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Appeals Court Overturns 2007 Unix Copyright Decision 330

Posted by kdawson
from the long-dark-teatime dept.
snydeq writes "A federal appeals court has overturned a 2007 decision that Novell owns the Unix code, clearing the way for SCO to pursue a $1 billion copyright infringement case against IBM. In a 54-page decision (PDF), the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said it was reversing the 2007 summary judgment decision by Judge Dale Kimball of the US District Court for the District of Utah, which found that Novell was the owner of Unix and UnixWare copyrights. SCO CEO Darl McBride called the decision a 'huge validation for SCO.'" The case over who owns Unix will now go to trial in Utah.
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Appeals Court Overturns 2007 Unix Copyright Decision

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  • WOW (Score:1, Interesting)

    by OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:22AM (#29184767)

    I suppose this is the new business plan for most companies; instead of putting out product for consumers they sue one another for infringement to get profits.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:24AM (#29184805)

    SCO released a Linux distro, thereby waving any rights to pursue Linux vendors for copyright violations [at the time]. If people inserted UNIX code *after* SCO was involved then maybe there is a case...

    But you can't try and release a distro, profit from it, then sue later saying the distro which you licensed under GPL included your copyrighted [non-gpl] code...

  • by kubitus (927806) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:29AM (#29184873)
    I would like to see the guarantees SCO's lawyers have for getting paid!
  • Dan McBride Liar (Score:1, Interesting)

    by shareme (897587) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:32AM (#29184893) Homepage
    Read groklaw people ful decision was not over turned..Dan McBride is somewhat wrong and liar to boot
  • Re:Groklaw coverage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by san (6716) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:36AM (#29184939)

    Hardly. Considering SCO still owes Novell, and that this ruling only overturns a summary judgement, doesn't make Novell's copyright claim much weaker.

    This case is not about end-users, but about whether SCO even has standing to begin to sue Linux end-users. Which it doesn't (the nature of their copyright deal with Novell was pretty clear, but apparently not enough for a summary judgement).

    In the very unlikely event that SCO wins this case, big end-users like IBM may again have to begin to worry about defending against SCO's bizarre claims.

    Until then, this case has about as much impact on Linux users as one of the many claims against Apple, Microsoft or Sun have on their respective products' end users.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:39AM (#29184969) Homepage Journal

    Didn't scientific research recently prove that violence was the only solution to that?

    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent" -- Salvor Hardin, Foundation (Isaac Asimov)

  • Re:Groklaw coverage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:43AM (#29185023)

    Regardless of where this one goes, I'm not sure that opening up the path to renewed litigation against IBM could ever be seen as a good thing.

    They'll be ripped to pieces the moment that starts. They're called the Nazgul for a reason.

  • Re:Groklaw coverage (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:46AM (#29185069)

    In complex matters like this a jury trial is a meaningless formality and everyone knows it. Despite countless mind numbing hours of explanations to the jury about the intricacies of copyright law, the jurors won't have a clue on what the case is really about. So the real decisions will be made at the appellate level and perhaps even by the Supreme court.

  • Re:Groklaw coverage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:47AM (#29185075)

    Not to mention the fact that SCO might not survive long enough to persue the case against Novell. They're in Chapter 11 already and McBride & co have been kicked out in favor of a bankruptcy trustee who is likely to move SCO into Chapter 7. There it will be taken apart and the pieces sold off. Even if SCO avoided Chapter 7, the $3 million SCO payment to Novell was upheld. So SCO would have huge debts to pay off while fighting a legal battle against Novell. Even if they somehow survived that, IBM's Nazgul... I mean lawyers are waiting on the other side. The average Linux shop won't have anything to worry about from SCO for *years* even under SCO's best case scenario.

  • Re:Is it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @09:03AM (#29185289)

    SCO will likely be gone long before this ever gets settled.

    While I dont want SCO to win, I hope the end result is nothing to do with SCO running out of money.
    I like that the little guy can sue the big company, they just happen to be wrong in this case.

    IBM has maintained all along that there was NO infringing code.

    I hope that is how IBM wins, it might help stop some of the FUD that has been spread.

  • Re:NOT ! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ImprovOmega (744717) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @10:26AM (#29186347)

    Well, more to the point, the appeals court basically said that there's enough ambiguity to survive summary judgment (a pretty freaking low bar). The ruling makes a point of saying that they're not saying anything one way or the other about the issue of who actually owns the copyrights, just that summary judgment was premature because, in the best possible light you could possibly cast the facts in the case, there's a minute possibility that they might maybe not be talking out of their ass when they call the APA + amendment 2 an instrument of conveyance.

    Heck, half of it hinged on whether to consider the original APA separately from amendment 2. Kimball said to keep them separate, the appeals court decided they should be read together and that amendment 2 clarified the parties' original intent. It seems to get into some real fine hair splitting when you get to the appellate courts.

  • by RotateLeftByte (797477) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @10:32AM (#29186443)

    SCO (somehow) had the foresight to negociate a fixed price deal with BSF.
    Besides with the Court Appointed Trustee running the business, they could very well pull the plug on the whole thing IF they felt that the millstone of these proceedings could jeopardise their 'escape' from Chapter 7.

    I just wish they would roll over & die but I would expect Darl and his cronies to try to keep this going for as long as possible. (Sigh)

  • by The Breeze (140484) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @11:17AM (#29187121) Homepage

    There's a story in a book - I think it's called "The Million Dollar Lawyers" - about a company that was fighting IBM in court. One lawyer looked out the window and saw a huge funeral procession - lots of limos, a continuous parade of black limousines - going down the street, and remarked to his fellow lawyer, "Wow, that's some funeral, I wonder who it was."

    The other lawyer just snorted and said, "Funeral, hell, that's just the IBM legal department returning from lunch."

  • by J Story (30227) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @11:56AM (#29187723) Homepage

    It's trivially easy to make up cases where violence cannot be avoided.

    For example, Bob the bomber is about to press a button that will caused hundreds of deaths. Sam the sharpshooter is in position to kill Bob. Should Sam shoot? Either way, violence is committed.

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