A SCO paralegal found on Thursday a 1996 Amendment that appears to give SCO some copyrights. This may be why the stock was shooting up all day. Novell has acknowledged that at least some rights appear to have be transferred under the terms of the arrangement. No patents transferred.
If true, then SCO has more power to do harm, without a doubt. It's a great deal easier to prove copyright infringement. If they want to be mean, and of course we know they'd never do that, they could just allege copyright infringement against every web site offering Linux for download and claim a DMCA violation, and poof. With friends like IBM, who needs enemies?
A Yankee Group analyst who signed the notorious NDA says that SCO's claim appears to be credible, at least from what she saw:
Apparently the most telling evidence is that parts of the SCO code and Linux code include identical annotations made by developers when they wrote the programs, says DiDio, who compares such notes to the signature or fingerprint of a developer's work. "The fact that these appear to be transposed from Unix System V into Linux I find to be very damaging." DiDio says she was shown several instances where the source code and developer's comments in one operating system were the same as in the other operating system.
[ Update: Here's the press release SCO put out.]
[Update 2: Years later, here's the rest of the story. And here's Novell's press release, Exhibit 38 [PDF} to the Declaration of Edward Normand, attached to SCO's motion, Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on its First, Second and Fifth Causes of Action and for Summary Judgment on Novell's First Counterclaim, a motion SCO lost. Note also that attorney John Ferrell, quoted in the article at the first link saying the amendment means SCO owns the copyrights later was the initial attorney, his firm was, for Psystar in Apple v. Psystar.]
SCO Confirms Copyright Ownership of UNIX® and UnixWare®
Amendment to Asset Purchase Agreement Confirms Copyright Ownership
LINDON, Utah, Jun 6, 2003 -- The SCO® Group (SCO) (Nasdaq: SCOX), the owner of the UNIX® operating system, today confirmed its previously stated ownership of UNIX copyrights. As SCO has consistently maintained, all rights to the UNIX and UnixWare technology, including the copyrights, were transferred to SCO as part of the Asset Purchase Agreement between Novell and SCO dated September 19, 1995. Any question of whether the UNIX copyrights were transferred to SCO under the Asset Purchase Agreement was clarified in Amendment No. 2 to the Asset Purchase Agreement dated October 16, 1996.
"This amendment simply confirms SCO's long stated position that it owns all copyrights associated with the UNIX and UnixWare businesses," said Chris Sontag, senior vice president and general manager, SCOsource intellectual property division, SCO. The amendment was signed by Steven Sabbath, Vice President, Law and Corporate Affairs for The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc., and James R. Tolonen, Executive Vice President and CFO, Novell, Inc.
The clause in Amendment No.2 in the Asset Purchase Agreement states:
A. With respect to Schedule 1.1(b) of the Agreement, titled "Excluded Assets", Section V, Subsection A shall be revised to read:
All copyrights and trademarks, except for the copyrights and trademarks owned by Novell as of the date of the Agreement required for SCO to exercise it rights with respect to the acquisition of UNIX and UnixWare technologies. However, in no event shall Novell be liable to SCO for any claim brought by any third party pertaining to said copyrights and trademarks.
"SCO is the owner of the UNIX operating system, as well as all of the UNIX contracts, claims and copyrights necessary to conduct that business," said Sontag. "None of the litigation we are currently involved with asserts claims based on copyrights. Because others have called into question SCO's ownership of the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights, we are satisfied that we have now proven without a doubt that SCO owns those copyrights."
The SCO Group (Nasdaq: SCOX) helps millions of customers in more than 82 countries around the world grow their businesses everyday. Headquartered in Lindon, Utah, SCO has a network of more than 11,000 resellers and 8,000 developers. SCO Global Services provides reliable localized support and services to partners and customers. For more information on SCO products and services, visit http://www.sco.com .
SCO and the associated SCO logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of The SCO Group, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. UNIX and UnixWare are registered trademarks of The Open Group in the United States and other countries. All other brand or product names are or may be trademarks of their respective owners.