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SCO Fires back, Subpoenas Stallman, Torvalds et al 1145

Posted by timothy
from the subpoenas-envy dept.
SirFozzie writes "SCO has just, within the past hour, announced that they have fired back against IBM's legal broadside, with one of their own, filing subpoenas against several of the biggest names in Linux. SCO filed subpoenas with the U.S. District Court in Utah, targeting six different individuals or organizations. Those include Novell; Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel; Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation; Stewart Cohen, chief executive of the Open Source Development Labs; and John Horsley, general counsel of Transmeta."
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SCO Fires back, Subpoenas Stallman, Torvalds et al

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  • Re:WHAT!!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by demonbug (309515) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:26PM (#7457384) Journal
    Now all these subpoenaed people/companies need to get together and plan a really careful counterattack, not just a defense.


    Umm, you do realize that a subpoena does not mean those people are being attacked? It merely means that SCO ostensibly thinks they possess information which is relevant to the case, and they are asking that it be turned over. Although the article said nothing at all about exactly what information SCO was after (going by their past performance, I'm guessing it will be overly broad and intended to show a bias in SCO's favour - something like "Give us all information you have that might validate our claims", then when the people can't come up with this they will accuse the linux community of holding back important information), it seems reasonable to me to subpoena the people that ostensibly know the most about the software in question. However, while issuing subpoenas for these people seems reasonable to me, I somehow doubt that the subpoenas themselves will be reasonable.

  • Re:sad but fun (Score:5, Informative)

    by JoeBuck (7947) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:31PM (#7457481) Homepage

    Don't worry, European courts have produced plenty of whoppers of their own -- German lawyers going on trademark jihads concerning trademarks they don't even own (Mobilix); British courts making it illegal to tell anyone that some servant saw Prince Charles and another man doing the nasty (whoops, now Slashdot will have to be banned in the UK!); French courts ruling that Google can't let a competitor use the AdWords feature to attach an ad to a search that mentions a competitor's name -- I could go on and on.

  • Linus (Score:1, Informative)

    by blackdragon7777 (720994) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:35PM (#7457550)
    I believe that they are doing this to force Linus to look at the source code for System V and see what code was stolen and put into the Linux kernel. So far he has refused to sign an NDA and actually look at the code. I think this will speed the process up a fair bit if he would just look at the code.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:38PM (#7457587) Journal

    1: do as ze Germans did. File an injunction and get it enforced [computerworld.com]
    The fine comes nearly three months after a regional court in Munich issued the court order in response to a suit brought by the nonprofit Linux conference organization, LinuxTag e.V., and IT consulting firm Tarent GmbH. The two groups sought the injunction to prevent SCO from making claims about intellectual property violations in Linux without presenting any evidence...

    2: do as IBM has done and try to get the facts out. And since we know SCO won't give up the goods, get it from anyone else with their hand in the SCO piggy bank. [forbes.com] "It is time for SCO to produce something meaningful. They have been dragging their feet and it is not clear there is any incentive for SCO to try this in court"

  • by nateDigs420 (723672) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:46PM (#7457704)
    Here are a few nice little story about it: http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news/article.php/2 208691 There have also been reports about Microsoft being in on several Cash investments that SCO has recieved over the last several months.
  • Re:Courtroom Drama?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by JabberWokky (19442) <slashdot.com@timewarp.org> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:47PM (#7457714) Homepage Journal
    Stallman's precision is less than that of most members of the law profession. The legal system is quite used to Stallman's habit of precise definition and preambles of defining semantics before answering. That's how law works, and to a certain extent, is what constitutes law. The phrase "Intellectual Property" pisses Stallman off because it has no meaning, whereas "Patents, Copyright and Trademark", are three seperate concepts. In law, that's so true there are seperate law offices that work for each of the three... and using the phrase "intellectual property" without referring to one of those three in precision will get you laughed out of court.
  • Re:What about Cox? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:47PM (#7457715)
    Alan Cox will not travel to the US after Dmitry Sklyarov got arrested.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:49PM (#7457747)
    For those in Utah, the local NBC affiliate, KSL Channel 5, will be broadcasting a story about SCO v. IBM tonight at 6:30. Be sure to watch and send any comments/corrections to them. This is SCO's home turf, and the more negative media coverage we can get, the better.
  • Re:Oh dear (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:51PM (#7457765)
    how could the lawyer do it? all RMS has to do is answer the questions:

    Imagine if you will:

    Lawyer: do you believe all software should be given away for free?

    RMS: If by "free" you mean, everyone should be able to use, modify, and redistribute software without fear of breaking the law, then yes.

    Lawyer: do you believe that SCO's software should be given away for free?

    RMS: copyright law allows SCO to be as generous or hoarding with their software as they choose. The free software community would like to see all software made free, voluntarily.

    Lawyer: but if you had access to SCO's source code, wouldn't you want to put it on the internet, you know, to make it "free"?

    RMS: I'm not allowed to do that. That's why I and others in the free software community write our own software and make it free.

    Lawyer: do you feel satisfaction when someone else steals source code and places it on the internet?

    RMS: No.

    Lawyer: but it would make more software "free", that's good right?

    RMS: No, because it's not free in the sense I'm talking about. It's still under a proprietary license, which is being violated. Free software must be set free by the copyright holder, not by someone else. that's why the FSF makes sure that we hold the copyright on all software we release, which is assigned to us through legal means.

    Lawyer: c'mon you bearded hippy, CRACK!! CRACK DAMN IT!!!!
  • Re:I don't THINK so (Score:3, Informative)

    by twistedcubic (577194) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @06:04PM (#7457962)

    ...including that my mother knew him in the late 70s

    You think he may have gotten a chance to brush up on his public speaking skills over the last quarter century? :) I know I did. Anyway, I've seen him on videos. He's as good a speaker as any, and more importantly, he can give very precise arguments. You should be more worried about Linus.
  • I do (Score:3, Informative)

    by wraithgar (317805) <michaelNO@SPAMcomrade.us> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @06:19PM (#7458165) Homepage Journal
    http://www.whatpc.co.uk/News/1147824

    SEC Filings are public.

    For some reason this reminds me of the scenario from the first Godfather movie, where they figure out where the meeting will be because the Police Chief has to let his station know where he'll be at all times
  • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Informative)

    by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @06:24PM (#7458219)
    "He'd sooner rewrite it from scratch, as he's done hundreds of times before."

    Actually, the GPL was penned by Eben Moglen, not RMS. RMS came up with the idea, and Eben made it legally sound and defensible in court.

  • Re:WHAT!!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by LibrePensador (668335) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @06:39PM (#7458383) Journal
    Actually, most subpoenaes are fishing expeditions. If that doesn't work, then a character assasination takes place. From someone who's gone through this, it is an ugly process, something you rarely ever want to go through. And, unlike criciminal cases, there often isn't a judge there to decide what questions can be asked. You still have to answer a question, even if your lawyer objects. The judge subsequently decides whether the objection is merited. But even if a question isn't admitted in the official transcript, the fact that it can be asked can make your life miserable. You are also more likely to lose your cool if you keep being pounded without having a judge there to stop frivolous questions.
  • by EricTheGreen (223110) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @06:56PM (#7458538) Homepage
    Just in case anyone is getting wrongheaded expectations of RMS and/or Linus appearing in a courtroom anytime soon, these subpoenas most likely are asking for either: a) depositions relative to discovery or b) specific documents, answers or background information relative to one of the issues being considered at trial. Nothing terribly exciting here, although it does make for a catchy headline.

    I mention this because a number of posts speculate on "the GPL finally going to trial" or some such as a consequence of this. That may very well happen, but not as an immediate result of this. So those of you awaiting the "GPL Final Combat" should probably sheathe the swords for a little while longer...
  • Re:sad but fun (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lord_Byron (13168) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @06:57PM (#7458546)
    Here's [sfgate.com] two [bbc.co.uk].
  • by roystgnr (4015) <.roystgnr. .at. .ticam.utexas.edu.> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:47PM (#7459129) Homepage
    The first thing the public saw was their stupid slide show, which included proof that:

    SCO doesn't know the difference between what they once called "Ancient Unix" (which the AT&T vs. Berkeley judge said AT&T lost to the public domain) and the System V code they actually own some rights to, despite the fact that they rereleased that code themselves under the old BSD license.

    SCO doesn't know the difference between original BSD code (like the packet filter code they claimed as their own) and their System V code, despite the fact that they are legally required to retain the copyright notices on the BSD parts.

    SCO can't tell the difference between a legal, original reimplementation of a detailed published standard (like that BPF example, and probably like much of the POSIX, Unix9x, BSD, etc. compatibility in Linux) and an obfuscated copy of the original implementation.

    More recently, SCO has "responded" to IBM's interrogatories not with specific claims of wrongdoing, but with the output of "egrep -il (smp|rcu|numa)" and a disclaimer that they're not stating that the output includes some infringement.

    If they have an actual case, why are they pubishing these embarrassments instead, still keeping their case secret in court where they might piss off a judge instead of just a bunch of Linux users?
  • by plj (673710) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:55PM (#7459227)
    Why would Microsoft license a company that distributes software that is a DIRECT competitor to their Server software?

    Ever heard about it? [microsoft.com]
  • Re:Oh dear (Score:3, Informative)

    by XO (250276) <blade,eric&gmail,com> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @08:15PM (#7459437) Homepage Journal
    I don't believe this is a criminal trial - this is a contract infringment trial. Therefore, it would not be a trial by jury.

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:3, Informative)

    by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @08:56PM (#7459838) Homepage Journal
    Civil trials, at least in this state, still get a jury. I've served on one.
  • by LightSail (682738) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @10:08PM (#7460434)
    The Ibm questions for RMS and LT should open up some very interesting facets of Unix history. AT&T vs BSD, POSIX standards, BSD code in SysV, LKP questions, UNIX source in public domain, Caldera Linux history and more that SCO hoped would never be considered by the court.

    SCO doesn't really want these two standard bearers of Open Source to set the court straight, which IBM will surely make happen.

    Open Source is the life blood of these two men, they live and beleive it. They will both be well prepared and be SCO's worst nightmare come to life.

What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying. -- Nikita Khruschev

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