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SCO Gives Notice To 6,000 Unix Licensees 442

Posted by timothy
from the litigious-devotion dept.
inode_buddha writes "This article describes SCO's recent letters to its UNIX licensees, asking them to certify that they '...are not using Unix code in Linux.' It also notes another set of letters '...outlining additional evidence of copyright infringement to a subset of 1,500 global Linux users that SCO first contacted in May about copyright infringement.' There's also a decent breakdown of the company's balance sheet and some quotes from company officials. I hope to see one of those 'other' letters; could anyone post it? SCO better have asbestos underwear." Ask and receive: idiotnot adds "Here's the article from the Sydney Morning Herald. Here is a PDF Copy of the letter." "Yours truly"?
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SCO Gives Notice To 6,000 Unix Licensees

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  • Phew... (Score:5, Funny)

    by subk (551165) <drumhedNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @08:58AM (#7890034)
    .After almost 2 weeks of no SCO stories, I was begining to delevop a bit of a nervous tic!
  • by matth (22742) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @08:59AM (#7890040) Homepage
    I'm still waiting to actually see the evidence that SCO claims is in the Linux source code. They showed us one example, and if I recall it was mostly comments!
    • by leonbrooks (8043) <SentByMSBlast-No ... .brooks.fdns.net> on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:08AM (#7890083) Homepage
      Ironic that at least two Caldera employees have, with Caldera's blessing, contributed code to Linux. End of case, you can all go home now.

      Perhaps Linus should send a similar letter to SCOX and the same addressees, requiring them to guarantee that none of their SCOX or derivative code includes any contributions from the Linux codebase?
    • by bwalling (195998) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:20AM (#7890151) Homepage
      I'm still waiting to actually see the evidence that SCO claims is in the Linux source code.Apparently SCO is waiting to see the evidence as well. Why else would they keep asking everyone else to see if there is any?
    • by Alien54 (180860) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:59AM (#7890441) Journal
      I thinkl this would be a perfect time for many companies to reply, saying that they have removed all SCO software from their sites, and have converted everything to Linux.

      That should give the SCO lawyers a Nervous Tic (tm)

    • A book (Score:5, Informative)

      by jbolden (176878) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @10:28AM (#7890664) Homepage
      You are forgetting the important point. Those comments came from a common source which was public -- a book on Unix. That is the copyright holder to the code:

      a) was known
      b) had published the information with intent that it might be used in other's code
      c) and therefore did not consider this code a "trade secret"

      What this means is that in SCO's example if they are claiming copyright violation then they've crossed over from a stupid civil suit to blatent criminal acts (i.e. its a felony to claim the copyright on something you do not have the rights to)
    • In fact, comments are probably the most copyrightable thing about software. Becuase they are free form and do not have to conform to a syntax (other than the methods of initiating and ending a comment) and because they don't have a functional purpose, they are purely expressive. Copyright protects original works of expression.

      Now the particular comments that SCO pointed out were the actual error messages printed out by the system in association with the various errors the system was prepared to report. Sin
      • by dipipanone (570849) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @11:04AM (#7891023)
        In fact, comments are probably the most copyrightable thing about software. Becuase they are free form and do not have to conform to a syntax (other than the methods of initiating and ending a comment) and because they don't have a functional purpose, they are purely expressive. Copyright protects original works of expression.

        That's absolutely true, but think about how copyright is enforced? Damages are awarded for the value of the breach.

        The fact is that the loss I'd cause to you by copying your comments would be a big fat zero. So while you're technically correct, the real-world legal implications have little or no significance.

        IANAL, etc.
  • by Gary Whittles (735467) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:01AM (#7890049) Journal
    By sending out these clearly fraudulent legal notices-- which at best claim copyright over something which is uncopyrightable, and at worst is an attempt by a third party to claim that it is illegal for people to use the materials owned by the BSD regents under the BSD license in the manner in which the BSD regents intended the BSD license to be used-- has SCO opened itself up to legal action?

    SCO has in the past managed to sidestep most allegations of fraud by being horrendously vague. They said that they were owned money but never sent any invoices, sidestepping mail fraud. They tried to present things as if you needed an SCO license to use linux, but if you tried to talk to talk to them, they were actually selling UnixWare licenses and not in the process actually distributing linux to you, sidestepping GPL violations. However, this is entirely non-vague. It seems to me that SCO has stepped over some sort of line here and this is actionable.

    I know that the law does not seem to have many consequences for people who send out bad takedown notices, but surely there must be something preventing company A from finding lists of competitor B's customers and sending them takedown notices for using some portion of competitor B's product that company A does not, in fact, own.

    At the least, can this be added to the lanham act/ restraint of trade/ libel or whatever countersuits that Redhat and IBM have going? What are the options from here, and what will actually happen?
    • The fraud questions occurred to me as well. The conclusion I came to was that these enterprises that are paying for the "licenses" are doing so just to be safe, but ptobably with the full idea that soon SCO will be proven wrong and then the tables are turned. They will be dragged into court civilally by everyone of the organizations that paid, if not prosecuted full out for fraud and sent to jail. There is a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.
    • by Amiga Lover (708890) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:24AM (#7890181)
      From the letter:

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

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


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

      It's a bit like GM finding a loophole in the invention of the wheel and sending out a letter to their customers, reminding them they are not allowed to own a Ford too.
      • > SCO is, in effect, attempting to use their claimed
        > copyright (unproven and untested) over linux's header
        > files as a way to say "If you use our UNIX, you may not
        > use Linux at all" because, in effect, all Linux contains the
        > code they allege is theirs.

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

        Since Linux is far more popular and prevalent, I'm
        • by eric76 (679787)

          It would be funny if they terminated someone's license for running Caldera Linux.

          I wonder if they claim that Caldera Linux infringes.

        • by jbolden (176878) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @10:38AM (#7890744) Homepage
          1) SCO does not own the rights to UNIX (in any sense such rights could exist the open group owns them). This is another one of there false claims. They own the right to use AT&T code in their UNIX product, and they own the right to call Unixware a Unix which is the same rights as IBM, Sun, SGI, etc... have. Be careful about beliving anything they say about their case

          2) They can't terminate the licenses, even if someone answered yes to these questions. The very paragraph they quote gives them the right to ask about the CPUs deploying Unixware not every CPU in the company (bolding mine)

          On request, but not more frequently than annually,
          Licensee shall furnish to SCO a statement, certified by an
          authorized representative of Licensee, listing the location,
          type and serial number of all Designated CPUs
          hereunder and stating that the use by Licensee of Software Products subject to this Agreement has been reviewed and that each
          such Software Product is being used solely on such
          Designated CPUs (or temporarily on back-up CPUs) for
          such Software Products in full compliance with the
          provisions of this Agreement.

      • The USL Case (Score:4, Informative)

        by Royster (16042) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @10:59AM (#7890949) Homepage
        The judge in the USL case ruled that the Unix header files were uncopyrightable. There's already a ruling on the books which holds that SCO has no leg to stand on here.
      • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @12:50PM (#7892295) Homepage
        This means that anyone who bought a UNIX license under the belief that doing so would give them the license to use SCO's "property" in linux is now being threatened if they do not stop using SCO's property in linux!

        So they're being legally threatened for the exact thing they thought they were paying money to avoid being legally threatened for. Whereas the rest of us are still being ignored. If anyone actually fell for this the first time, I'll be they're feeling pretty ripped off. :D

        When the "deal" was first announced on slashdot, I heard two comments a lot: "If you accept, you're probably just going to use it as a pretense to extort more money from you later, since by buying the license you're admitting they're right." and: "Only a fool would buy a license from SCO thinking it provides indemnification; SCO has already revoked "irrevokable" licenses multiple times during this lawsuit fiasco."

        Now SCO is demanding the people who bought the license either (1) take drastic steps to stop using SCO's competitors or (2) legally implicate themselves further by making a silly "certification" that could be easily accidentally violated, thus offering up a means for SCO to sue them that they didn't have before (because now they can sue you for violating the certification). And if you don't comply with SCO's demands, they'll revoke your license that you thought was irrevokable.

        (BTW, I don't at all *mind*, but I think that maybe, if you liked the grandparent comment, you might be like to know where they copied it from [slashdot.org]. It made a bit more sense in that story's context, though it of course applies here as well.)
    • by milo_Gwalthny (203233) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @10:18AM (#7890565)
      This is actually rather clever. SCO is not claiming that the licensees are using their code in violation of the license, they are asking the licensees to certify that they are not. This puts the licensees in a difficult position: they have absolutely no idea whether or not they are violating the license. They will not want to respond that they are not, because that could come back to haunt them. So, they either have to not respond at all, thus facing the retraction of their license, or (my personal favorite) say they are not violating "to the best of our knowledge." This last might drag them into a legal dispute with SCO.

      SCO is like the insane man on the street: he's almost certainly harmless, but nobody wants to get embroiled with him anyway. Thus the dilemma for licensees. For SCO, they end up with many more legal targets.
      • by lildogie (54998) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @12:39PM (#7892179)
        If some "licensee" really feels that they ought to respond to the letter, but doesn't want to do a cpu-by-cpu certification, there are standard stalling tactics that they can use to keep SCO from calling them non-compliant until IBM kills SCO.

        For example, the day before the deadline, send a letter explaining there are exigent circumstances, and asking for a 90-day extension of the deadline.

        Repeat until SCO says no, then send a "please accept under separate cover" letter, referring to a document that seems to have gotten lost in the mail. Buy more time by "searcing" for the lost document.

        When SCO demands a new copy of the document be prepared and sent, send an open envelope, and marvel at the bad luck that the contents of the envelope have been lost.

        So on and so forth.

        All you have to do is stall until SCO is killed by the big guys.
  • by Disc2 (720412) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:02AM (#7890057)
    ...and i've been putting unix code into linux. Do they expect people to admit it?
  • by ch-chuck (9622) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:02AM (#7890058) Homepage
    This SCO notification is brought to you by the letters 'U' and 'O' and the numbers '6' and '0'.
  • by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:03AM (#7890062)
    Just go and buy off SCO (Thats what SCO wants anyway) for us. Write it off as a tax write off as donation to a good cause.
    • Re:Come on IBM. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lorphos (194963) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:06AM (#7890076)
      Please don't! Rewarding these criminals will set a bad example for everyone else. You are right. They are wrong. Sit it out. Make them pay in the end. That's the only way to deal with their kind.

      (aka "We don't negotiate with terrorists")
    • If SCO is purchased, Darl McBride, Chris Sontagg, David Boies and the other scheming liars that stand by SCO will walk away rich. I'd much rather endure this retardedness for awhile longer and see them rot in prison, embarassed. I hope they are found guilty and their families are grossly ashamed.

      But I'm not bitter.
    • Re:Come on IBM. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by surprise_audit (575743) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:12AM (#7890110)
      Why would IBM want to buy SCO, when they can pound them into the ground, and then be handed their assets in settlement by the judge? Much more satisfying for all concerned - well, all that matter, anyway... :)
  • It's obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AndroidCat (229562) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:04AM (#7890064) Homepage
    This has to be some pathetic cry for help. Later, we'll look back and think "If we'd said something or done something, perhaps it didn't have to happen that way." Then we'll remember that it was Darl and SCO, and shrug.
  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:04AM (#7890065) Homepage
    According to the BBB, this is what they have to say about SCO.

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

    Something is not....right.

    • Something is not....right.

      SCOX has appendicitis?

    • by wowbagger (69688) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:25AM (#7890189) Homepage Journal
      The Better Business Bureau is a paper tiger - just because a company is listed as "satisfactory" with them does not mean the company is not a wretched hive of scum and villany.

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

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

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

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

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

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

      s/BBB/MAPS/g

      or

      s/businesses/posters/g && s/BBB/moderators/g
      )
  • by gingerTabs (532664) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:05AM (#7890070) Homepage
    Yes I skimmed the story, and I was pleasantly surprised to see an advert for IBMs linux solutions halfway down the main body of the text. That's intelligent ad placement at it's best :)
  • Very cool, the major ad on the page is an IBM Linux ad featuring the Linux kid from their commercial.
  • by jridley (9305) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:09AM (#7890086)
    From the article:
    SCO also announced its first full year of profitability today, reporting $5.3m in net income for its 2003 financial year

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

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

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

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

      Without those fud money donations, what will 2004 look like?
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:09AM (#7890088)
    There's also a decent breakdown of the company's balance sheet and some quotes from company officials

    Here it is, for your viewing enjoyment:

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

    Company officials statement:

    Are we the greatest company in the world or what?

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

    Alex
  • by shanen (462549) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:12AM (#7890108) Homepage Journal
    This is really getting loony--but I just realized that time is up. It's already been about a month since SCO was told to produce some REAL goods. It's obviously some sort of diversionary move, but a really crazy one. I'm straining my brain to understand it, but all I can think is that they want to claim this is how they are "protecting" their IP rather than performing normal due diligence. I bet the judge is not going to be amused. Can you say "contempt of court"?

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

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

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

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

  • Why would I do that? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CaptainZapp (182233) * on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:12AM (#7890112) Homepage
    asking them to certify that they '...are not using Unix code in Linux.'

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

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

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

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

      Unix is less of a patented system and more of a trade name for any of a number of POSIX-compatible environments -- even system administrators admit this. Linux deliberately breaks 100% compatibility with Unix but they're basically the same in many respects...Which is why Linux is a U
    • by mormop (415983) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:29AM (#7890215)
      I wouldn't worry. Until they provide some positive proof that they own whatever it is they claim they own along with a list of the exact code segments, no judge in their right mind would uphold the letter even if you signed it.

      It's a bit like saying to someone:

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

      "What oil company do you own"?

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

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

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

      Since the existence of "Unix code in Linux" is at the heart of the litigation, and so is the extent of ownership by SCO of legacy Unix after the AT&T/BSD affair, the recipients of the SCO letter would seem to be within their rights to reply with deferral of any such certification until the ongoing legal process has been completed. (Unless of course SCO
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, you only need to certify that "we are in compliance with our licence".

      The questions fall into 2 categories:
      - covered by the licence that the licensee signed.
      - not covered by the licence.

      If the question *is* covered by the licence, then you don't need to answer [as your compliance with the licence covers this].
      If the question is *not* covered by the licence, then you have no reason to answer it. [note that SCO does not have the right to amend these licences]

      Hence, it's a waste of paper.
    • by ryanvm (247662)
      They are asking their UNIX licensees. They are well within there right to do so as such a provision is almost certainly in the contract that the licensees signed.

      Now, if they were asking random Linux users it would be another story.
  • by mccalli (323026) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:16AM (#7890134) Homepage
    I like the Sontag quote: "...formally communicate to Unix source code licensees and certain commercial Linux end users that they must utilise SCO intellectual property within the bounds of their existing legal agreements...

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

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • Dear SCO (Score:5, Funny)

    by lone_marauder (642787) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:17AM (#7890140)
    Your imagination is not my problem. I no more need to certify to you that I am not using your intellectual property than that I am not using alien UFO technology in our corporate restrooms. A assertion must stand on its own merit, and any response to that assertion must necessarily be based upon that merit.

    Having established that point, I think I have found a use for your assertions in our corporate restrooms.
    • Re:Dear SCO (Score:3, Funny)

      by fermion (181285)
      I have been thinking for a while about how to respond. I think everyone who received the letter should respond with something like this

      Dear SCO

      I received you recent letter of inquiry with great interest. I believe that Linux may have legal problems, and I do not wish to subject my company to liabilities that may be a part of those legal difficulties. In particular, I do not wish to a victim of the the harassment tactics that have become part of the Unix and Windows interests.

      I regret I cannot answ

  • by mr i want to go home (610257) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:18AM (#7890142)
    ...if they sent this letter to themselves, given the amount of code they've contributed :)

    From the letter:

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

  • Waste of time... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:18AM (#7890146) Homepage
    Perhaps The SCO Group's legal department would have put better use to their time producing evidence of the so-called contract infringement by Monday. Any recipient of the notice should at least wait until Monday to see whether the judge dismisses the case (translation out of legalspeak: Boies and Co get laughed out of court) due to lack of such evidence, which I've seen nothing to indicate they have.

    I expect that the following announcement was heard in SCO offices: "Thank you for pressing the self-destruct button. The company will implode in 6 days."
  • by Zan Zu from Eridu (165657) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:21AM (#7890161) Journal
    1. You are not running Linux binary code that was compiled from any version of Linux that contains our copyrighted application binary interface code ("ABI Code") specifically identified in the attached notification letter.
    So basicly you're not allowed to run Linux anymore if you sign this (unless it's a version prior to 2.4).
    • by Epsillon (608775) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:40AM (#7890286) Homepage Journal
      No, actually the quoted text in your post says "containing our copyrighted application binary interface code". They haven't proved that the versions you mention do contain such code and until they have, any such speculation remains just that.
    • by xixax (44677) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @10:01AM (#7890456)
      From my reading, SCO is telling their customers that they must swear allegience to Darl and be tied in to his fool's crusade or their licence gets revoked and they get sued. In effect, SCO users are being forced to decide immediately between Xenix or Linux.

      If a company decides to swear fealty to SCO, they risk being left with an obsolete 1980's Unix that's as useful as a Trabant and vendor who has been counter sued to atoms by IBM. If they decide this ultimatum is a good reason to ditch Xenix for Linux, mad Pope Darl may excommunicate them, send the inquisition and loudly proclaim that Linux is indeed harming SCO.

      I suppose the intent in forcing this hand might be to get PHBs to make quick, expedient decisions that minimise their exposure to immediate risk.

      Now what I want to know what Sun's going to say regarding *their* letter from mad Pope Darl? Did they get one? How will Scott respond?

      Xix.
  • by Thumper_SVX (239525) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:25AM (#7890191) Homepage
    How exactly are the licensees supposed to certify that they're NOT using UNIX code in Linux, if SCO is unwilling to identify said code??? I mean, a kernel changes a lot depending upon what has been compiled in... how do I know if I'm using it or not?

    Can somebody mod SCO -1 TROLL?
  • The PDF is unavailable now but I have a window open with the text. Which is posted below.

    December 18, 2003
    [Name]
    [Address]
    Re: AT&T / SCO License No. SOFT-____
    Dear UNIX Licensee:
    You are designated as Licensee under the above-referenced software licensing agreement
    (the "Agreement"). The undersigned SCO Group, Inc. ("SCO") is the successor licensor.
    The Agreement is in full force and effect according to its terms.
    License Grant to Use UNIX Technology
    You were granted under Para. 2.01 of the Agreement:
    [A] per
  • by eddy (18759) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:29AM (#7890213) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

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

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

    I don't see no notification of copyrighted code?

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

  • by KoolDude (614134)

    With all this childish attempts, I am *officially* convinced that SCO stands for School Children's Operation. :)
  • Or else Micheal Jackson would probably send notice to thousands of songwriters, asking them to certify that their songs aren't rip-offs of something from "Thriller". It sure sounds ridiculous in that context!
  • by corby (56462) * on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:39AM (#7890274)
    Great Business Plans in American History

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

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

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

  • by theonetruekeebler (60888) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:55AM (#7890398) Homepage Journal
    To repeat myself [slashdot.org], SCO will not get a single reply. These two letters are a fishing expedition to sucker future lawsuit victims into signing up. SCO will probably send a second round of letters to all non-respondants in a few weeks, promising dire, horrible consequences to those who refuse to roll over. Those letters will be ignored, too.
  • by cheesedog (603990) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:58AM (#7890430)
    Last sentence of SCO's friendly letter:

    "SCO may pursue all legal remeidies available to it including, but not limited to, license termination rights."

    Here is the text of my certified response letter:

    "Dear SCO, I hereby terminate my own Unixware license. The 3 machines we still had running Unixware have been pining for years to join their linux brethren or BSD friends. Today, they do so. Thanks for the gentle push!"

    • That's all well and good; admirable, even. But, SCO doesn't care if they lose Unixware licensees. They aren't making money off Unixware anyway, and it costs money and effort to upkeep, and they have to deal with pesky user problems.

      They just want you to send them money. It's the perfect business: no product, no staff, just a lot of money rolling in due to the past efforts of other, complete strangers (both on the Unix side and the Linux side), and the gullibility of people who believe every official-loo
  • by savageps91 (676830) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @10:06AM (#7890486)
    Here is SCO's treatment of their customers. It is now painfully obvious that they do not have the interests of anyone in mind - they are being greedy and selfish. If for no other reason than that, they will ultimately fail. Once a person or entity gets the greed on, they become blind to reality and make some of the _dumbest decisions known to man_ (TM) Let anyone who thought about buying anything from SCO. You are licensing yourself for continual harrasment from SCO's gestapo. Caveat Emptor.
  • by Ih8sG8s (4112) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @10:11AM (#7890526)
    I read the PDF of the letter.

    This letter assumes the guilt of all its licencees until proven otherwise. SCO is demanding corporate HR documents (non-disclosure) for each employee who might come in contact with their software stating that they will follow the licence and letter provisions to the T. The letter also seems to suggest that users of SCO software must swear under threat of legal action never to use Linux, and never to develop GPL software. Unbelievable.

    If there was any doubt before, there is none now. This letter can't possibly be seen as anything but insulting, even by historically staunch SCO supporters. I've never seen such arrogance. I feel like I'm reading Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy.

    DIE SCO. I can't wait to read that SCO has finally died, and that its officials and officers are being brought up on criminal charges. What a bunch of fucking crooks.

    • by Billly Gates (198444) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @10:23AM (#7890622) Journal
      MOD UP!

      Your post is to the point.

      All these developers and companies who use Unix will not be sued if they want to switch to Linux of BSD. If not under the false pretenses that Linux has stolen code, but rather violating a license agreement.

      IF they refuse, SCO can then threaten to sue them claiming they have no respect for their IP.

      So they can never run free software at all. Very crafty and slimy indeed.

      I sense SCO is planning on a backup to keep them afloat if the IBM case fails. They will just sue companies and individuals who are stupid enough to sign such agreements.

      Sorry if your server can not support Unixware, then you must run Windows. Ugh.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @10:19AM (#7890579) Homepage
    Which is too bad because I'd get to write the response:

    Dear Mr. So-and-So

    In response to your request for certification that we have not contributed SCO IP into Linux our official response:

    Bullshit.

    Sincerely,

    Mr. Shadow
    Director Software Support
    XYZ Corporation

    Of course legal would nix it anyway. Might get fired for sending it without their chop, but what a way to go out, huh? Hehe.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @10:45AM (#7890818)
    Has it been actually verified that these letters were really sent? Since this scam began, scox has told numerous lies of this nature. Here are a few examples of scox's outright lies (from a yahoo poster):

    Lie: We've gone in, we've done a deep dive into Linux, we've compared the source code of Linux with UNIX every which way but Tuesday
    Truth: Experts have shown that SCO used a simple, primitive text search based on a few keywords.

    Lie: SCO's expert witnesses are "MIT Mathematicians".
    Truth: Among various backpedaling statements, Paul Hatch, a SCO spokesman, wrote in a statement to The Tech ,"'To clarify, the individuals reviewing the code had been involved with MIT labs in the past, but are not currently at MIT."

    Lie: SCO received the D&T Fast 500 recognition because of the strong UNIX market, IP enforcement and the Web services strategy
    Truth: SCO made the list because of revenue growth due exclusively to the Tarantula acquisition.

    Lie: The IP protection legal team is on pure contingency
    Truth: The legal team is billing at a 2/3 discounted rate with the possibility of contingent commissions

    Lie: Boies was compensated $1.6M for a contingent event
    Truth: The engagement agreement specifically excludes heritage UNIX OEM license deals; Boies is being compensated 20% of the $8MM Microsoft license deal, which is a follow-on extension of the first deal, a UNIX license deal not eligible as a contingent event.

    Lie: Invoices will be mailed to Linux users by October 15, 2003
    Truth: No invoices were ever mailed.

    Lie: We will show rock solid evidence at SCOForum in Las Vegas
    Truth: SCO was quickly shown to not have any ownership of the SCOForum evidence

    Lie: The Berkeley Packet Filter code in Linux is "obfuscated" SCO code.
    Truth: Jay Schulist, who never had access to SCO code, implemented it from scratch.

    Lie: SCO's 2002 UNIX source release was "non-commercial" and excludes 32-bit code
    Truth: "The text of the letter, sent January 23, 2002, by Bill Broderick, Director of Licensing Services for Caldera [now SCO], in fact makes no mention of "non-commercial use" restrictions, does not include the words "non-commercial use" anywhere and specifically mentions "32-bit 32V Unix" as well as the 16-bit versions."

    Lie: We have been off meeting for the last several months with large corporate Linux end users. The pipeline is very healthy there.
    Truth: The pipeline is empty. All inquiries have been to assess SCO's claims and liability exposure.

    Lie: We have done additional signups for Linux end-user licenses. We have a number of folks that are in the evaluation process, and we definitely have a lot of interest in what's going on there.
    Truth: During the earnings conference, SCO admitted that not a single Linux end-user license has been sold. Follow-on guidance comments warn that no such sales are expected in Q1.

    Lie: Our claims are not trivial.
    Truth: Based on evidence provided to date, SCO's claims are extremely trivial, debunked in a matter of hours

    Lie: claims that SCO has are both broad and deep.
    Truth: SCO's has made a breach of contract claim and a copyright infringement claim; all evidence presented to date has shown each of these claims to be trivial and unfounded

    Lie: These claims touch not, just not IBM, but other vendors as well.
    Truth: Exhaustive code reviews by other SYSV licensees, including HP and SGI, have shown that the only Linux/SysV overlap concerns a small amount of public domain code.

    Lie: (To the Utah Judge on 12/5) SCO will make a copyright claim in two days, but no longer than a week
    Truth: Many weeks later and a copyright claim has not yet been made.

    Lie: During the recent road tour, Blake Stowell indicated that core operations were profitable in Q3.
    Truth: Core operations lost $3.8MM in Q3-03.

    Lie: Sco will audit AIX users.
    Truth: It never happend.

    Lie: Sco will revoke IBM rights to use, support, or distribute AIX.
    Truth: Those rights can not be revoked by scox.
  • FUD back (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @11:00AM (#7890958) Homepage
    "All IP in Linux is licenced to us by their respective copyright owners, as indicated by the copyright notice included at the top of each source file. Should you believe any of these licences are incorrect or invalid, we ask that you seek a court verdict to that effect. Until such time that you can provide one, we consider all such IP to be legally licenced.

    As required by the 2.04, we certify that following a review, we are in compliance with the terms of the agreement. The contract does not require us to go into further detail on this matter. Should you wish to pursue this matter further, we ask that you specifically list what provisions you claim have been broken, and any evidence to that effect.

    Regards,
    I.R. Lawyer
    Legal department"
  • by myrashka (452794) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @11:22AM (#7891216)
    IANAL - however, I'm pretty sure that in cases like this (license enforcement, trademark enforcement, ip enforcement, etc), it helps your case to show you are actively trying to enforce your rights (in the case of tradmark enforcement, it's a requirement)...this letter is probably a long list of things SCO's lawyers list as required for a successful case (and have suckered SCO into paying them to creat).

    So perhaps SCO is fishing for suckers (takes one to know one), but likely, they're don't care and will send out lots of letters like this to show that they've made efforts and have been blantantly ignored. Of course, the only one's getting rich here will be SCO's lawyers.

    Again, IANAL - but who cares if anyone responds...the key is SCO is going through the motions of being a proper litigant...
  • RICO Lawsuit (Score:4, Interesting)

    by b-baggins (610215) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @11:25AM (#7891243) Journal
    I'm still trying to find out why none of these companies has filed an extortion suit against SCO.
  • by FrankDrebin (238464) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @01:17PM (#7892562) Homepage

    So SCO is demanding certification under a provision of existing agreements stating the Unix licensee must answer compliance queries, at most anually. If I got one of these letters, I would answer... only that I was in compliance with the original Unix agreement (assuming I was).

    As far as all the extra crap about not using Linux and not exporting to Cuba, I would ignore. How can you be bound to answer on subjects that you have no contractual or legal obligation?

    SCO might as well be asking to certify that the room in which all Unix machines run is not painted green. Why would anyone answer that (true or not)? It's just not SCO's business.

  • by jafac (1449) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @01:19PM (#7892580) Homepage
    Dear Mister Hussein,
    Please provide evidence that you are in compliance with UN Resolution 3177, and that you have no active programs to develop WMI, and that you are not in posession of any WMI or WMI delivery systems.

    Failure to provide evidence will result in a massive invasion of your country by US Laywer forces, shock and awe, resulting in the eventual extraction of your carcass from a spider-hole.

    Sincerely,
    Darl McBush
  • by Performer Guy (69820) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @01:57PM (#7892942)
    Wow, It this letter is what it appears to be then SCO are going after their own customer base who were unfortunate enough to license software from them in the past. If ever there was a case for staying the heck away from SCO's and their agreements this is it.
  • SCO backsteps (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Teahouse (267087) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @02:31PM (#7893291)
    requiring them to certify that they are in full compliance with their Unix source code agreements and are not using Unix code in Linux.

    Unless I am mistaken, this is a backstep from the original letter. Certifying you have no UNIX code is far different from the whole derivative ideas crap they were claiming last time. A large company's lawyer will reply with:

    Please notify us of which UNIX source codes you are referring to, as this company has no legal requirement to SCO to certify anything until you receive a favorable legal judgement. We will be happy to comply beforehand, but there is no burden on us and we require your help. If you can inform us of the violations, we will be happy to work with the programming community to eliminate any current violations once you have made us aware of them.

    A letter like this will show a willingness to eliminate any copyright violation, while still putting the burden on SCO to provide actual instances of infringment. The fact that SCO is asking for the good-faith effort in the first place definitely seems a lot weaker than their previous letter.

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