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The Courts Government Novell Operating Systems Software Unix News

Appeals Court Overturns 2007 Unix Copyright Decision 330

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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  • wtf (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:11AM (#29184671)

    Did it become april fools day when I wasn't watching?

  • Groklaw coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RedK ( 112790 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:20AM (#29184743) []

    It's important to note that the Appeals court hasn't said that the copyrights do belong to SCO. They've only found that a decision regarding copyright ownership based on the APA wasn't something that should have been decided in a summary judgment and that the decision should've been made during the jury trial.

  • by idiotnot ( 302133 ) <> on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:28AM (#29184857) Homepage Journal

    ....all this means is it'll have to go back to trial to decide the issues. I kind of figured this would happen; Kimball's summary judgment was premature.

    (yes, I skimmed through the long-ass PDF)

    The same verdict as Kimball granted could potentially be reached again, this time with a full court proceeding. What it does do is delay the other cases even longer, as the Novell case decision is really required before any of them can proceed.

    See you in 2012.

  • Code ownership... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Targon ( 17348 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:37AM (#29184947)

    One thing that needs to be kept in mind is that there is the ownership of some code, but how much code can really be said to belong to one entity. BSD was spawned from the idea of creating a UNIX-like operating system, but was not using code from UNIX. So, when you say "UNIX", it is important to look at the code base and where each piece came from. All things considered, there are standard methods of doing things that are taught in school that may have originated from the old UNIX code, but are now considered a standard way of doing things. Can you say that everyone who uses code they have learned in school now runs the risk of copyright violation because the code may look identical to pieces of the "copyrighted" UNIX code?

    This is where a lot of the problems will come from in these lawsuits from SCO. Also, if AT&T put a lot of code out into the public domain back when they owned System V, then it can't be taken back at this point. Does anyone know how much of the so-called UNIX code is actually held under the copyright at this point?

  • by edgarmoon ( 785523 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @08:47AM (#29185079)
    So SCO is fully liable for payment to Novell, meaning they cannot get out of bankrupcy that easily. Ownership has not been reversed, SCO still does not own anything, that has to go to court and in the meantime SCO has to pay more money out. The question is will they continue to get investors to fund this campaign? Even if by some miracle SCO was to get the copyrights to unix, there is little if any chance they can succeed in proving any code was misappropriated by IBM. Basically all this proves is that our court system does everything in its power to make sure lawyers get all the money.
  • Re:first (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Curunir_wolf ( 588405 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @09:05AM (#29185315) Homepage Journal

    Oops - that should have been $4,066,000.

    Damn those floating decimals!

  • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @09:10AM (#29185373) Homepage

    Because that would mean more confusion in the end, and it would encourage the nextSCO to pull the same stunt: Sue a company with big pockets on claims without merit und wait for the company to reward you with buyout money.

  • by EvilNTUser ( 573674 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @09:26AM (#29185563)

    Violence is the last refuge against the incompetent.

  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @09:29AM (#29185597)
    It is quite clear that all along in history, violence solved a lot of problem. Solved them very definitively. It might have created other, or ultimately led to the end of the offender, but the original problem was mostly solved, even if it involved putting to the sword the whole populace, including children, and then salting their fields.
  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @09:38AM (#29185703)

    People asked the same question about why IBM didn't buy out SCO at the beginning.

    The argument against, IIRC, pointed out that in so doing they'd be sending a strong message to the IT industry: "Fuck with us, and we'll buy your company for enormous gobs of cash and all your directors will be able to retire with massive golden parachutes!".

  • Re:Not Science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @10:16AM (#29186235)

    Asimov was not a scientist

    His Ph.D in biochemistry would disagree with you.

  • Re:Not Science? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zaaj ( 678276 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @10:26AM (#29186343)
    You haven't read any of Asimov's non-fiction? From []:

    Isaac Asimov ... was a Russian-born American author and professor of biochemistry, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.

    I would have thought that most people would conside professors of biochemistry to be scientists...

  • by RomulusNR ( 29439 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @11:09AM (#29187003) Homepage

    where the hell SCO is getting the money from to pay for a decade of litigation. How has SCO managed to survive two recessions and continue to base a business model solely around endless litigation? Dear SCO: I have a great idea for a futile court case, who is your angel investor? PS: Your money would have been better spent hiring engineers and developing new products.

  • Re:first (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tuxgeek ( 872962 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @11:31AM (#29187331)
    "And it's working! SCOXQ is up from .09 to .26 ! "
    Damn! I should have bought SCO stock yesterday.
  • by AJWM ( 19027 ) * on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @11:48AM (#29187601) Homepage

    Ghandi showed Asimov's Hardin epigram to be true

    Ghandi's tactics worked against a Britain weakened by WW I and on the brink of defeat in WW II. It might have been a bit different against Nazis, or Stalin, or Imperial Rome, or ... but you get the idea.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:17PM (#29189161) Journal

    Some of us still ascribe to the theory that SCO was hoping to either be paid off or outright bought out by IBM. Their market share was crashing and the Caldera distro was going nowhere. IBM, who has substantial amounts of money and resources invested in Linux, wasn't about to tacitly admit, even to make the SCO problem go away, that it had breached any licensing agreements, and called the bluff.

    But there are all sorts of shady aspects, like Microsoft's clever tricks at getting money into SCO's hands and a few rather noteworthy SCO-friendly journalists and "experts" who made all sorts of bizarre claims, the most amusing of which was that Linus had ripped off Minix (that elicited a fun response from Tanenbaum). That's where the other theory comes into play, that McBride and Co. were involved in a pump and dump scheme.

  • by Nethemas the Great ( 909900 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:25PM (#29189251)
    Why won't you DIE?!?!
  • by agnosticnixie ( 1481609 ) on Tuesday August 25, 2009 @01:47PM (#29189573)
    Bomb the Bomber is already resorting to violence, which means the system is already to the lowest possible denominator, nice try.

Money can't buy love, but it improves your bargaining position. -- Christopher Marlowe