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To read comments to this article, go here
Why SCO May Be In No Hurry
Wednesday, September 10 2003 @ 04:13 AM EDT

Why SCO May Be In No Hurry
To Invoice Australia or Austria--
"The Laws, They Be Different Over Here, Mate"


Andrae, a friendly Aussie engineer gathered up some information about Australian law, which he found on this thread. Obviously, I know nothing about Australia's laws, but I am willing to learn, and what he writes certainly does seem to throw some light on why SCO may not be in any hurry to send invoices to anyone down under. Here is the email from Andrae, which he has given me permission to share:

"As you are trying to understand the disconnect between .au and .us SCO I thought this might help.  You need to be aware that, in Australia, Trade Practices lawyers know sect.53 by heart.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/tpa1974149/s52.html

"and also note paragraphs (f) and (g) of

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/tpa1974149/s53.html

"It is also worth noting sect.202 of the Australian Copyright Act (1968)

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ca1968133/s202.html

"This has already been noted in the press:
http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php?id=179822653&fp=16&fpid=0

"Also the ACCC (Australian Consumer and Competition Commission) is apparently very interested in hearing from anyone invoiced in Australia.

"I'm an engineer who's been involved in his local LUG since he helped found it 8 years ago.  I noticed that you still seemed to be puzzling over the different signals coming from SCO.au and SCO.us, personally my take on it is that SCO.au has learnt the lesson of SCO.eu... 'The laws, they be different over here mate.' ; ) "


Speaking of Europe, another Groklaw reader, Gerhard writes that the Organization for Free Software (FSS) in Austria has begun taking legal steps against SCO:

"According to Pro-Linux.de , the FFS (Organisation for Free Software) Austria (not Germany as in that text - you know, there are already preliminary injunctions against SCO GmbH Germany), is starting legal actions against SCOs 'Intellectual Property License'."

That site is in German, but another reader, Thorsten, steps forward to help out by giving us this unofficial translation into English:

"In a letter to the lawyer the Association for the Promotion of Free Software (FFS) forbids SCO Germany the sales of licenses for Linux which deviate from the GNU general Public License.

"This applies in particular the 'Intellectual Property License' that is illegally advertised by SCO Germany on the web page www.caldera.at.

"In an ultimatum FFS permits the enterprise for the last time to avert civilian and criminal pursuit from SCO Germany and the leading employees by the association for licenses already issued which do not correspond to the GNU General Public License.

"The conditions cover also the repayment of license fees already raised to the customers and a public clarification which must contain the sentence: 'the claims of SCO against Linux, spread by SCO Germany, are groundless'.

"If SCO Germany violates this prohibition, then, as soon as a sale of the advertised license can be proven, both SCO and its leading employees are threatened by pursuit because of violation of copyright.

"The prohibition is supervised by the association. Members and companies from the association's environment will conduct test purchases. 'We additionally ask customers who have obtained a "Intellectual Property License" or a similar secondary/ancillary license for Linux to contact the association at freedom2innovate@ffs.or.at', said the FFS."


I have written to FFS to ask them to clarify the news. I will share whatever I learn. Meanwhile, we catch the drift, namely, as Andrae says, "The laws, they be different over there, mate." Also, we understand that if anyone in Australia or Austria gets a SCO invoice, there are some folks who'd like to hear from them.

The US is not entirely without laws itself. I stumbled across this Utah law regarding securities fraud, and I am putting it here as part of Groklaw's effort to make a complete record. I wasn't aware that Utah also monitors such matters, as I was under the impression that only the SEC did that. But you know by now, I'm not an expert in this area. Perhaps other states have such laws too. Here is the section dealing with Utah's law against securities fraud:

"§ 61-1-13(24) of the Utah Uniform Securities Act

"61-1-1 - Fraud unlawful

"It is unlawful for any person, in connection with the offer, sale, or purchase of any security, directly or indirectly to:

"(1) employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud;

"(2) make any untrue statement of a material fact or to omit to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they are made, not misleading; or

"(3) engage in any act, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any person."


I found this law on the State of Utah Division of Securities website. Of course, this law is for those who feel they've "lost money as a victim of an unlawful stock transaction" as the complaint page phrases it, not just those of us morally offended by fraud and untrue statements. Some things the law leaves to God.

I don't personally own any stock in SCO, and I am positive I never will, not even if it seemed like it'd go straight to the moon for me, so this law has no impact on me, not even if they were to be found guilty someday of the crimes enumerated, and that's probably true for the rest of you reading this. But I can imagine that maybe, when this is over, someone who has a by-then useless certificate will send it to me, so I'll have a nice memento to frame and hang on my wall, to remember SCO by -- nah, scratch that -- to remember the history we witnessed together and the permanent record we made of it here.


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