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AlwaysOn: SCO & UNIX: A Comedy of Errors

Jun 03, 2003, 23:30 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mark F. Radcliffe)

"With the recent announcement by Novell that SCO does not own the copyrights and patents to UNIX, SCO's aggressive legal campaign is losing air fast. It is beginning to look like classic farce. I have always been skeptical about the SCO claim because they sued IBM for trade secret misappropriation and unfair competition, their weakest claims. As an intellectual property lawyer, I would have expected them to lead with their strongest claims; patent and copyright infringement, claims that were notably absent in the law suit.

"The Novell announcement demonstates how complicated ownership issues have become in software intellectual property. In fact, the case is beginning to look more like a fight over ownership in the movie industry: remember the battle over the right to make James Bond movies? Yet, I am not aware of any news reports that point out the failed first attempt to enforce rights in UNIX software: Unix Systems Laboratories sued UC Berkeley, the UC Regents and BSDI for alleged infringement of the copyrights in UNIX in the early 1990s. The dispute arose over whether UC Berkeley and BSDI had successfully removed all the proprietary code from their new version of Unix. The result for USL was a disaster: a decision in 1993 found that due to failure to comply with copyright formalities (requiring the use of a copyright notice, which is no longer required), the 32V version of Unix was no longer protected by copyright, it had entered the public domain..."

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