×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

IP Attorney - Why SCO Has No Case

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the we-who-may-be-about-to-die dept.

Linux Business 138

OSS_ilation writes "In an interview over at SearchOpenSource.com, IP attorney Thomas Carey shoots down SCO's cases against IBM and Novell, but predicts that SCO will fight a losing battle to its last. IT directors shouldn't worry about SCO Group's latest sallies in its legal war on Linux vendors IBM Corp. and Novell Inc., Clarey says, and explains why SCO has no case, predicts the open source legal fields of battle for 2006 and discusses SCO's claims against Novell. Carey chairs the Business Practice Group of Bromberg & Sunstein LLP, an intellectual property law practice in Boston, Mass." Groklaw, as always, has additional details and commentary on this.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

138 comments

text of interview (-1, Redundant)

purplelocust (944662) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439277)

In this interview, Carey explains why SCO has no case, predicts the open source legal fields of battle for 2006 and discusses SCO's claims against Novell. Carey chairs the Business Practice Group of Bromberg & Sunstein LLP, an intellectual property law practice in Boston, Mass. Carey's IT background includes a stint as a programmer for the city of New York.

What's the linchpin of SCO's anti-Linux legal battle?

Thomas Carey: The key to the case is that IBM specifically negotiated with SCO a clause that permitted it to use the same programmers who saw the Unix code to make competing products. This was documented as part of a transaction in which SCO was paid lots of money. SCO conveniently left that clause out of its explanation of the facts. But in the long run, it will not be able to hide from that concession.

The result is, absent literal copying of meaningful amounts of Unix into Linux, SCO has no case. None. Nada. Zilch.

Is there any significance to the timing of SCO's renewed activity in its anti-Linux lawsuits?

Carey: [It's] quite possible the renewed activity results from the recent completion of a PIPE [Private Investment in Public Equity] offering by SCO, giving it the funds to proceed more vigorously than before.

Has SCO actually shown that its UnixWare System V code exists in SuSE Linux or another distribution?

Carey: SCO has not shown that its code exists in Linux. SCO now seems to be grounding its case on 'unauthorized disclosures', which is a very different kettle of fish than copied code.

What are the implications of SCO's suit against Novell for Novell/SuSE customers?

Carey: The implications are generally the same as they are for Red Hat customers, except that Novell has some superior legal standing because of their presence in the chain of title to Unix.

But this really misses the main point, which is that SCO's lawsuit is a lost cause. The implications for Linux users are rather like the implications for passengers on an ocean liner of a seagull diving into the water nearby. A physicist might be able to measure the perturbation, but the passenger feels nothing.

SCO went after, with lawsuits, Linux customers before. Do you foresee this happening again?

Carey:This might happen again. Hitler fought World War II until the Allies had nearly overrun his bunker. As long as investors are willing to provide the cash, SCO will sue because that is their business model. They will likely go after smaller companies as a means of controlling the cost of litigation.

Last summer, it came out that an outside consultant, Bob Swartz, conducted an audit for SCO that showed that no SCO code was used in Linux. Why do you think that CEO Darl McBride still proceeded with lawsuits against IBM and Novell?

Carey: The facts concerning this analysis are not very clear. The consultant apparently did find some overlapping code, but came to the conclusion that it was not significant. You can understand how opinions on this might differ. In addition, the audit may have been inadequate to determine whether or not there were derivative works contained in Linux.

I think that the strategy behind SCO's legal actions was to generate recurring licensing revenue from thousands of Linux users who would pay up on the theory that the license fee would be cheap insurance against a lawsuit. The strategy failed.

When will SCO's suits come to a conclusion? Why are they taking so long?

Carey: A trial date has been set for February, 2007. There may be more delays. The factual investigation associated with the development of so many lines of code is very time-consuming.

What does the Novell case mean to other Linux vendors and to corporations using Linux?

Carey: It means much less than the IBM case. Novell presents an interesting, but far-fetched, reason why SCO might have little right to pursue the claims it is pursuing. The IBM case is likely to determine that the claims themselves are baseless; not because IBM didn't contribute ideas found in Unix to Linux. That is a factual question about which I am agnostic. The claims are baseless because IBM had a clear right to copy the ideas embedded in Linux under its agreements with SCO. I strongly suspect that IBM did no more that that, and thus SCO is out in the cold.

What are your predictions for legal activity in the open source arena in 2006?

Carey: The skirmishing will revolve around version 3.0 of the GPL, and the extent to which it attempts to GPL code that is dynamically linked to it; or to otherwise clarify the mysterious "lesser GPL". Also the Massachusetts drive for open source file formats will be interesting.

Did ya notice... (2, Interesting)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440576)

That after a big setback, SCOX goes to $2.00 a share, and when it's been at $4.00 a share for a week or two, we heare more about the case again? This is the 2nd or 3rd cycle of this.

Someone's losing a LOT of money here. Usually investors ebb and flow in increments; this is more like a switch. Who in their right mind would keep funding this shell of a company?

Everybody knows that... (3, Insightful)

bubulubugoth (896803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439292)

The question is: Why is taking so long to the court to dismiss the case?

Re:Everybody knows that... (2, Funny)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439336)

Is "SCO has no case" News for nerds?

hint for moderators: I'm not bashing the editors - I'm bashing SCO!

Re:Everybody knows that... (1)

rellix (888535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439365)

You sound surprised that the court system is taking its time!

I read it more along the lines of... (2, Funny)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439521)

What's their excuse this time?

Re:I read it more along the lines of... (0, Troll)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439822)

Only in the steady and constant application of force lies the very first prerequisite for success. This persistence, however, can always and only arise from a definite spiritual conviction. Any violence which does not spring from a firm, spiritual base, will be wavering and uncertain.

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

Re:Everybody knows that... (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439388)

Because everyone is entitled to their day in court. Unless the case is totally without merit it has to go to a jury.
You know that entitled to be judged by a jury of your peers.
Dismissed nothing. I just want it to go to trial.

Re:Everybody knows that... (2, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439411)

Unless the case is totally without merit it has to go to a jury.

'Nuff said.

Re:Everybody knows that... (2, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439530)

And that's the rub. A good attorney can make a meritless case look like one with merits- agreta attorney can then go on to win. I've seen it, too. It won't happen in this case, but as long as SCO can maintain a veil of reasonable merits, the case will continue.

Re:Everybody knows that... (1)

terrymr (316118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439438)

If IBM wanted to get the case dismissed they probably could ... but they want it to go to trial for a couple of reasons. One being to settle the question for good and the other being to financially destroy the SCO Group.

Re:Everybody knows that... (3, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439655)

If IBM wanted to get the case dismissed they probably could ... but they want it to go to trial for a couple of reasons.

I don't think so.

IBM submitted a number of motions for partial summary judgement and the judge either denied them or refused to consider them until after completion of discovery.

If IBM could not get a partial judgement, it's rather unlikely that IBM could make the entire case go away, short of paying off SCO.

Re:Everybody knows that... (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14441386)

Submitting motions for summary judgment is practically SOP in any trial. I'd be surprised if SCO's lawyers didn't also try to file for summary judgement against IBM. It's all part of making your case look 'overwhelming.' Or at least making it look to your client like you're making their case look overwhelming. Either way works.

You see it all the time in regular civil and criminal law. The defense's counsel will ask the judge for the case to be thrown out summarily, the judge will say no, the lawyer will go back to their client, shrug, and sit down. It's all part of the little kabuki dance that is courtroom law.

Questions of fact and of law (5, Informative)

RevMike (632002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439639)

Unless the case is totally without merit it has to go to a jury. You know that entitled to be judged by a jury of your peers.

It has nothing to do with merit, but it has to do with what kind of outstanding questions are involved with the case.

The American civil law system divides the questions that come up during a litigation into two categories: fact and law. Judges are responsible for deciding questions of law. Juries are responsible for deciding questions of fact.

If the facts of the case are not in dispute, and the case solely hinges on the interpretation of law, the judge will rule on the case directly. On the other hand, if the facts of the case are in dispute, the judge will instruct the jury to decide the facts and the judge will apply the law to the jury's finding of facts.

The fact that the case hasn't been dismissed is because the judge is not satisfied that there are no relevent facts in dispute.

Re:Questions of fact and of law (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439726)

It has nothing to do with merit, but it has to do with what kind of outstanding questions are involved with the case.

The American civil law system divides the questions that come up during a litigation into two categories: fact and law. Judges are responsible for deciding questions of law. Juries are responsible for deciding questions of fact.

Judges can also decide that no reasonable jury could come to a particular decision on a fact, and hence judges can decide cases on the basis of fact without it going to a jury.

Re:Questions of fact and of law (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439778)

Additionally, it's possible to waive the right to a jury and have the judge act as a factfinder as well.

Re:Questions of fact and of law (2, Informative)

shaitand (626655) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439938)

I know that in criminal cases the jury is empowered by the constitution to judge the merit of facts AND the merits of the relevant laws in their decisions. The supreme court has ruled on this matter as well, determining that judges have no obligation to inform juries of this right but also that juries have it. Judges use this to justify instructing juries that they must rule according to the letter of the law.

This may be different for civil cases.

Re:Questions of fact and of law (1)

ipandithurts (516079) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440042)

You're right that the judge decides questions of law and juries decides questions of fact, however if a judge finds that "no reasonable jury" could find other than to a certain conclusion that judge may enter a summary (or directed if at the time of trial) verdict for one party or another. Additionally, there may be several questions of fact before the court and the judge may issue partial summary judgements on one or more of those issues. Apparently the judge here isn't at that point.

Re:Questions of fact and of law (1)

vinn01 (178295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14441379)

If you're talking about facts and law, you have to review SCO's strategy:

  "When the facts are against you, argue the law;
    when the law is against you, argue the facts;
    when both the facts and the law are against you, pound on the table."

SCO has been pounding on the table for a long time.

Re:Everybody knows that... (5, Insightful)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439465)

Why is taking so long to the court to dismiss the case?

This question reveals a common misunderstanding about the function of the US legal system, especially in civil matters.

The legal system is primarily designed to make money for the legal profession. Once litigation is concluded, the lawyers stop receiving money. Read Bleak House by Charles Dickens and realise that, while certain details have changed, the general situation remains the same.

Unfortunately, I am serious. Many members of Congress are lawyers and they ensure laws are framed to maximise the profession's profits. Logical reforms never see the light of day.

And here's why it will never change... (1)

udderly (890305) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440058)

The legal system is primarily designed to make money for the legal profession. Once litigation is concluded, the lawyers stop receiving money. Read Bleak House by Charles Dickens and realise that, while certain details have changed, the general situation remains the same.<br><br>
Unfortunately, I am serious. Many members of Congress are lawyers and they ensure laws are framed to maximise the profession's profits. Logical reforms never see the light of day.

[opensecrets.org] http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/mems.asp [opensecrets.org]

Seriously, I know that it's probably *always* been this way, but government and everything else is just so corrupt...sigh. Why do we ever think that we could begin to fix this mess? And please, Rush Limbaugh or Air America sycophants, don't tell me that it's primarily the Republicans or primarily the Democrats because they're apparently all on the take. Whether it's just straight $ or merely as voting for a lousy bill solely because it benefits them or increases their political capital, most of them are crooked and self-serving. The fact is that the political (read money-driven) system makes it so that only the corrupt can be elected.

Sorry, probably a down day on my part.

Re:Everybody knows that... (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#14441265)

Once litigation is concluded, the lawyers stop receiving money.

And yet, much like taxi drivers, the quicker a lawyer finishes with one client, the sooner they can move on to the next, so they can receive more money.

Unfortunately, I am serious.

Yes, it is unfortunate that you can't see any motive for lawyers to become lawmakers other than the opportunity to line their own pockets.

Making it appeal-proof... (5, Interesting)

rkhalloran (136467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439510)

The judge has already commented on SCOX's astonishing lack of evidence; he's giving them lots of rope to hang themselves on, so when he hands them their collective ass, they don't have any grounds to come back and claim they didn't get a fair chance to make their [non-existant] case. And the positive PR accruing to Big Blue for defending Linux far outweighs the cost of the legal team, especially when sites like Groklaw [groklaw.net] are doing half the analysis work for them gratis.

Re:Making it appeal-proof... (1)

stevey (64018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440095)

Whilst I don't disagree with you, I wonder if this is still the case:

the positive PR accruing to Big Blue for defending Linux far outweighs the cost of the legal team

It seems like initially the case was being faught in public with many public statements from SCO.

Nowadays except for rare pieces like this, and the constant coverage on groklaw the case has fallen beneath the public radar.

It is rare to see new coverage of the case - and recently I remember talking to a friend in the pub and they said something to the effect of "Oh, is the SCO case still happening?". Seems like many people assume it is over, since the "popular press" went silent as soon as Darl stopped opening his mouth in public.

I'm sure IBM have done a lot to discourage frivelous cases against them by people paying attention, and they got a lot of credit in geek circles for not rolling over and buying SCO. But otherwise I'm sure they've got all the kudos they can right now. (Though I'm sure there will be a lot of coverage when the decision(s) are finally made on the various cases..)

Re:Making it appeal-proof... (1)

Kumiorava (95318) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440574)

Don't give too much rope, they might fall on the ground and just break their legs.

Re:Everybody knows that... (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439610)

A better question, isn't it possible to for the courts to ban SCO from sueing other companies under the same premise? Obviously it would be wrong to prevent them from sueing other people as a whole (and against their civil liberties) but at this point, aren't they just plain harassing people? Wasting other companies' as well as the taxpayer dollars?

Re:Everybody knows that... (1)

BVis (267028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439899)

You can't have your right to sue taken away, nor can you sign it away. In the USA you can sue anyone for anything; whether the case has merit isn't relevant until you're in front of a judge. You can have your suit dismissed and be enjoined from filing the same suit, but it doesn't affect new proceedings against different parties. (IANAL.)

Re:Everybody knows that... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439941)

At some point, I would imagine, such lawsuits might be considered so frivolous that the lawyers themselves might be at risk of disciplinary action.

Re:Everybody knows that... (2, Insightful)

Frodo420024 (557006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439939)

The question is: Why is taking so long to the court to dismiss the case?

Because noone wants it to. SCO wants to drag on as long as possible, and as long as they can claim any possible wrongdoing, they get to do this.

IBM, and the Open Source community, would like a clean court victory on the issue of Linux copyrights. They have no hurry to have it thrown out of court either.

My prediction, though, is that the case will collapse just before a final judgement can be entered. Either SCO quits, or they're permitted to go bancrupt. It was quite telling how they just managed to get another $10 million of capital recently, or they would have no chance to make it to trial. But rather than losing the trial, the money will probably run out. One may wonder who invests in this company, but I'll leave that to our conspiracy experts :)

Re:Everybody knows that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14440644)

Quote: "Either SCO quits, or they're permitted to go bancrupt"

I don't think they have that option. The law firm has already been paid as much as they will get to complete the case. SCOX going bankrupt will be unlikely to stop the courts finding against them. Now if IBM also went bankrupt, SCOX would have a chance of not losing this suit.

Granted IANAL or ADOTUSA.

Re:Everybody knows that... (1)

TechForensics (944258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440692)

IAAL and I can say courts are careful to do everything right to prevent reversible error. When a court closes a case it wants it to lie dead, not resurrect with nine more lives like a cat. Besides, don't you remember the college bromide: If it's green and slimy, it's biology. If it smells bad, it's chemistry. If it doesn't work, it's physics. And if it takes forever, it's law. Reference to Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in Bleak House where the litigation went on so long, the estate wasn't worth fighting over any more. (Not that seems a bad thing from my own perspective. (grin)

Well I hate to say it... (2, Insightful)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439321)

"Nothing to see here people, please move along" While the lawyer in the article states the same point made over and over by so many experts in the field outside of SCO, to the point where it would get a redundant mod on Slashdot, the article does good job of bringing many key points home for non-lawyer types to understand. If you understand the full breadth of the SCO case you probably won't find much entertainment here however.

But all the same, SCO quit it, you're embarassing yourselves. Soon it will be beyond the hope of recovery...

Re:Well I hate to say it... (0, Redundant)

Benanov (583592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439383)

The ironic thing is that the full text of the article just DID receive a -1 redundant mod.

Re:Well I hate to say it... (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440359)

*giggle giggle* it's just too easy to say, so I'm not gonna say it....aaaw hell, the only thing more ironic is YOUR post getting -1 Redundant.....BWAAHAHAHA!!! Who says mods don't have a sense of humor.

*ducks waiting for the moderator*

No-one is beyond recovery... (5, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439816)

Welcome to this meeting of IPaholics Anonymous, where people share their experience, strength and hope in their battle against their addiction to Intellectual Property lawsuits. Here are the twelve steps, adapted from other recovery programs.


  1. We admitted we were powerless against Open Source initiatives, that our contempt for common folk and peasents had become unmanageable.
  2. We came to believe that a sharing methodology greater than ourselves could restors us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will, lives and FTP address to Freshmeat, as we understand Freshmeat.
  4. Made a searching and moral inventory of what sourcecode we actually have and own.
  5. Admitted to ourselves, Slashdot and Richard Stallman the exact nature of our licensing errors.
  6. Were entirely ready to let the OSI and the FSF remove these defects of proprietaryness.
  7. Humbly asked /dev/null to remove our closed licensing agreements.
  8. Made a list of all people we'd totally ripped off and became willing to send upgrades to them all.
  9. Directly sent their IT departments the necessary patches, except when to do so would break something else.
  10. Continued to grep license files and when they were closed, promply GPL them.
  11. Sought through LinuxFest and Slashdot to improve our concious contact with the F/LOSS meme as we understood F/LOSS, asking only for Linus Torvald's will and the processing power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a sourcecode awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive proprietary coders and to practice good coding in all our affairs.

Re:Well I hate to say it... (1)

Karzz1 (306015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440009)

But all the same, SCO quit it, you're embarassing yourselves. Soon it will be beyond the hope of recovery...

Too late!

Re:Well I hate to say it... (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440355)

This is pretty simple - you don't need to be a lawyer to understand what's going on at SCO. See this article [yahoo.com] . SCO just raised a new round of PIPE financing. The private institutional investors (hedge funds, PIPE funds, banks, private equity firms, or whichever idiots bought into this dog of a deal) bought in with the understanding that SCO was going to file a renewed salvo of legal filings and lawsuits. If they didn't do that, they wouldn't have been able to raise the 10 million bucks.

SCO's quarterly cash flow statements [yahoo.com] tell a simple story: they are hemorrhaging several million bucks a quarter. Their latest quarterly filing with the SEC shows us that this company has dwindled in size by about half in the last year, shrinking their asset base to keep enough cash to stay afloat, with only about $10M in cash and marketable securities, vs. $30M a year prior to that. As of October 31st, they only had enough cash to get them through another 4-6 months of burn.

In short, they were getting perilously close to the red alert, DEFCON 1 phase of business failure, and they would have told these institutional investors anything to get that 10 million into the bank. And if they want anyone to shell out another 10 million in another 18 months when they start running low on cash again, they had better show that they're doing something with their court case.

Re:Well I hate to say it... (1)

odourpreventer (898853) | more than 8 years ago | (#14441271)

I can't help thinking: What about the people working for SCO? (Assuming of course there are people working for SCO, and with people I mean other than lawyers/crooks/demons)

Somewhere in this company, someone must be doing real work. Someone who will get royally screwed when this ordeal is over.

Or did I misunderstand everything about this company?

coyright misuse (1)

David Gould (4938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14441300)


Carey's ocean-liner/seagull analogy is nice, but what really caught my eye was this bit in the Groklaw article about the test for "copyright misuse":
Lasercomb America, Inc. v. Reynolds

The Fourth Circuit was the first to explicitly recognize a copyright misuse defense, Lasercomb America Inc. v. Reynolds, 911 F.2d 970 (4th Cir. 1990), though the Supreme Court previously acknowledged the possible existence of the defense. See Morton Salt Co. v. G. S. Suppiger, 314 U.S. 488, 494 (1942). Lasercomb brought an action against defendant Holiday Steel, alleging that Holiday Steel copied its die-making software and sold it under a different name. Lasercomb, 911 F.2d at 971-2. On appeal, Holiday Steel did not dispute copying Lasercomb's software, but argued that Lasercomb misused its copyright by including a broad non-compete clause in its standard licensing agreement. Id. at 972. Lasercomb's agreement forbade a licensee from developing any kind of computer assisted die-making software. Id. at 973. The court held that Lasercomb's licensing agreement attempted to control any expression by Holiday Steel of the underlying idea embodied in Lasercomb's software. Id. at 979. Because the idea was outside the scope of the copyright monopoly, the court found that Lasercomb's licensing agreement constituted copyright misuse. Id. Lasercomb devised the following test for copyright misuse. The critical question is not whether an antitrust violation occurred, but "whether the copyright is being used in a manner violative of the public policy embodied in the grant of a copyright."

I assume "the public policy embodied in the grant of a copyright" would be referring to the Progress Clause ("To Promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts") of the Constitution. We rant about this principle all the time here on Slashdot, but I think this is the first time I've seen it expressed in a judicial context, i.e., a sign that "The System" actually remembers that the entire purpose and justification of Copyright (and all "Intellectual Property") is to Promote Progress, and that any use of an IP right that can be shown instead to Hinder Progress is Unconstitutional. Is there any similar doctrine of "patent misuse", or could this argument be used to justify establishing it?

And I hate to do it, too (4, Funny)

Benanov (583592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439345)

SCO went after, with lawsuits, Linux customers before. Do you foresee this happening again?
Carey: This might happen again. Hitler fought World War II until the Allies had nearly overrun his bunker. As long as investors are willing to provide the cash, SCO will sue because that is their business model. They will likely go after smaller companies as a means of controlling the cost of litigation.

Godwin!

That's really not likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14439468)

They have to be able to convince the lawyers that they will be paid. As it is, there is a strong possibility that a bankruptcy trustee will make the lawyers give back some money. I really don't expect further suits from SCO.

Bankrupcy could happen when Judge Kimball grants Novell's request to place all SCO's funds in a trust pending the outcome of their case. This whole thing could end quite abruptly.

Re:That's really not likely (3, Interesting)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439686)

They have to be able to convince the lawyers that they will be paid.

At the moment SCO is paying. However, soon, SCO will not have to pay their lawyers any more, although the lawyers will be committed to finishing the cases (and appeals, if any). The question is: when the lawyers are no longer receiving additional cash for their services, how good will their services be?

Re:That's really not likely (1)

peterfa (941523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440148)

Naw, Microsoft will just buy another license from them for another enormous pile of money. This is FUD, my friend. You understand.

Re:That's really not likely (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440160)

However, soon, SCO will not have to pay their lawyers any more, although the lawyers will be committed to finishing the cases (and appeals, if any). The question is: when the lawyers are no longer receiving additional cash for their services, how good will their services be?

How good are they doing now? How could they be any worse?

You're answering the wrong question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14440913)

What I said was that I didn't expect any more suits. Any new suits aren't covered by the fee cap.

Re:That's really not likely (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14441280)

If they have any sense of career preservation, they'll continue to do a good job. Otherwise, they will get a very visible bad reputation.

Re:And I hate to do it, too (1)

ArsonPerBuilding (319673) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439548)

"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." Godwins' Law, as stated by Mike Godwin.

You're wrong....there was no discussion to grow longer and you cannot invoke the law to any effect at this time.

SCO really sued its *own* customers (1)

Phong (38038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440718)

I was sad to see Carey's reply to this question, not because of Godwin's law, but because SCO's lawsuits were primarily targeting its own customers for contract violations that were only tangentially related to Linux (i.e. the claimed violations could have been related to any OS).

This all started with SCO telling the media that Linux violated their source copyrights, and that they were going to bring copyright lawsuits against companies running Linux Very Soon (unless the companies paid the appropriate extort^H^H^H^H^H^H license fees). Right after that, SCO filed suit against both Autozone and DaimlerChrysler, telling the media that the lawsuits against Linux customers had begun. However, reading the actual lawsuits revealed that SCO really sued their own customers over contract issues.

For instance, the only copyright-related part of the Autozone suit (that I'm aware of) was them claiming that Autozone must have used SCO libraries/binaries under another OS (which just happend to be Linux) during their transition from SCO's Unix to Linux (which would only be a possibility because of some SCO-binary-compatibility code that SCO themselves helped to put into Linux). This is a very different kettle of fish than them claiming to sue someone over alleged source-code copyright violations in Linux.

Unfortunately, it seems that most of the media didn't notice this discrepancy (I only read about it at Groklaw), so they keep regurgitating the SCO FUD that SCO sued Linux customers over the use of Linux.

Sooooooo... (5, Funny)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439414)

How do I get my $699 back?

Re:Sooooooo... (1)

joostje (126457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439670)

you lucky basterd, you must be the only one on earth that managed to even get the licence! (many others reported trying to by the licence, offering money to SCO, but SCO wouldn't tell them where to send the money).

BTW, the $699 for a server is an introductory offer, valid till December 31, 2003. [sco.com] no word on the SCO site as to what the prices are in 2004, 2005 or 2006.

Re:Sooooooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14439969)

many others reported trying to by the licence
Just letting you know it's buy, not by.

Score the article -1, Redundant (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14439461)

SCO still has no case.


In other news, water is still wet, gravity still functions normally, and the sun hasn't yet burned out.

Use BSD! all dust already settled. (0, Troll)

jt2377 (933506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439476)

why bother with Linux when BSD've been there and tested with all these IP laws.

American justice... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14439479)

Why should SCO fail while Guantanamo stays?

Lets better forget about this one quick and complain about the Wiki ban in China...

What the lawyer means in layman's terms.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14439491)

Is that SCO is more like Germany than France when it comes to ending this case.
Hitler fought World War II until the Allies had nearly overrun his bunker. As long as investors are willing to provide the cash, SCO will sue because that is their business model. They will likely go after smaller companies as a means of controlling the cost of litigation.

Re:What the lawyer means in layman's terms.... (1)

jemoody (532095) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440128)

ObFuturama: Hermes: We can't compete with Mom! Her company is big and evil, our company is small, and neutral. That guy: Switzerland is small and neutral! We're more like Germany: ambitious and misunderstood.

Clearly Clarey is not Carey (2, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439503)

IT directors shouldn't worry about SCO Group's latest sallies in its legal war on Linux vendors IBM Corp. and Novell Inc., Clarey says...

SCO is fighting this losing battle for what? Press coverage?

Re:Clearly Clarey is not Carey (3, Insightful)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439630)

SCO is fighting this losing battle for what?

You must distinguish (1) why they started the war, from (2) why they are still fighting in spite of the fact that they are clearly losing.

They started the war, with their business otherwise failing, as a gamble. They hoped for a quick settlement or a buyout from IBM to avoid the expense of litigation and potential damage to the Linux business. In that, they miscalculated, but may have felt they had little to lose anyway. The major miscalculation will be if individuals end up going to jail for perpetrating this clear scam. We shall need to wait about 10 years to know the answer to that question.

Why do they continue to fight now, when it is clear they are going to lose? Quite simply, to delay the total dismemberment of their business. The counterclaims in the IBM case, the claims for damages in the Red Hat case, and handing over the bulk of the revenues from the SCO Source scam to Novell are going to bankrupt SCO many times over. Meanwhile, management continues to make money from their salaries and probably other opportunities.

SCO doesnt know is defeated: Movie Quote. (2, Interesting)

bubulubugoth (896803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439644)

When reading about SCO, CEO that just doesnt give up... I remeber this quotes from Gladiator:

Quintus: People should know when they're conquered.

Maximus: Would you, Quintus? Would I?

Re:SCO doesnt know is defeated: Movie Quote. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440062)

That's funny. This is the quote I think of when I think of SCO:

"I see dead lawsuits. Submitting briefs like regular lawsuits. They don't see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don't know they're dead."

Re:SCO doesnt know is defeated: Movie Quote. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14440198)

On my command unleash hell. Er actually, let's just go to court instead.

Re:Clearly Clarey is not Carey (1)

jcaldwel (935913) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439879)

I see them like a Kamikaze pilot. They were doomed anyway, so their last act of desperation is to take out their competition.

They seem to blame their business problems on Linux. In no way can their junk operating system be to blame for their decline in revinue. Anyone use a SCO box? I am forced to deal with them on occasion. The older versions even made you pay extra IF YOU WANTED A TCP STACK!

The only saving grace of their UNIX OpenServer was the Skunkware disc that prepackaged - what? - GNU and other open source products!!! They don't deserve the priveledge of slapping their name on any product of that quality.

Meat and gristle fly though the air... (0)

Anthony (4077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439580)

As slashdot make sure there is really no life left in this once-sick horse.

Re:Meat and gristle fly though the air... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14439877)

Sounds like the trailer for a porn movie.

Time to move to the other targets (5, Insightful)

IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439586)

Time to start finding out the real reasons for this happening. The investors that have been pumping money into SCO knowing full well there is no merit to the case. This deserves an investigation. I can't think of any investors, even the most dim-witted that would put money into propping up this boondoggle unless there is another motive involved. The old adage of follow the money comes to mind.

Re:Time to move to the other targets (1)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439880)

The investors that have been pumping money into SCO... This deserves an investigation.

As much as I hope that Darl ends up by eating the gun he's been carrying, there so far is no law against making stupid and/or evil investment decisions. (The prison system is overloaded as it is.)

Certainly, the stockholders of the companies doing this investing, will require some 'splaining to do, Lucy. Best I can see is some sort of charge of conspiracy to commit willful abuse and manipulation of the court system by filing nuisance cases.

Even if it got that far, they'd settle it by giving everybody $7.50, a copy of SCO UNIX, and a coupon to Long John Silvers. (This is how business says "Fuck You!" to the public.) Nobody important would get the orange jumpsuit perpwalk.

Lady Justice has a rip in her blindfold.

Re:Time to move to the other targets (1)

FrankDrebin (238464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439947)

I can't think of any [folks], even the most dim-witted that would put money into...

The same could be said for any form of gambling. Why must there be any deeper motive than greed? Occam's Razor.

Re:Time to move to the other targets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14440126)

Time for Mark's corollary:

Stupidity and malice are NOT mutually exclusive.

Re:Time to move to the other targets (1)

sfjoe (470510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439975)

This deserves an investigation.

Not really. Of all the chicanery that requires law enforcement resources to investigate, this one ranks pretty low. There are any number of reasons someone may have legitimately invested, including run-of-the-mill nincompoopery.

MS did pay SCO a pile of cash ... (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440168)

... ostensibly to licence Unix-ish stuff (XENIX?). They might not have needed to pay, but wanted to anyways. Unfortunately, I don't believe there's any legal remedy for malicious prosecution. I'm not sure it's against the Sherman Anti-Trush laws which cover many other dubious activities.

Lawyer Joke (5, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439591)

Darl could call up HandelontheLaw.com - if you've ever heard his radio show the main point is for Bill Handel to tell you you have no case. He Loves That. Anyway, here's a joke from Bill Handel's web site:

In a recent FDA study, the United States government research physicians who were conducting studies on test drugs, administered weekly doses of Viagra to an equal number of doctors and lawyers.

While the majority of the doctors achieved enhanced sexual prowess, the lawyers simply grew taller.

But of course (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14439731)

Thomas Carey shoots down SCO's cases against IBM and Novell, but predicts that SCO will fight a losing battle to its last.

Everyone knows their case is groundless. It was a poorly disguised attempt by Microsoft to discredit Linux. And as long as Microsoft is willing to funnel money into their coffers SCO will continue in this groundless legal action. This is not about law or legal proceedings, this is about one large corporation's attempts to use the legal system to kill a competitor.

Kinda puts the lie to this recent slashdot article:
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/08/172722 5&tid=109&tid=166 [slashdot.org]

Why haven't the courts thrown this out yet? All it does is lessen credibility of the US legal system and encourage lawlessness in the American corporate sector (who, God knows, needs absolutely no more encouragement in that area).

Re:But of course (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14439888)

Cases generally aren't simply dismissed. Unless someone files a 12(b) motion (likely 12(b)(6): failure to state a claim), you're going to have the entire mess of discovery here. As long as there is some vague basis for a lawsuit, it's going to have to wait until there is an effective summary judgment motion.

Anti-gravity (2, Interesting)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439770)

SCOX, the SCO Group stock, has been hanging around $4 for quite some time now. Their (legitimate) Unix business is optimistically worth $.50 per share, and pessimistically worth nothing. Thus the stockmarket puts a value on their IP claims of over $3.50/share, or around $60 million dollars.

Now I've invested in stocks for two decades, and I say no vaguely rational investor would touch this stock. It is speculative beyond belief.

So what keeps this stock up? And why has the stock price been so steady over the last few months? Such a wild speculation should fluctuate madly.

Queue the conspiracy theories.

Plenty of room to short (1)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439981)

if you're willing to take the risk, of course.

Madness (1)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440191)

The trouble with shorts is that they have a time limit. You have to be right at the right time.

As Keynes said, the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay liquid. Trying to predict the actions of lunatics is not my type of game.

Re:Anti-gravity (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14440178)

Its painfully obvious who the only party is to benefit from and who also has plenty of cash to help finance this mess.

I used to work in the server hosting business and I remember all the fuss when EV1 bought a linux site license from SCO for somewhere around $1m. I heard there were some people from Microsoft visiting them a little while before this happened. Supposedly, the folks from Microsoft were helping EV1 develop an automated provisioning system. But the rumors I heard was that Microsoft fronted the money for the SCO license in effort to help fund this never ending charade.

I havent taken the time to do it myself but I bet if you look at SCO's major stockholders you will find some ties to Microsoft.

Refunds? (3, Interesting)

RickPartin (892479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439797)

What about the people who were tricked into or were forced by an employer into buying a license? Has SCO said whether they will refund the money?

Re:Refunds? (2, Funny)

Hasai (131313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440100)

Oh, now that's just too funny.

....

You are kidding, right?

....

O.K.; look at it this way: SCO eventually loses it's case, and the court tosses the firm to the lions, aka Novell, Red Hat, and IBM, who promptly reduce SCO to a smoking hole in the ground.

Said licensees come shuffling up to previously described smoking hole and whine "I want my money back."

Think they'll get a response?

}XD

Re:Refunds? (1)

TechForensics (944258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440932)

If SCO's lawyers were halfway intelligent (a few are) they had the license read that the buyer paid to resolve an uncertainty about the requirement of a license and to assure freedom from suit while the issues were litigated. This means each licensee got what he paid for. No refunds.

DeForest Kelley's commentary on SCO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14439828)

Bones said it best: "It's dead, Jim"

Wow... (0, Redundant)

Firewalker_Midnights (943814) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439853)

I think it's about time for me to get a degree in patent law. These lawyers must just be giggling all the way to the bank with these idiotic cases. Lawyer: "You want to sue IBM? Why?" Idiot: "I invented computers, they stole my idea!" Lawyer: . o O ( $$$ BIG MONEY $$$ ) "Sure I'll take the case; however, you still have to pay if you don't win." Idiot: "I don't care, I'm gonna win!" Lawyer: . o O ( $$$ NEW HOUSE! $$$) "Alright, let's get the paperwork done!"

SLSHDOT.ORG (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14439904)

Has anybody else noticed when you type in "slshdot.org" vise "slashdot.org" the first link is to scosupport.com?

A change in direction. (2, Interesting)

Jaywalk (94910) | more than 8 years ago | (#14439983)

Has SCO actually shown that its UnixWare System V code exists in SuSE Linux or another distribution?

Carey: SCO has not shown that its code exists in Linux. SCO now seems to be grounding its case on 'unauthorized disclosures', which is a very different kettle of fish than copied code.

This seemed to me to be the only really interesting bit in the piece. IBM has asked (and is expected to ask again) for the judge to enter a "summary judgement" that Big Blue's Linux activities do not infringe SCO's copyrights. If that happens, any copyright issues will be dropped from any jury trial. By avoiding the copyright issue, SCO appears to be looking for a way to still get to trial in spite of a summary judgement. But this also disrupts their claims against Linux.

While SCO likes the vague term "intellectual property" the law only recognizes three items in that class: copyrights, patents and trade secrets. SCO has never claimed patents or trade secrets, so that leaves copyright. If SCO can't establish copyright, they have no hold over anyone except those with whom they have a contract.

While the court cases with Novell and IBM may drag on for years, this -- as far as Linux is concerned -- is another step into irrelevancy for SCO.

SCO copyrights? What copyrights? (1)

rkhalloran (136467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440398)

The SCOundrels' case with Novell turns on whether SCOX (The SCO Group nee Caldera, vs. Santa Cruz Operation) ever even received copyrights. Novell's deal with Santa Cruz does not appear to have transferred the copyrights, so when Caldera bought the business from them, they certainly couldn't have got them.

Conveniently enough, the same judge is hearing both cases, so ruling on one (Novell has the copyrights, SCOX doesn't) will kill the other (SCOX can't claim copyright infringement, they don't own any).

IBM's claims, however, would still stand. The counter-suit damages will likely vaporize whatever's left of the SCOX scum. And it can't come too soon for me.

Difference of opinion (1)

ipandithurts (516079) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440204)

Attorney Thomas Carey states in the article:

"The key to the case is that IBM specifically negotiated with SCO a clause that permitted it to use the same programmers who saw the Unix code to make competing products. This was documented as part of a transaction in which SCO was paid lots of money. SCO conveniently left that clause out of its explanation of the facts. But in the long run, it will not be able to hide from that concession. The result is, absent literal copying of meaningful amounts of Unix into Linux, SCO has no case. None. Nada. Zilch."


While this likely destroys SCO's trade secret case, I have to disagree that it necessarily destroys SCO's copyright infringement case. Copying may have occurred here. Remember, under copyright law it does not need to be a direct, word-for-word copying, but if the "infringing" work utilizes a derivative of the copyrighted material then there is likely infringement. I'd assume this is the issue where the judge is not yet convinced that a reasonable jury could not find that copying did not occur. At least not yet.

Re:Difference of opinion (1)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14441089)

"Copying may have occurred here"

Where have you been?

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?id=05/02/10/125 4208&tid=123&tid=155&tid=106 [slashdot.org]

Which part of "it is astonishing that SCO has not offered any competent evidence to create a disputed fact regarding whether IBM has infringed SCO's alleged copyrights through IBM's Linux activities" doesn't make sense?

There is no infringement of SCO copyright code in linux. SCO couldn't produce any to save their butts.

IT Guy - Why Slashdot has no point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14440284)

Well isn't this just News That Matters?!?! For the sake of all that is holy, please find something relevant and new to discuss. All the pre-pubescent morons here are really looking for a social forum, not a groklaw clone. "If I don't get it in email, it doesn't really exist," is the philosophy of most of these retards. Get out of the house, or find something to do at work, and leave this rotten shell of a once-slightly-relevant web property. While the "editors" are so busy not checking for dupes and looking for their next $4 million dollar boat, most of the readers are feverishly working toward a Ph.D. in Masturbation. No wonder IT jobs are getting outsourced! Keep up the good work taco...

A sure sign of SCO relevancy (1)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440529)

At one time McBride was proud of the fact of all the articles generated about SCO and linked that to SCO's relevancy. Here on slashdot at first every SCO story would generate greater than 1000 replies. Today SCO does not even generate a 100. Good to see. McBride must be suffering from a lack of attention so we can probably expect some bazaar antic.

Lawyers and IT - true story (3, Funny)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14440601)

I got phoned up at work once by an acquaintance who was a commercial lawyer in a large corporation.

"I've been told we're going to sue NEC. Who are NEC?"
Me: "A large Japanese computer manufacturer. Why?"
"Apparently our new system doesn't work."
Me: "That sounds like software. NEC make hardware. Doesn't the hardware work?"
"Apparently the software supplier went bust, so we're suing NEC"
Me: "That doesn't make sense."
"The thing is, have they got a lot of money?"
Me: "I imagine they have huge amounts of money."
"Oh good, that'll keep us busy for a while then."

The reaction of lawyers everywhere.

Just a little sad I think (1)

ami-in-hamburg (917802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14441004)

SCO was my first Unix and will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason. It's just a little sad to me that they have been beaten down so low and mostly of their own doing.

In the early 90's they were fairly strong in the *nix world. Back then, SCO Unix and Informix were a team to be taken seriously until their management killed both.

Just sad, just sad.

SCO vs. Novell (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 8 years ago | (#14441149)

I've been wondering about something for a while. Perhaps someone here has some insight.

If Novell is found to have the legitimate copyrights to UNIX in the SCO vs. Novell case, does this mean that Novell can sue SCO for breach of contract, and take back their UNIX business as well?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...