given the technology new credibility in legislative, regulatory and university circles. After watching a demonstration at RIAA headquarters in late January, University of Rochester Provost Chuck Phelps said he instructed his technology staff to evaluate the technology for use on his campus.

The RIAA isn't pressing for legislation or enforced usage of Audible Magic's software, at least not yet. Indeed, in an election year, any serious congressional attention to the issue is unlikely. But peer-to-peer companies are keenly aware of the potential for political strong arming--and of the threat it poses to the world of file swapping.

Privacy advocates and file-swapping backers have been deeply critical of any technology that would enforce monitoring or blocking of file swapping or any other Internet service. They argue that filters could infringe on free speech and block technological innovation, all to serve the entertainment industry's relatively narrow interests.

Nevertheless, the vast popularity of file-swapping networks like Kazaa remains largely based on trades of copyrighted songs, videos and software, according to many Net analysts. Being forced to install song-stopping filters inside software such as Kazaa--much as a court required of Napster in its heyday--could severely disrupt the ability of file swappers to freely trade songs.

In past months, peer-to-peer executives including Sharman Networks' Nikki Hemming have repeatedly told legislators that it was technically impossible or infeasible to install adequate filtering systems on their networks. Now some are switching focus, saying that even if filtering is technically possible, mandating it would be a disastrous mistake.

Requiring filters "would amount to the anointment of a specific technology as the winner in what the (recording) industry has made a file-sharing war," said Adam Eisgrau, executive director of P2P United, a file-swapping company trade association. "It is time that (the entertainment industry) be politely told that theirs is not the only social and economic interest at stake."

P2P United members have not seen Audible Magic's technology, Eisgrau noted. His group sent letters to RIAA Chief Executive Officer Mitch Bainwol and Audible Magic earlier in the week asking for a demonstration.

In an interview with CNET News.com, Bainwol said he would be delighted to do so: "The peer-to-peer community has said they are serious about filtering. But they've said they can't filter. We're saying, well, the good news is that you can."

From Napster's death to Audible Magic
The idea of filtering file-swapping networks got its first test run in Napster's last days, when courts mandated that the company block trades of copyrighted songs with near-perfect accuracy. The company first tried to block key works, but that failed when users simply renamed their songs.

Later, it began blocking using audio "fingerprinting" technology supplied by partner Relatable, and the amount of material available through the service dropped from tens of millions of files to just a handful almost overnight. Napster closed its doors to the public not long afterwards.

Audible Magic's song-identifying technology is the product of a group of former Yamaha sound engineers, who originally created the software to help movie post-production studios search massive databases of sound effects such as footsteps or door slams. In the late 1990s, they joined forces with former Hewlett-Packard marketer Vance Ikezoye and his newly formed Audible Magic startup, and turned their attention to identifying digital media files such as songs.

The company's technology works by identifying "psycho-acoustical" properties--essentially the computer equivalent of listening to the song itself. That means that the identification procedure is flexible. A song might be compressed into a lower quality recording, or have a few seconds of silence taken out at the beginning or end, or be otherwise transformed, and the technology will still recognize it as the same song, the company says.

The identification technology has already won credibility, used by songwriters' and publishers' trade association SESAC to identify when songs are played on broadcast radio in order to collect royalties. Several CD pressing plants also use the technology to track what they're manufacturing and ensure that their customers aren't trying to create counterfeit discs.

But it has been the company's peer-to-peer-focused efforts that have now brought it squarely to the forefront of the copyright debates.

Audible Magic is offering two different versions of its technology, one focused on networks and one on file-swapping software itself.

For several years it has tested a network-based "appliance," which would sit inside an Internet service provider (ISP) or business network and monitor data traffic as it goes by. If it identifies a copyrighted song, the technology would stop the transfer in progress.

A test of that technology was held at the University of Wyoming last year, but was ended after students complained about privacy invasions. In response, Ikezoye offered a university-focused version that simply blocks the copyrighted songs, and does not link specific trades to specific computer users.

That's helped spur new interest in the technology, such as from the University of Rochester's Phelps, although announced customers are still few and far between.

Inside your software?
The company's main demonstration for the last several weeks has been a version built into a piece of open-source Gnutella software. Similarly, it could be built into any other popular file-swapping package, company CEO Ikezoye said.

In that software-based version, the technology watches what songs are being downloaded, and when it has enough data to make a match--usually about a third to half of the file--it uses the Net connection to call Audible Magic's database. If it finds a match with a copyrighted song, it stops the download midstream.

Similarly, when files are put into a shared folder, the demonstration software calls up the Audible Magic database. If it finds a match, it prevents the song from being shared with other people on the network.

That second version of the software has not been tested on a large scale. While it appeared to function well in a single-user demonstration, implementing it on a widespread basis, particularly in software such as Kazaa or Morpheus where tens of millions of search requests a day are made, could have unforeseen consequences.

Moreover, for the filtering to work on a large scale, Ikezoye said that pressure--probably through legislation--would have to be put on file-swapping companies, which would be unlikely to voluntarily adopt his technology universally.

"This implementation clearly requires the cooperation one way or another of the peer-to-peer vendors," Ikezoye said.

Audible Magic's technology is far from perfect, even if it works as demonstrated. It's most critical weakness is likely to be encrypted files and encrypted networks, which its audio recognition software can't break through. Nor is it difficult to imagine hackers creating "cracked" versions of file-swapping software that have the song-recognition technology broken or stripped out, if legislators were to mandate its use.

Audible Magic is not the only company seeking to build filters for file swapping. Napster creator Shawn Fanning's new company Snocap is working on similar technology, with an aim toward giving record companies and music studios a way to make money from peer-to-peer networks.

But the file-swapping controversies are today as much rhetoric and politics as they are technology, and the last few weeks may have quietly seen a change in the file-swapping debates.

"I've achieved my objective, which is to say our technology works," Ikezoye said. "It is interesting that the question has shifted from 'Is this possible?' to 'How should this be deployed?'"

Revenge (3, Insightful)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451166)

As soon as I seen they were filing suit against a former customer who had dumped their OS for linux I knew SCO's going down. They just want to slap a couple people on their way out of the building. I mean might as well it's not like it's their money in the stocks.

Instead of a golden parachute the CEOs of SCO have opted for a semi-bronze boxing glove.

I'm buying something tonight from Autozone ... just not sure what yet ..

ladyfingers (1)

peteshaw (99766) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451172)

I can just see the upcoming headlines...

"SCO group, while announcing on Thursday the impending lawsuit of its last and final customer, saw its stock price rise, then fall, then mysteriously hover at an oddly inflated price."

In a related story, Darl McBride who was recently marooned on a deserted island after a freak plane wreck, was forced to resort to self-cannabalism to survive. Mr. McBride was quoted as saying "ladyfingers-- they taste just like ladyfingers!"

peace
--Pete "I do my shopping at Autozone" Shaw

info on Autozone's Linux uses (5, Informative)

Squeezer (132342) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451173)

For those of you that have been in an autozone, you notice they have the dumb terminals at the parts counter. If you notice this dumb terminal runs a text based interface where you pu tin the year, car make, model, engine size, etc to look up parts. I was in an Autozone once and the server for the dumb terminals happened to lock up. This was 2 or 3 years ago when it happened. I watched the dumb terminal display as it rebooted and came up with some version of redhat (or another distro, I don't really remember too well) and had kernel 2.3 on it.

Responding to the other replies of this article, just because a company doesn't run Linux on their web server to the world, doesn't mean they don't use Linux for other things.

How long (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451176)

before SCO just sues itself for breaching its own contract..

Rus

Um (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451178)

You know I really hope Darl doesn't drive a car down those winding streets after a tune-up :-)

yeah, we would have used our computer to diagnose your car but it runs Linux. Thanks for the lawsuit. So instead we threw lawn darts at the internals and leaked all your brake fluid. Have a nice day!

Tom

Darl's Shining moment (1)

Ty (15982) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451179)

It's really sad that Darl's shining moment during the interview was an O.J. joke...

AutoZone not using SCO's shared libs (4, Informative)

pjrc (134994) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451189)

SCO, yet again, is being very deceptive. They say the case is about a switch to linux and in the press make noise about how AutoZone is liable because of their use of Linux. But in the actual court filing, the copyright complaint is actually centered around the "belief" that AutoZone copied SCO's sharded libs to their new Linux system. So they're really suing over use of their copyrighted shared libs on a different platform, when their license presumably specifies that those shared libs are only to be used on SCO's OpenServer.

Yet again, the facts aren't in SCO's favor. Read this comment from the former Sr Technical Advisor at AutoZone [groklaw.net] , who directed the migration and personally ported much of the code.

SCO's only arguement that AutoZone has copied their shared libs to linux is:

The basis for SCO's belief is the precision and efficiency with which the migration to Linux occurred, which suggests the use of shared libraries to run legacy applications on Linux. Among other things, this was a breach of the Autozone OpenServer License Agreement for use of SCO software beyond the scope of the license.

Once more, SCO's making a lot of noise, but the facts are clearly against them.

Headline I want to see (1)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451190)

The headline I want to see is:

Autozone sues SCO under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act for attempted extortion.

Makes me proud (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451197)

Make me proud to think that some of the 200 bucks i just spent on parts for my car will go to laying the smack down on Darl. Of course if they roll over I will just have to take my business elsewhere.
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