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To read comments to this article, go here
"By Jove, I Think I've Got It"
Monday, May 26 2003 @ 04:10 PM EDT

I've been trying to figure out why SCO won't show the allegedly infringing code publicly. I think I've got it.

Reading this explanation of how copyright infringement is determined and what the penalties can be, it came to me: if they plan on using copyright infringement now that the case is in federal court, could their ultimate dream be that IBM will be found to have infringed (and if you can prove access, the bar for proving substantial similarity is lower, and IBM programmers likely started with prior access to code, or they hope they did, although IBM erected barriers once they committed to Linux work) and then for a penalty, they ask the court to impound and order destroyed all copies of the infringing materials, meaning that everybody using Linux in business or otherwise would have to remove the software and turn in any disks and destroy RPMs and wait for the community to write around the infringing code, which could take weeks or months, depending on the extent of it, and then install the new?

How much will a business want to use Linux after that experience? Only the most committed will do it, and onlookers thinking of switching won't.

By not showing the code now, they make it harder to be ready for such a scenario. Here is how the article describes the penalties:

Finally, a plaintiff in an infringement action may, in addition to obtaining monetary damages for an infringement, obtain temporary and final injunctive relief to prevent or restrain infringement of a copyright. Additionally, at any time during an infringement action the plaintiff may seek to have the court order the impounding of all infringing articles claimed to have been made or used in violation of the owners exclusive rights. Included in the articles affected are all copies, or all other articles which can reproduce the copies. As part of the final judgement the court may order the infringing articles destroyed or otherwise disposed of.
Of course, this could all be only in *my* head, not theirs.


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