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The Status in Australia
Saturday, May 21 2005 @ 11:08 AM EDT

Recently, SCO spokesman Blake Stowell mentioned some legal matters in Australia, and indicated that they had been resolved:

"About two years ago, there was some initial legal activity in Germany and in Australia," said SCO spokesman Blake Stowell. "Because of that, for about the last six quarters or so, we have put those exact words in our quarterly SEC filings."

Both cases involved SCO's ability to make public comments about Linux, Stowell said. "In Germany there were some temporary restraining orders, that prohibited SCO from talking about Linux issues within Germany," he said. The Australian case involved an unspecified open-source organization, which was seeking similar restraints.

Neither case is currently active, according to Stowell. "To my knowledge, I believe they're resolved," he said.

Groklaw has already published its research findings, SCO's recent quarterlies, which show that Mr. Stowell is mistaken and that the exact wording did not appear in the prior 6 quarterlies.

And here is what the curent status is in Australia. I contacted Con Zymaris of Open Source Victoria, because they filed the two [PDF] different complaints regarding SCOsource with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). "Neither of them have been 'settled'", Zymaris told me. The ACCC's official position is that this case is very complex and that they can't take action until the SCO vs. IBM case is settled."

However, in the interim, if SCO tries to sue or bill anyone for using Linux or tries to sell a SCOsource license by sending a demand or an invoice, the ACCC wants to know about it. So, it's "resolved" only if SCO doesn't go forward in Australia with a SCOsource push. Perhaps that is what Mr. Stowell meant, that the company will not aggressively pursue anyone in Australia. Alternatively, if they are dreaming of a SCO v. IBM victory, after which they will feel free to go forward, then would it not be misleading to say the matter is "resolved"?

Here's an excerpt from the ACCA letter to the Society of Linux Professionals WA (SLPWA) on their current position:

The Commission has been monitoring SCO's actions in Australia and developments in the ongoing case in the United States between the SCO Group and IBM.

Given the current court case in the United States of America and that to the best of the Commission's knowledge no Australian Linux users have been invoiced by SCO or had legal proceedings instituted against them by SCO, the Commission proposes to await the outcome of the American proceedings.

In the interim period, should the Commission become aware of any Australian Linux users being invoiced or directly contacted by SCO with demands of payment, the Commission would be likely to reconsider its position.

SLPWA encourages anyone receiving such, to contact the ACCA and the SLPWA attorney:

SLPWA also encourages any Linux user who is subject to demands from SCO or receives an invoice from SCO purporting to licence the Linux operating system to contact Jeremy Malcolm; SLPWA Vice President and a lawyer with a special interest in intellectual property law and it's application to Open Source Software.

Mr. Malcolm, who is a lawyer and a Debian developer, has written a paper on SCO's claims. And here is Open Source Industry Australia, the national industry body for Open Source in Australia. Contact information to file a complaint with the ACCA, should you ever be contacted by SCO or sued by them, here. UPDATE: Media coverage here.

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