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Impacts of the SCO Case Outside of the US? 46

Posted by Cliff
from the is-it-affecting-your-business dept.
Pecisk asks: "Maybe lot of you have already tired of discussing this, but I would like to know opinions (professional one would be very good) how much this case can have *legal* impact to Linux users/businesses in other regions like EU, Russia, Eastern Asia. I know that in many cases there's no effect of US court decisions to other countries, but how (for example) the EU patent law will take this, and in generally how much and do we have to be really worried about this case? This question is very important to me, and I guess, for other guys from non-US countries too. I want to know this also because when I have to speak about the using of Linux and free software in IT solutions and if someone argues about this case and it's impact to us, I would like to know what to answer (I'm from Latvia, Eastern Europe, we are going to vote for EU membership in September)."
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Impacts of the SCO Case Outside of the US?

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  • Use OpenBSD :-)
  • I don't mean to nitpick, but the SCO claims have nothing to do with patent law, rather copyright/intellectual property law.
    • I am nitpicking. What's an intellectual property law? Or, better yet, what exactally is 'intellectual property'? Is it anything like an idea? As of yet, I don't think we have any laws that apply to ideas.

      Copyright law is one thing. Intellectual Property seems to be the latest 'buzz word', right alongside Synergy.
      • Good point, I should have left intellectual property out of the discussion.

        There is a big difference between patents and copyrights, however, which is what I was attempting to point out.

        {Insert obligatory IANAL statement here}
      • Intellectual property is a group term for 4 major ideas (and maybe a minor one or two). Inside IP you have 4 very different things which work very differently...

        1) Patents, a patent is a way of saying Hey i have this cool idea. You then tell everyone what it is and the government gives you a monopoly on it for a set period of time (17 years in most cases). The upshot of it is that you have to tell everyone how it works so after those 17 years everyone can work with it.

        2) Copyright, litterally the right to
    • SCO has made all sorts of wild statements to the press about copyright, but their suit against IBM has to do only with breach of contract.
  • It's bogus (Score:4, Informative)

    by korpiq (8532) <-.NO@SPAMkorpiq.iki.fi> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @04:39PM (#6503892) Homepage

    IBM is sure it won't stand the test of a real trial, and they are putting all their eggs in that basket, so they are pretty sure about it. Even if they aren't, and SCO wins, they'll just buy SCO out; that way, they'd only lose the real battle, that's about whether you can make money by forcing a bigger company to buy you by becoming enough of a hassle.

    Got it? They got no case. Even if they did, it'd be solved by IBM buying them out.

    Then again - like someone already pointed out ;) - you should be well advised to mention in your talks also the *BSD efforts and that whenever one free *nix path closes, there are several more open, and that's about as central a point of open source as there is. Think about it.

    Even if there were some patented or otherwise somehow restricted code in some version of Linux, it doesn't hinder development at all. It'd be just dropped out and a new version without it released immediately. It's functionality would be reimplemented in other ways, pretty soon, and with pretty big wheels behind it, now that IBM et al are playing along.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @04:42PM (#6503939)
    Maybe lot of you have already tired of discussing this...

    Although I don't have an opinion on this specific question, I for one think that the SCO discussions are the best thing /. has going right now. Very interesting and informative, and it is frankly pretty exciting. I hope that the /. editors keep up posting the latest on this.

    It is starting to sound like a soap opera. For those who haven't been paying attention here are the players:

    1. SCO. The bad guys. Think Alan Rickman in Die Hard. Smart, but really, really bad. Also they think they own UNIX.

    2. IBM. The strong silent type. Well, they are silent, at least. They are just standing around with a big stick, not saying much. Hopefully we'll get to see some stick, before this is over.

    3. Microsoft. The secret funders of SCO's evil.

    4. Novell the previous *real* owner of UNIX.

    5. AT+T the current *real* owner of UNIX. You would think that with something this valuable, these companies would actually know who owns it.

    6. Linus. The copyright holder of the Linux name. Seems not to be either worried or interested in this debate.

    6. RMS. He is the clueless wildcard. So far the only statement from his camp has been a bumbling, "It's GNU/Linux!" Nobody seems to have listened. He is definately the Ozzy of these Osbournes.

    7. CmdrTaco. The guy with the gas and the matches.

    8. The GPL. That horrid group of words that makes this all really interesting. Its effects are somewhere between smallpox and cholera.

    8. The /. minions. The peanut gallery of this story. Expect lots of jokes about patenting air. Also expect lots of accusations that SCO is evil. Unfortunately, few of them admit that SCO is smart as well, which it is.
    • 4. Novell the previous *real* owner of UNIX.

      5. AT+T the current *real* owner of UNIX. You would think that with something this valuable, these companies would actually know who owns it.


      Yeah, *real* until they sold their rights to SCO ages ago.

      8. The GPL. That horrid group of words that makes this all really interesting. Its effects are somewhere between smallpox and cholera.

      Where a BSD license couldn't go wrong.
      • Not really. ;) AT&T sold the patent rights and copyrights to USL (UNIX Systems Labs) which then proceeded to pull a similar manuever back in 1991 to stem the progress of the *BSD crowd of OSes. They alleged that *BSD had AT&T code in it and couldn't be distribited without a license from them. (sound familiar??) They lost when the court found that there was NO Sys V code in BSD and that USL had copied much of the BSD code into SysV, thereby significantly weakining their claim. While USL went o
    • 6. RMS. He is the clueless wildcard. So far the only statement from his camp has been a bumbling, "It's GNU/Linux!" Nobody seems to have listened. He is definately the Ozzy of these Osbournes.

      The FSF response to the SCO lawsuit was written by Eben Moglen. Also, after you get past the "It's GNU/Linux", they open up a barrage of incredible logic and common-sense, making the over-all release a good read.

      The Foundation notes that despite the alarmist statements SCO's employees have made, the Foundation has

      • The FSF response to the SCO lawsuit was written by Eben Moglen. Also, after you get past the "It's GNU/Linux", they open up a barrage of incredible logic and common-sense, making the over-all release a good read.

        It's incorrect to a degree, however interesting it may be. FSF forgot to consider how harms are evaluated in a trade-secret case. The fact that SCO distributed linux isn't relevant to that (though it is relevant to SCO's copyright attack on linux users). They could make a strong case that their

    • Man, stop dissing Ozzy. He's not crazy, just eccentric.

      In fact, if there's an Ozzy in the bunch it's Steve Jobs - they both like to think different. Although Jobs would probably prefer being compared to David Bowie.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm from Latvia, Eastern Europe...

    Sorry, IANALL.

  • Wouldn't it have made more sense to publish this story at a time when folks in these countries would still be awake? :-)
  • Impact outside USA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:37PM (#6504691) Homepage
    ..will be exactly the same as inside the USA.

    That is, zero. SCO does not have a leg to stand on, and they know it. It's the only reasonable explanation why we STILL haven't even been told exactly what we're supposed to have done wrong.

    It MIGTH have the impact of scaring some people, if they are sufficiently easily scared that they wet their pants when faced with a near-bankrupt desperate firm, and a 800 pound gorilla is figthing on your side.

    Patent law is irrelevant, SCO has not even claimed that they own patents on anything in Linux (they couldn't, patents are public). Nor have they claimed to have copyrigth on anything in Linux. They do however claim to have a contract with IBM that prevents IBM from doing some things (unspecified ones!) that IBM then went ahead and did anyway.

    They're bogus. Ignore them. Sleep calmly.

    • Quoth the poster:
      They do however claim to have a contract with IBM that prevents IBM from doing some things (unspecified ones!) that IBM then went ahead and did anyway.

      Don't you mean ...

      that IBM then allegedly went ahead and did anyway ... ?

      They're bogus. Ignore them. Sleep calmly.

      I could NOT agree more.
    • I think it's rather obvious what their strategy is: They are trying to scare as many big companies into coughing up the $$ BEFORE they really know what the REAL problems are. SCO knows very well that less than 24 hours after they disclose exactly which portions of code are "theirs," a new version of the kernel will be out and the money they can extort from corps will drop off to zero.
  • I really doubt they'll have any luck overseas.

    Germany fined SCO $10000 for making threatening statements.
  • by MerlynEmrys67 (583469) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @07:24PM (#6506130)
    I am not a lawyer
    I do not live in your country
    I would have a hard time pointing to your country on a map
    I do know however everything there is to know about those dirtbags at SCO
    I do know everything about how Intellectual Property should work in the real world

    You have nothing to worry about of course because SCO will fail in court, all though I have not signed the NDA so have no idea what evidence SCO can present, or if I have signed an NDA, couldn't tell you about it anyway

    Does that just about cover it ?
  • Here's yer dilly bag, this [50megs.com] is [50megs.com] a place we call the Simpson. We'd like you to think about your destructive greed for a while, mate. Catch yer 'round. <roar of diesel engine charging off over next sand dune>
  • I'm from Latvia, Eastern Europe

    So....do you sound like Latka Gravas?

  • so I am under the inevitable rule of US law, there isn't anything that I can add to this unfortunately.
  • Courts in Asia (Score:2, Informative)

    by shaggie (674580)
    Far as I have encountered, although legally US court decisions have no bearing on cases in most countries in Asia, with the exception of the "Commie" Countries, the decision made by US courts on the similar case are usually used as evidence in Asian courts, and the courts here usually come to the same ruling as the US courts because either the judges are too lazy to actually finish the trial and follow the reasoning that if the US ruled that way, its good enough for me, or some other lameass reasoning.

    In h
  • huh?!.... there is a lawsuit? Who is SCO? What is UnixWare? ....... and sometimes ..... What is GPL? What is Linux?
  • How about the GPL? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xyrw (609810) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @05:18AM (#6509608) Homepage
    I think that the more significant war is with the credibility of the GPL. The repercussions of this case will probably not be about specific companies, but Linux adoption in general. If IBM crushes SCO in court, then the GPL *may* in the process be strangthened. But if IBM loses and has to buy out SCO, the strength of the GPL as a legally recognised license will be weakened.

    Even if this weakening or strengthening is only in the US, other countries' IT industries will be influenced in a similar way, since the nature of open source is that national boundaries cannot (totally) insulate effects in one country from another.
  • Like you we are about to join the E.U. so I think our positions are similar. I have spoken over the last weeks to quite a few people in the technical community and the comments varied from 'If you used Microsoft you would not have these problems' (Unisys) to an IBM manager who burst out laughing when I asked him for the company position on the matter.

    Even if US law applied in the E.U. this would not affect us for a number of years as no evidence has been presented and, in all certainty, whoever won the cas

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