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CyberKnights Runs With the Ball - 2nd Complaint Filed With Australia's ACCC
Wednesday, March 03 2004 @ 05:08 AM EST

CyberKnights has today filed an official complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission against SCO Australia and New Zealand, after having sent three letters to SCO and not getting a satisfactory response. This would be the second complaint that I am aware of having been filed with the ACCC. The complaint is here as PDF. Sam Varghese has the story.

SCO's public claims and threats, they allege, are costing them business: "Each such lost sale typically represents a loss of between $500 and $5000 worth of work in addition to the unbillable time spent dealing with the enquiry."

And they ask for the following relief: that the ACCC restrain SCO from stating, claiming or implying that they own or control the Linux operating system and permanently withdraw the “SCO IP in Linux Licence” from sale; that SCO be compelled to make a public retraction of their claims to ownership of Linux; that SCO be required to publicly state that companies using or distributing the Linux operating system under the GPL are doing so fairly and legally; that SCO "make good the harm which it has already caused CK" in an amount to be determined; that if SCO violates any such orders from the ACCC, that SCO be prevented from advertising or doing business in Australia as an Australian entity.

Significantly, it argues that one firm, EV1, in the US has buckled under SCO's threats and that unless the ACCC acts and clarifies the situation, others may be frightened into buying licenses too.

They reference an Australian law, the Trade Practices Act. The ACCC, I'm told, is an agency well-known for its teeth and its willingness to use them when appropriate, and it has a history of doing so, even against large corporations.

Their complaint mentions several issues, such as lost business and damage to reputation. They say they downloaded the Linux kernel, from SCO's own servers in August of 2003, distributed under the GPL, despite SCO having brought suit against IBM months earlier. SCO surely can't say they didn't know in August that allegedly infringing code was in there, CyberKnights argues. So having received it under the GPL in August from SCO, they don't need any other license, because they already have one, the GPL, which they got from SCO themselves.

Speaking of the GPL, Heise reports:

"Fujitsu-Siemens has settled with the Open Source project iptables/netfilter out of court. In future, the company will sell its product, the WLAN-Router AP 600 RP-USB, in compliance with the GPL. Fujitsu Simens will publish the code under GPL after a transition period. They will also make a donation of undisclosed size to Free Software Foundation Europe."

Thanks to Till for the translation. One other sentence intrigued me, so I asked Sherlock to give it a whirl: "Only recently the project had obtained a similar agreement with the routing manufacturer Allnet."

You can read about the Allnet settlement on LWN:

"The netfilter/iptables project ( http://www.netfilter.org/) announces out-of-court settlement with Allnet GmbH ( http://www.allnet.de/) on Allnet's infringing use of copyrighted material.

Allnet was offering two products, a wireless access router and a load-balancing DSL router, both including software developed by the netfilter/iptables project.

However, Allnet did not fulfill the obligations of the GNU General Public License covering the netfilter/iptables software. Specifically, Allnet did not make any source code offering or include the GPL license terms with their products.

"Allnet has now agreed to adhere to all clauses of the license and inform its customers about their respective rights and obligations of the GPL. It will further refrain from offering any new netfilter/iptables based products without adhering to the GPL. . . .

"The netfilter/iptables project provides state-of-the-art network security software for Linux firewalling, packet filter and network address translation (NAT), distributed as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License. Being part of the linux operating system kernel, the software is running on virtually every Linux installation."

In case you were wondering if the GPL has any teeth, now you know. Of course, SCO insists on learning the hard way.


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