Ownership of Unix copyright headed to trial

Aug 25, 2009 By P. SOLOMON BANDA , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- A federal appeals court on Monday reversed a judge's decision that granted the copyright of the Unix computer operating system to Novell Inc.

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a judge erred in August 2007 by granting the copyright to Novell. The panel ordered a trial to determine ownership.

Novell, a software and computer infrastructure company, has been locked in a yearslong legal battle with The SCO Group Inc. of Lindon, Utah, over ownership to the copyright.

SCO said the ruling paves the way for resumption of the court case.

SCO filed for in 2007, drained by unsuccessfully filing lawsuits claiming its software code was misappropriated by developers of the open-source Linux .

"For us it's a case of survival, of protecting what we own." SCO chief executive Darl McBride told The Associated Press.

Part of the Unix computer code, which was developed by AT&T in 1969, is used in the Linux operating system.

McBride said the and distribution of Linux has caused the company's revenues to drop from $250 million a year to $15 million, forcing the company to file for bankruptcy.

"There are 20 million versions of Linux running around the world," McBride said, referring to his estimate of company servers using Linux. "Linux at the end of the day is a knock off of our Unix."

Novell has operations in Provo, Utah, and Waltham, Mass. A Novell spokesman did not return a message seeking comment.

SCO has another lawsuit pending against IBM Corp., claiming Big Blue's Unix license for IBM's core AIX system was canceled in 2003 and IBM improperly gave away Unix source code for use in Linux.

McBride said the appellate panel's ruling reinstates SCO's claims against IBM, most which had been dismissed because of Novell's claim to the Unix copyright. A message left after business hours for IBM was not immediately returned.

Trial dates for SCO's lawsuits against Novell and IBM have not been set. Both cases are pending in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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User comments : 2

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jkl
5 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2009
"Part of the Unix computer code, which was developed by AT&T in 1969, is used in the Linux operating system."

From where do you get this piece of information?
superhuman
5 / 5 (2) Aug 26, 2009
"Part of the Unix computer code, which was developed by AT&T in 1969, is used in the Linux operating system."

This is of course nonsense. This whole baseless legal battle was financed by m$, part of their usual strategy of using money to kill competition making better software.

Here are all the details of the controversy:
http://en.wikiped...oversies

Quote concerning micro$oft involvement:
"Microsoft funding of SCO controversy

On March 4, 2004, a leaked SCO internal e-mail detailed how Microsoft had raised up to $106 million via the BayStar referral and other means.[44] Blake Stowell of SCO confirmed the memo was real.[45] BayStar claimed the deal was suggested by Microsoft, but that no money for it came directly from them.[46] In addition to the Baystar involvement, Microsoft paid SCO $6M (USD) in May 2003 for a license to "Unix and Unix-related patents", despite the lack of Unix-related patents owned by SCO. [47] This deal was widely seen in the press as a boost to SCO's finances which would help SCO with its lawsuit against IBM.[48][49][50]"

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