Let us start off this week's SCO update with some quotes:
SCO has since backed off the billing plan, but the company is
still serious about enforcing its copyrights, said Chris Sontag,
senior vice president in charge of SCO's legal efforts. He said
lawsuits targeting Linux users will be filed within 90 days, with
initial suits targeting 1,500 companies that have significant
-- ZDNet, November
If someone says they want to see a court ruling before they pay,
we'll say, "Fine, you're the lucky winner. We'll take you
first.' I'd be surprised if we make it to the end of the year
without filing a lawsuit.
McBride, November 24, 2003
So we have basically said within the next few weeks, by February
18th we are going to be in the courtroom with an end user to go
through the copyright-related problems that we are having from an
McBride, February 2, 2004
There are many more quotes available on this theme, but certainly the idea
is clear by now. Like so many other bits of SCO bluster, the threats of
suits against end users have not been followed up by any sort of action.
Whether such a suit will eventually come remains an open question,
however. SCO is currently fighting IBM, Red Hat, and Novell in three
separate cases, and none of the three appear to be going particularly
well. At some point SCO's management should be forced to conclude that the
company simply does not have the resources to open any more legal fronts.
Dividing SCO's scarce cash and (possibly not so scarce) lawyers among even
more courtrooms would not appear to be a wise strategy.
On the other hand, few people have accused SCO of acting wisely in recent
times. The company is due to post a quarterly earnings report that, by all
estimates, will be dismal. SCO stock is well below the peak values it
hit in September and October. The mainstream media is beginning to wake
up, and its coverage is increasingly hostile. SCO's only hope for
continued existence would appear to be to somehow shake money out of
some easily-cowed Linux users, but those users are proving to have rather
more backbone than SCO may have anticipated. The SCO Group may yet decide
that its best interests lie in even more litigation.
One view into how the shakedown effort is proceeding can be found in Red Hat's
motion to supplement its filings in its suit against SCO. That case is
(still!) waiting for the judge to come to a conclusion on SCO's motion to
dismiss the case, which was filed in September. Since then, a few things
have happened which have made it increasingly clear that SCO does, indeed,
intend to go after Red Hat and its customers. Red Hat's motion is an
attempt to bring SCO's more recent actions to the judge's attention.
One of the things Red Hat is pointing out is a
letter sent by SCO to Lehman Brothers Holdings. It is a variant on the
standard SCO shakedown letter; the point here is that Lehman Brothers is a
Red Hat customer. Happily, Lehman Brothers saw no point in giving in to
response is short and clear, and is best paraphrased as "go bug Red
Part of the problem for SCO is that Novell's claims on the Unix copyrights
make it easy for prospective SCO victims to ignore the letters. If SCO
can't put forward a clear claim to the Unix copyrights, it will have a hard
time collecting from anybody regardless of the validity of its statements
about the provenance of Linux. For that reason, the company was compelled
to file suit against Novell, in hopes of clearing that obstruction.
Unfortunately for SCO, Novell has filed a compelling motion to dismiss the
suit. Essentially, says Novell, the SCO suit is missing two things that
are required in "slander of title" suits: proof that the defendant's
statements are false, and a demonstration that actual damages have been
suffered. As Novell points out, SCO's demand that the court force Novell
to transfer the copyrights proves that Novell's claims are true; SCO's suit
contradicts itself. See Groklaw
for a far more detailed discussion of Novell's motion.
Meanwhile, as of this writing, the Utah court still has not issued any
rulings regarding the motions to compel in the IBM case. There is no way
to know what this delay means until the court speaks. Chances are it will
be something interesting, however.
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